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Experts Say Pandemic May Increase Drowning Risk for Kids

Jackson YMCA Swim
Posted at 6:22 PM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-16 18:22:23-04

LANSING, Mich. — Although outdoor pools have been open this summer in Michigan, supervised indoor pools and waterparks have been closed in most parts of the state for months. Experts such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and health departments around the country sounded the alarm earlier this year that kids may be at an increased risk of drowning during the coronavirus pandemic. Among the contributing factors:

  • With many businesses closed or operating at reduced capacity, kids searching for something to do seek out lakes, ponds or backyard pools, which do not have lifeguards
  • Distancing may cause kids to spread out when they are by water, putting them at increased risk in unguarded situations
  • In homes with pools or near lakes/ponds/streams, parents multitasking as they work from home may be dangerously distracted.

According to the State Alliance of Michigan YMCAs (michiganymca.org), from March through September, 15,575 children throughout the state were unable to receive swim lessons and Safety Around Water instruction. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second-leading cause of injury death nationally for children ages 1 to 14.

Per state order, the Jackson YMCA can offer infant/child drowning prevention/water safety classes indoors at 25 percent pool capacity. Beginning Sept. 28, the Y is offering swim lessons/classes for ages 6 months to 12 years. The schedule and registration information are available at www.JacksonYMCA.org. Classes are available to Y members and the community. The Jackson Y re-opened its downtown location to members on Monday, Sept. 14.

" YMCA typically teaches more than 750 children invaluable water safety and swimming skills each year. With this type of programming now available after having been on hold for months, parents can take advantage of this opportunity to give their kids potentially lifesaving water safety skills,” said Erin Parsons, Aquatics Coordinator at the Jackson YMCA.

Some of the drowning prevention skills kids learn include how to help someone who has fallen into a body of water (Reach and Throw/Don’t Go), how to roll over to float, rip currents and designated swimming areas and to “Look before you leap.”

Space is limited, so parents are encouraged to register as soon as possible. To learn more about the Jackson YMCA’s swim programs, please contact Erin Parsons at erin@jacksonymca.org.

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