ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Memorial Day weekend is just days away.
It is a time when many area pool will begin to open for the season. While it means a chance for fun, there are plenty of dangers residents need to consider when they get around water.
Swimming is a great form of exercise and an awesome way of having fun, but it can be dangerous. It is important to know how to stay safe while splishing and splashing.
“So, as those pools open up, the first thing on our minds as aquatic professionals is, of course, safety,” said Jamie Lowery, senior program director of aquatics at the YMCA of Rock River Valley. “And, learning how to swim is such an important life skill because wherever you are, where there’s water, there’s always the risk of drowning.”
Drowing is the second leading cause of accidental death for children ages 5-14. It is important for residents to educate themselves and their families on water safety, especially in instances where a lifeguard is not present.
“When you’re at a pool, like a backyard pool where you don’t have a trained lifeguard on duty, some of the basic things that we really try to teach the kids are, first and foremost, to always ask permission before entering the water. We just want those kids to know that they need to get permission before they get into the pool,” Lowery said. “We also encourage everybody to never swim alone. We also encourage the use of Coast Guard approved flotation devices.”
Steven Kendall has been taking his six-year-old daughter to the “Y” for swimming lessons for almost a year. He said that it has made a big difference.
“I mean, they just really know, like they get the kids, get where they are at, and know how to bring out their confidence and take them step by step through stuff,” Kendall said.
“So, not only is knowing how to swim important for the sake of safety, but it’s just really fun as well,” Lowery added. “It’s really enjoyable to be in the water over the summer. It is also a great physical outlet.”
The YMCA is always looking for swimming instructors and lifeguards.