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Over 100 children attend Safety Around Water Program after a two-year hiatus

As more families enjoy pools and beaches, water safety for both children and parents is of the utmost importance

Everyone thinks it can’t happen to them, but drowning is an incredible risk. Particularly for children under the age of fourteen. Research shows that drownings often occur even under supervision.

The statistics are uncomfortable. Drowning-related injuries are a leading cause of death or disability in children 0-4 and the second leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14. Unfortunately, the number of deaths rises every year in the United States.

As pandemic restrictions are lifted, more families are headed to the water. Water safety and drowning prevention are increasingly important for everyone.

Each April, the YMCA of Silicon Valley Sequoia Branch and Beyond Barriers Athletic Foundation host the Safety Around Water program for Redwood City families. The program returned this year after COVID-19 prevented the program from running in 2020 and 2021.

Over 100 kids from Redwood City’s community showed up at the start of the week. Wearing goggles and standing barefoot at the pool’s edge, all of them were eager to learn in a fun environment with trained instructors.

The Safety Around Water Program

The YMCA program, Safety Around Water, is a free one-week swim safety program for both children and parents. Children are in the pool every day for hands-on learning about the importance of water safety. They learn important swimming skills while overcoming their fears, building their confidence and competence in the water, and having fun. Even children under the age of 1 benefit from the swimming safety program.

Parents are involved too. While children are in the water, their caregivers are taught important skills like the “arm's length” rule, a guiding instruction for children who aren’t strong swimmers to remain within touch under their supervision. They’re also taught what to look for. While most people look for obvious signs of drowning, the reality is often more subtle and changes quickly. Parents are taught to look for a lack of movement, anyone who is facedown in the water or has a look of fear or worry.

Year-Round Swim Lessons for Redwood City Families Safety Around Water is part of the YMCA's year-round swim program.

Each Year, over 300 Redwood City kids take swim lessons at the YMCA Sequoia Chapter. Children, and adults, can take swim lessons in group or private lessons. They can even join a swim club to swim with friends and keep learning.

While Safety Around Water focuses on teaching people new to the water, year-round swim lessons serve everyone including those already comfortable in the water. They help everyone to develop additional safety techniques to keep them and others safe. The fun, inclusive environment created by the YMCA includes games and engagement with instructors and classmates at all swim levels.

Scholarships for Low-income Families

Nearly eight in ten children from households earning less than $50,000 per year have little to no swimming ability. The Safety Around Water program was designed to address this dangerous inequity. It’s intended for children of all ages whose families combined income is less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.

The Safety Around Water program is offered for free thanks to a partnership between Beyond Barriers and the Sequoia branch of the YMCA Silicon Valley. Together, they provide scholarships to support low-income families in Redwood City.

Keep you and your family safe, sign up for swim classes at the YMCA.

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