71% of the World is Water. Children are 100% Curious.

Whether you're playing in a backyard pool, splashing in a bathtub, or cooling off during the summer months next to a local stream or river, it just takes a moment. A child or weak swimmer can drown in the time it takes to reply to a text, check a fishing line, or apply sunscreen.

Teaching children how to swim and be safe in and around water is one of the most important life skills parents can help their children learn. It not only saves lives; it builds confidence. We've put together some tips to keep kids and families safe around water year-round.

Take the Family Pledge to be Safe Around Water


Have Fun, Be Confident, and Stay Safe

Teaching kids to be safe around water is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

Every day, there are nearly 10 accidental drownings in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s 3,500 people every year who die in water. Within these numbers is a startling fact: the fatal-drowning rate of Black/African-American children is three times higher than white children.

The YMCA of Greater Seattle is committed to removing barriers that limit all people from developing their full potential, and that includes being safe around water. We offer Safety Around Water classes and swim lessons to help achieve this goal. 

We're passionate about Safety Around Water classes and swim lessons, so we can't wait to offer them again! These lessons and classes are currently on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and we will provide an update on when they'll continue as soon as we can. In the meantime, we've compiled some resources for families to practice water safety at home in the tips section above and below. 

Safety Around Water Classes

This program teaches children of all ages and from all backgrounds that water should be fun, not feared, as long as they know how to stay safe in and around water. In Safety Around Water, kids learn what to do if they find themselves in the water unexpectedly. Children learn fundamental water safety skills that include what to look for in a safe place to swim and how to swim a short distance on their front, roll over onto their back to rest, and then roll on their front to continue swimming to safety.

Swim Lessons

The Y is “America’s Swim Instructor” and the most accessible community resource to prevent drowning and encourage a lifelong enjoyment of swimming. Each year, the Y of Greater Seattle teaches more than 13,000 people how to swim. Formal lessons have proven to reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children ages 1-4. While starting young is recommended, it is never too late to learn to swim.