Water Safety and Swimming

As "America's swim instructor," the YMCA teaches children of all ages and from all backgrounds that water should be fun, not feared, if you know how to stay safe in and around water.

Water Safety and Swimming

Drowning can happen nearly anywhere with standing water

Help Keep Your Kids Safe

Drowning can happen nearly anywhere with standing water — but as a parent or caregiver, you can’t keep your kids sidelined. By equipping kids with the tools they need to be confident in and around water, they’ll be able to reap the health benefits of exercise, bond with family and friends and take pride in their new skills — safely.

Safety Around Water Program

Over the course of eight 40-minute sessions, adults and children learn important skills in and around water, including:

  • Basic swim skills, like floating, blowing bubbles, the freestyle stroke and the front crawl
  • Safety skills, like CPR, identifying a safe place to swim and water rescue techniques (“Reach or Throw, Don’t Go”)
  • Survival swim skills, like pushing off the bottom of the pool to resurface (“Jump, Push, Turn, Grab”) and a method of swimming on your front and back (“Swim, Float, Swim”)

Swim Lessons

The Y provides children across the U.S. with access to swim lessons and water safety education. The Y introduced the country to group swim lessons over 110 years ago in 1909. Now, as one of the largest community-based organizations in the country, we teach more than a million children, especially those most at-risk of drowning, invaluable water safety and swimming skills each year.

There are three general categories of Y Swim Lessons:

  • Swim Starters helps children ages six months to three years develop swim readiness skills through fun experiences that build confidence. In addition, parents learn how to supervise children in the water, prevent accidents and plan for emergencies.
  • Swim Basics enables students of all ages to gain basic water safety and swimming skills. Swimmers become comfortable and confident in the water through practicing safe water habits, engaging in underwater exploration and learning how to swim to safety if they fall into a body of water.
  • Swim Strokes introduces and refines stroke technique in older swimmers (school-age, teens and adults). Having mastered the fundamentals, students learn additional water safety skills and build stroke technique, developing skills that can help prevent chronic disease, increase overall well-being and foster a lifetime of physical activity.

Enroll in a YMCA Safety Around Water or Swim Lessons Program Today!

Both programs are available to all kids and families. Visit Find a Y to locate a program in your community.

How the Y Helps Keep Kids Safe in and Around Water

Two Programs, Three Goals: Have Fun, Be Confident, Stay Safe.

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.

Y 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 teaches more than a million children how to swim. The latest evolution of Y Swim Lessons accommodates students of varying abilities to help foster a sense of achievement as swimmers progress between stages.

Beyond the Water

Through team sports, family activities and early learning programs, discover more ways that children can develop as individuals.

  • Swim, Sports & Play

    The Y is committed to empowering kids to lead healthy, active lifestyles. From gaining confidence to building positive relationships with friends and peers, sports at the Y are about building lifelong skills and healthy habits.

  • Family Time

    Family time at the Y is about giving families — as a group or as individuals — opportunities to deepen relationships, develop new skills and interests, connect to the community and improve their health and well-being.

  • Child Care Programs

    Child care and early learning programs at the Y focus on child development by building foundational skills, developing healthy relationships and fostering self-reliance, all in a safe and supportive environment.