Summer A Season For Swimming And Water Safety
With the city's beaches and pools open for business, residents are being encouraged to keep safety in mind when cooling off. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.
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Campers at the Bronx YMCA were kicking their way towards becoming swimmers Tuesday. It's a critical skill to learn if they want to be able to cool off safely this summer.
"It's so important to understand and sort of respect the power of the water, it's so beautiful and inviting, but at the same time it's really important to start those swimming lessons early," said YMCA Vice President of Healthy Lifestyles Lori Rose Benson.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says fatal drowning is the second leading cause of death resulting from an accidental injury for kids ages one to 14. So the YMCA recommends getting children into the pool as early as possible to start learning how to swim.
"YMCA starts swim lessons from six months and up, mostly for infants from six to 36 months. It's more orientation in the water with a parent," said YMCA Aquatics Specialist Mary O'Donoghue.
For kids and adults, O'Donoghue outlined some rules to follow to help insure it will be a safe summer on or near the water.
"Best tip is to have someone assigned to watch the pool if it's a backyard pool," she said. "This way you know that someone is just watching the pool, preferably someone who is not imbibing in any sort of alcohol so that they can concentrate. You should always have a phone close by, have life jackets or PFDs, Coast Guard approved, so that non-swimmers can put them on and be safe in the water."
And there are some other tips for anyone who wants to cool of at one of the city's beaches.
"Following the flag system. If there's red flags do not go in. The beaches around New York City all have rip currents, so it's important to recognize where and when you can't swim," O'Donoghue said.
"We're surrounded by water. You know we're fortunate to have lovely beaches, lovely parks and lovely pools, and we need to learn those skills so that we can be safe, and enjoy our community," Rose Benson said.
For more information on learning how to swim at the YMCA, visit ymcanyc.org.