THIS WEEK: YMCA offering free swim lessons, water safety classes

YMCA offering free water safety classes to kids-6:30am

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Swimming with family and friends can be fun, but children need to know the importance of water safety.

According to information provided by the YMCA of the Capital Area, “Louisiana has the second-highest drowning death rate in America.”

That’s why The Y and Tankproof are partnering to provide swimming lessons and water safety classes at the ExxonMobil YMCA located at Howell Boulevard in Baton Rouge.

The swimming lessons are free for children ages three to 12. The kids must live in North Baton Rouge.

Leaders of The Y say there is a focus on the minority communities because, " African American children ages 5 to 14 are three times more likely to drown than their white counterparts. The disparity is partly due to the lack of swimming experience among these children.”

“According to a 2017 national research study conducted by the USA Swimming Foundation with the University of Memphis and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, 64 percent of African American children cannot swim, compared to 45 percent of Hispanic children and 40 percent of Caucasian children. Additionally, 79 percent of children in families with household income less than $50,000 have no/low swimming ability. “All children, regardless of background, skills or age, should have access to swim lessons,” said Christian Engle, President/CEO, YMCA of the Capital Area. “Through this partnership, we hope to further bridge cultural and access gaps that can prevent some children from learning important water safety skills.”

Children will learn about water safety and what to do if they find themselves in a dangerous situation in the water.

Enrollment information can be found here.

Click here to report a typo.

Copyright 2020 WAFB. All rights reserved.