PHOENIX — Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1 to 4 years old, according to the World Health Organization.
It’s why the YMCA Valley of the Sun is offering 2,000 free swim lessons over the next two weeks for non-swimmers.
12 News had a chance to see how YMCA swim professionals are training young kids to survive in the water. They also gave some important suggestions to help kids swimming this summer.
Jasmine Chavers knows how dangerous the water can be, which is why she put her 4-year-old son Zachary into swim lessons this morning.
"I was grateful because the YMCA is allowing people to have the opportunity to learn something new, just in case parents don’t have experience," Chavers said.
These young kids are having fun, but they’re also learning lifesaving skills.
Jacki Gizzi from the YMCA says it’s never too early to give your children swim lesson. A baby can start with lessons as early as 6 months old.
"Really, we teach them if they were to fall into the pool that they could self-save. Turn around and grab the wall or float on their back are two of the biggest skills that we teach during this program," said Gizzi, the executive director for leadership and risk management for the YMCA.
Fifty-one children ages 12 and under have died in drowning accidents in Maricopa and Pinal counties over the past three years, according to Children's Safety Zone. But there are some simple things you can do to protect your kids.
"Make sure we are aware that they need to put up barriers around their home. They need to put door alarms on their doors. Also, get their children into swim lessons if they want to protect them," she said.
Something else the YMCA is promoting this summer are tags that designate someone as a pool watcher.
"So really we’re using these tags as an opportunity, that when you’re wearing the tag, you’re in charge of the children who are in the pool," Gizzi said.
As for young mom Jasmine Chavers, these are all tips she’ll take home to make sure that Zach is safe.
"Exactly, we want them to have knowledge to swim," said Chavers.
YMCA safety experts also suggest teaching your kids to ask before they go swimming. Also, pools should be a no-distraction zone, meaning no cellphones, books or magazines. It only takes seconds for a young child to drown.
For more information on signing up for swim lessons contact the YMCA Valley of the Sun.