Swim safety tips from the American Red Cross:
* Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
* Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
* Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
* Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
* Maintain constant supervision.
* Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and learn-to-swim courses.
* If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers. Many children who drown in home pools were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents at the time.
* Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
* If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
* Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first-aid kit.
* Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
* Enroll in Red Cross water safety, first aid and CPR courses to learn how to respond to emergencies.
* In Yolo County, call the Red Cross at (530) 662-4669.
Summer weather may have made a late arrival this year, but arrive it did, with temperatures hitting the 90s this week and many Davis residents hitting the pools.
Whether headed for their very first swim lesson, a serious swim team practice or just recreational fun, kids could be seen all over town this week biking with beach towels slung over their shoulders. In Davis, it seems, swimming and summer go hand-in-hand.
But along with all the fun comes some sobering facts: Drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death among children under the age of 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and for every child who drowns, three more receive emergency room care for near-drowning.
To draw attention to the importance of children learning how to swim, Davis residents once again participated in the World’s Largest Swim Lesson this week, an event held at water parks, pools and aquatics centers around the world to highlight how swim lessons save lives.
Swimmers took to the water at 8 a.m. Davis time on Tuesday both at SwimAmerica, which also participated in the inaugural event last year, and at Manor Pool.
All of the swimmers followed a uniform curriculum, with everyone learning the same safety skills at the same time, from how to safely get in and out of the water, to how to roll over and float. Kids also learned what to do when they see someone else in trouble.
“A lot of kids think they can just jump in and save someone and we let them know that, no, they need to get help or call 9-1-1,” said SwimAmerica director Rose Cholewinksi.
The message of the day, Cholewinski added, “is the importance of swim lessons all year. It’s not just an activity. It’s a necessity.”
And in Davis, she noted, there swimming opportunities aplenty.
“Our community is incredibly lucky to have such great swim team and swim lesson options for children,” she said.
In addition to SwimAmerica, which offers lessons year-round at its indoor pool on Second Street, there are several other clubs and organizations that provide swim lessons.
The city of Davis remains one of the largest summer providers, with some 2,000 participants taking part in city aquatics classes last year, according to Community Services Supervisor Anne Marquez.
The city offers classes for children as young as 6 months (accompanied in the pool by a parent) up to teens, and the program is the local authorized provider of American Red Cross swimming and water safety programs, including learn-to-swim, lifeguarding and water safety instructor training programs.
And while the first sessions of summer swim lessons are already under way, many openings remain at pools around town.
“Private lessons tend to fill quickly,” Marquez said. “But we do have openings in most lessons.
“We opened up some more spaces at Community and have some spread across Arroyo and Manor (pools),” she added.
Marquez said parents can contact each pool directly or the Community Services Department at City Hall for available lessons and times. Online registration is available to those who have set up a household account with the city.
The city, of course, is not the only game in town. Most private clubs offer swim lessons and there are private swim instructors in town as well.
Some of the local swim lesson providers are:
* Davis Athletic Club, which has lessons for infants through adults. Contact them at (530) 753-5282 or [email protected]
* Davis Swim & Fitness offers private lessons for all ages. Reach them at (530) 753-5683.
* SwimAmerica offers lessons for infants up to adults, in small groups or private lessons. Contact them at (530) 759-1214.
For information on the Community Services Department’s swim lessons, contact the department at (530) 757-5626 or visit http://cityofdavis.org/cs/aquatics.
Reach city pools directly at the following numbers: Manor (530) 758-2000; Arroyo (530) 297-5477; and Community (530) 758-0930.
And Cholewinksi adds one more reminder, lest any parents get too comfortable about their children’s safety in the water.
“No one is ever safe,” she said. “By learning to swim, we’re making our children safer. By putting up barriers around the pool, we’re making our children safer. But nothing is ever ‘safe.’ The risk will always be present.”
And so too, she said, should parents.
“Active supervision is really important.”
— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at [email protected] or (530) 747-8051.