May is recognized nationwide as National Water Safety Month. The initiative is a joint effort of the American Red Cross, The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, the National Recreation and Park Association, and the World Waterpark Association.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), accidental drowning is the leading cause of death among young children ages 1 to 2, and the second leading cause of death for ages 3 to 6. Most of those deaths occur when a child either falls into a pool or is left alone in a bathtub.
The NSC recommends that all children be taught the following basic life-saving swimming techniques:
- Floating or treading water for one minute without a flotation device
- Stepping or jumping into water over your head and returning to the surface
- Treading water or floating in a full circle and then finding a way out of the water
- Exiting a pool without using a ladder
- Swimming 25 yards without stopping
Reston Community Center (RCC) has pledged to offer free Level 1 and 2 “Learn-to-Swim” classes for children who live in Reston or are the children of Reston employees during July and August. Registration opened this week, and parents are encouraged to sign up soon, as classes tend to fill quickly.
In addition, RCC offers CPR and First Aid training opportunities to the community, and works with Reston Association to offer a Drowning Education Awareness Program (DEAP) throughout the year. DEAP offers two land-based water safety awareness programs for youth and civic organizations; presentations are free for Reston residents and employees.
As part of the National Water Safety Month, RCC is also giving out free coloring and activity books at the Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center and at RCC Hunters Woods. RCC is also teaching water safety pledges to children throughout May.
“RCC is proud to support drowning awareness and education programs that also include certification options for Lifeguards, Swimming Instructors and Aquatic Facility Operators. These certifications are offered to Reston residents and employees at very low fees,” says Joe Leary, Aquatics Director.
For more information, visit www.restoncommunitycenter.com or call 703-476-4500.