Any time children are going to be near water, there are rules involved—wear sunscreen, walk/don’t run, no pushing, etc. But here at the Y, there’s one rule that outweighs all the others: Never get in the water without an adult’s permission.

Teaching children this rule from a young age helps keep them safe by always alerting them when they intend to wade, swim, or even take a bath! We know children can be impulsive so this is a rule that needs to be repeated time and time again. Just as you might repeat to a child every time they’re about to cross the street, “Look both ways,” you can also repeat this water safety rule each time you’re getting into the water together: “Ask permission before you get in the water!” If you make this part of the process of swimming, it is more likely to become a habit for children.

In addition, it’s best to swim where lifeguards are present and actively watching the water, but in certain situations—for example, a home pool—you may be without a lifeguard. When that happens, the Y wants you to assign a Water Watcher. A Water Watcher is an adult assigned to monitor the water. While there may be other adults present who are also present, this person’s role is to stay completely undistracted and monitor the water. This means no phones, no books, no conversation, and no quick runs to the cooler for water or a snack!

Both the Y's swim lessons and safety around water programs offer youth these lessons, and much more. Consider enrolling in one or both of the programs to keep you and your family safe this summer. To learn more about the Y’s swimming lessons and Safety Around Water program click here.