June 27, 2024

Summer Swimming Safety

Summer is in full swing across the Twin Cities –and we’ve already endured our first ‘heat dome’ of the season. Before the 4th of July holiday, now is a great time to revisit some water safety tips so you and your family can cool off safely and make a plan to get more comfortable around the water.

At Friends of the Children – Twin Cities, nearly all the youth we walk alongside are children of color. We are highly aware of the unfortunate fact that drowning deaths are disproportionately higher for children of color in Minnesota and across the United States. Depending on their age, Black and Indigenous children are 1.5 – 2.5 times more likely to die from drowning than White children of the same age.

Swim lessons can help, reducing the risk of drowning by 88% for 1- to 4-year-olds who take formal swimming lessons. However, decades of structural racism in our communities and across the country has made access to pools and swimming lessons inequitable for many families of color. In the Twin Cities, organizations like the YMCA, the City of Saint Paul, and Hennepin County are among those that offer free water safety and swimming lessons to groups that face economic or other systemic barriers.

Making a plan for future swim lessons is great, but what about how to stay safe if you’re headed to the pool or the lake today? Experts from the YMCA and Children’s Minnesota share tips for staying safe around and in the water:

  • Children, especially young children, must always be watched carefully around water. Designate a ‘water watcher’ adult who will keep an eye on children in the water at all times, without distractions.
  • When you are in the water with inexperienced or anxious swimmers, remain within arm’s reach at all times.
  • Make sure children know to ask permission before going in or near the water. Children should never swim alone without a water watcher adult present.
  • Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket so they can enjoy being in the water safely.

The team at V3 Sports also shared this video earlier this summer as a reminder of the importance of water safety.

Whether you're cooling off in a pool, pond, or lake this summer, keep swimming safety at the top of your mind!