YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) — Memorial Day weekend means many of the outdoor pools are open for the summer. But according to the Red Cross, more than half of all kids can’t perform basic safety skills in the water. So how do you keep your child safe at the pool?
Nicole Braun always keeps an eye on her daughter Ronnie when they go to the pool.
“I taught her how to swim last summer. She learned a lot. So she’s getting ready to take the swim test pretty soon. If she passes it, she’ll be able to go down the slides today,” said Braun, of Youngstown.
The Davis YMCA puts wristbands on children 12 and under based on their height. Kids are limited to the shallow areas until they can pass a swim test.
“The children have to swim 25 yards, which is the length of the lap pool. They have to tread water for 20 seconds. and then they have to level off and float on their back, showing that they can bring their chest up to the surface of the water,” said Chris Hughes, the YMCA Aquatic Director.
“You can see that their main concern is the safety of the kids, which is a very good thing,” said Braun.
And it’s a concern for many people in the summertime. According to the CDC, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children. That’s why the YMCA stresses that you should always have someone watching when a child is swimming.
“You never hear about kids drowning when somebody was watching them, because you would have noticed and pulled them out of the water. It’s when somebody isn’t watching that kids drown, or they get out of your sight,” said Hughes.
“It’s like texting and driving as a parent. When you look away for a second, that’s when something can happen. So, just always make sure you’re arms-length away from your child,” said Jacci Weaver, a lifeguard.
And lifeguards say the deep end is not the only spot for trouble.
“The most where we jump in, honestly, is the shallow end. This pool is a zero-depth entry, which means it gets deeper as you walk towards the slides. So just always be watching your child. Like I said, something can happen in a second,” said Weaver.