Free program to help keep kids safe around water

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 19, 2015) — Pool and lake season is almost here now, but before you take the kids around water, you might want to check out a free class to help keep them safe.

YMCA is launching a program called “Safety Around Water” on Tuesday. YMCA officials say, on average, three kids drown every day in our country and drowning is the second leading cause of death for kids ages 5 to 14.

“Safety Around Water” is about reducing those numbers and helping more kids feel safe — but it’s not just for children.

“Sixty percent of drowning incidents happen with an adult there in the area, which is really, really sad. So, part of our program is to also work with parents and families and teaching them they should get CPR certified,” said Kim Newnam, associate executive director at the Benjamin Harrison YMCA in Lawrence.

Newnam says the program will offer education on different topics like boating, life jackets and CPR while helping kids find ways to handle a scary situation in the water.

“They need to have their eyes open in case they do fall in, they need to see where the bottom is, it could be right there, a wall could be right there and if they have their eyes shut they would never know that. Buoyancy is something we want them to master – how to float their stomach and back,” Newnam explained.

The YMCA also offers swimming lessons for kids, which can start as early as 6 months old. For more information about lessons or the “Safety Around Water” program, click here or call your local YMCA.