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Little boy wears a lifejacket to demonstrate water safety

With Pools and Beaches Opening this Memorial Day Weekend, Water Safety Should Be Top of Mind

The MetroWest YMCA offers water safety tips for parents and encourages adults to become Water Watchers this summer


Framingham, MA, May 20, 2024 – The MetroWest YMCA is encouraging parents and caregivers to play an active role in promoting water safety and providing six tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable swimming experience for all ahead of Memorial Day Weekend. 

“As ‘America’s Swim Instructor,’ the MetroWest YMCA annually teaches thousands of people swim skills that help them prevent drowning and be safe around water,” said Dave Witkus, Senior Aquatics Director. “Drowning is preventable. Now more than ever, it’s important to remind parents and caregivers that water safety needs to be top-of-mind as families start to return to their favorite summertime activities,”  

During National Water Safety Month, review and share the following water safety tips:

  1. Make sure children know to always ask permission before going in or near the water. Teaching your children to be water smart is the first step in water safety – be sure they understand the importance of asking permission before going in or near the water.
  2. Supervise your children whenever they’re in or near water. Whether it’s bath time or taking a dip in a pool or waterfront, make sure your children are within arm’s reach at all times.
  3. Be Sure to Designate a “Water Watcher.” When water is present, make sure that kids are actively supervised at all times. Ask an adult to monitor the water. This person’s role is to stay completely undistracted and monitor the water. This means no phones, no books, no conversation, and no quick runs to the cooler for a snack! Water Watchers make summer fun possible. Take 20-minute shifts and enjoy a safe time around water. See below to take the Water Watcher Pledge.
  4. Don’t engage in breath-holding activities. Both adults and children should not hold their breath for a prolonged amount of time while swimming, as this can be dangerous.
  5. Wear a life jacket. Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  6. Don’t jump in the water to save someone who is struggling in deep water. If an adult or child finds their friend in deep water unexpectedly, their natural reaction may be to jump in the water to try to save them. Even if they are a great swimmer, a panicked person will overpower them, pulling the rescuer underwater. The Y’s Safety Around Water program teaches the “reach, throw, don’t go” concept of using a long object to reach for them and pull them to safety. By using this technique an adult or child can help their friend without compromising their own safety. 

The MetroWest YMCA impacts more than 25,000 children and families annually through a focus on Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility. Learn more about the MetroWest YMCA Aquatics Program today.





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Drowning is the second highest cause of death for kids 5-14, with children from communities of color most at risk. We can change this by teaching kids water safety and confidence. Join us in offering our community's youth and families the lifesaving gift of water safety.