The Valley of the Sun YMCA is committed to preventing drownings through its free swim lesson program, community awareness and parent education.

[PHOENIX] May 3, 2021 – As part of National Water Safety Month, the Valley of the Sun YMCA will offer one week of free swim lessons to the first 1,000 registrants at the 10 Valley of the Sun YMCA pools the weeks of May 17-21. Registration opens at noon today. Lessons are open to non-swimmers from 6 months of age to adults.

The free swim lessons are part of the Y’s Safety Around Water program, which is designed to teach non-swimmers survival skills and engage and educate parents about the importance of water safety skills and provide more of America’s youth access to water safety lessons.

Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children 0 to 4 years old and is the second leading cause of accidental death for children from 5 to 14 years old. Over the last three years in Maricopa and Pinal counties alone, 36 children under the age of 5 were involved in a fatal water-related incident. However, research shows that participation in formal water safety and swim lessons can reduce the risk of drowning among children by as much as 88 percent.

Through Safety Around Water, parents and caregivers are encouraged to help their children learn fundamental water safety and swimming skills. During the course, participants are taught how to respond if they find themselves in unexpected water situations such as how to reach the water’s surface if they submerge to safely reaching a pool’s edge or exiting any body of water. In addition to preventing drowning, water safety and swim lessons promote a lifelong enjoyment of swimming. They also encourage healthy living and the prevention of chronic diseases. Learning to enjoy activities in and around the water also nurtures social-emotional, cognitive and physical development.

In addition to offering free swim lessons, the YMCA will be distributing 13,000 Water Watcher tags provided by SRP in English and Spanish at local schools, partner organizations and Ys to increase water safety awareness this summer.
“It’s up to each and every one of us to educate our families and friends on how to prevent drownings — before anyone even gets in the pool or around any body of water,” said Regina Lane Haycock, SRP senior Community Engagement strategist.

At SRP, safety is a top priority, alongside reliability. It is our hope that responsible, designated adults will commit to maintain direct, visual contact with children or adults around water and make it a habit to use SRP’s free Water Watcher tags.”

All non-swimmers are encouraged to sign up for this free swim lesson session, as registration is first come, first serve. All registration must be completed in-person at a local YMCA. For more information and to find a branch near you, visit valleyymca.org.