Two boys wearing swim goggles smile while treading water in an indoor pool Two boys wearing swim goggles smile while treading water in an indoor pool

Water Safety Skills at the Y

In the time it takes to answer a phone call, a child can become submerged underwater and lose consciousness. That’s how fast a drowning can happen. Drowning can occur nearly anywhere with standing water: pools, ponds, culverts, bathtubs—even a bucket. The West Suburban YMCA is here to provide lessons and water safety resources to help save lives.

Safety Around Water

Water Safety Brochure

Water is a source of fun and recreation, but it can also be a source of fear. You don’t want your children standing around while their friends play in the water. But you can’t be everywhere every second. Teaching children how to be safe around water is one of the most important life skills parents can help to provide. It not only saves lives, but it also builds confidence. 

As a parent or caregiver, the last thing you want to do is limit your children. Don’t keep them sidelined. Let them be curious. Give them every opportunity to expand their horizons. When children learn how to be safe in and around water, it opens a vast new world full of opportunities for them to develop self-esteem, discover new ways to stay fit and build relationships that can last a lifetime. 

Water safety is a community-wide issue. Help engage the entire community—to keep all children safe around water—by becoming an advocate in your neighborhood. Encourage other families to enroll their children in water safety programs and swim lessons. 

You might simply try to keep your children away from water. That is not enough. The Earth is 71% water—your children are 100% curious. It’s up to parents and caregivers to help them explore it all safely. 

Consider the Statistics:

About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger


Drowning is the leading cause of death ages 1 to 4


of fatal boating accident victims drowned when cause of death was known (2022)


Of all drownings, 61% occur in pools and bodies of water. 10% occur in bathtubs and 9% while boating

Minority children are at even greater risk. Drowning is the number one preventable cause of death for African American boys.

Risk for ethnic youth drowning in natural bodies of water peaks between 17 and 19 years old and the risk for incidents at swimming pools is highest between 1 and 4 years old. The majority of African American victims drowned in public pools while the majority of Hispanic victims drowned in neighborhood pools (i.e., apartment complexes).

Consider the Statistics:


Among urban youth, 69% have low or no swimming skills


African American urban youth ages 5-14's drowning rate is 3x higher than Caucasian counterparts


While 80% of drowning deaths are male, African American males have the highest risk of drowning