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Be safe around water this summer

Summer is the time of year in which kids and adults are tempted to cool off in pools, ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, swimming holes, and oceans. As the temperatures rise, so does the risk of drowning.

An average of 3,960 people fatally drown in the U.S. each year. That’s 11 each day and the highest cause of death in children ages 1-4 (not counting birth defects) according to the CDC.

As the CEO of the YMCA of Parkersburg, I want to stress to the community the importance of being aware of these risks and how to prevent them year-round. At the Y, we take pride in instilling water safety skills in youth and adults through swim lessons and lifeguard training. In fact, we consistently conduct live drills with our lifeguards year-round to ensure they are as prepared as possible to respond to an emergency.

Research shows that drowning is more frequent in youth and adults who do not know how to swim. By teaching youth and adults to swim, the YMCA of Parkersburg saves lives.

Here are some precautions that everyone can take to ensure their safety around water:

* Talk to children about the challenges of swimming and make sure they are not only confident, but well prepared to swim in different environments. Swimming in the ocean can be far more dangerous than a community pool.

* When children are swimming, make sure they are actively supervised at all times. Teach your children they should only swim in locations where a lifeguard is on duty, or where a responsible adult agrees to watch the children in the water without distractions.

* Choose swimsuits for your children that are still visible when submerged underwater, to allow for lifeguards to see them at all times. Avoid blues and whites, as they disappear almost completely. Brightly colored swimsuits are the best option.

For more information, check out the following website: https://tinyurl.com/546wenzu.

The YMCA will continue to provide a safe environment for all children and has a goal of making sure every child in the Mid-Ohio valley learns to swim by age 10. Just imagine how many more lives we can save. To learn more about the YMCA of Parkersburg’s swim programs, please visit www.parkersburgymca.org/aquaticsoverview.

R. Jeff Olson

Chief Executive Officer, YMCA of Parkersburg

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