How much water does it take to drown?

YMCA lifeguards perform a mock rescue of a drowning victim

YMCA lifeguards perform a mock rescue of a drowning victim during the Water Wise press conference. Water Wise is a drowning prevention awareness program that includes free swim lessons at area apartment complexes.

Inches of water in a bathtub.  A bucket of water.  Standing water on top of a pool or spa.  That’s all it takes.

Summer is a time for fun, sun and, sadly, drownings.  Greater Houston has already lost nine children in drowning deaths in these warm months.  What can you do to make sure that you or someone that you love does not become one of the 3,000 people who drown each year?

  1. Never swim alone, regardless of your age.
  2. Always supervise children when they are in or near water.
  3. Only swim in supervised areas.
  4. Only wear Coast Guard-approved life vests.
  5. Floatation devices are no substitute for parental supervision.
  6. Have rescue equipment mounted by the pool.
  7. Keep up home pool maintenance (murky water makes it difficult to see).
  8. Learn CPR.
  9. Enroll your child in swim lessons.
  10. Adults should learn to swim too.
Water Wise billboard

The YMCA’s Water Wise program also includes billboards, PSAs, a traveling speaker’s bureau and bilingual materials with information on swim lessons and drowning prevention.

Help us eliminate drownings.  Learn to swim and teach your children too.  It could save their lives.

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3 Responses to How much water does it take to drown?

  1. Pam Morgan says:

    I have been a member of the YMCA for ten years; never any problems. Today, I am contacting appropriate people to terminate my family membership. First, I will state, I have looked all over the Y website and internet for a complaint contact; to no avail.
    I joined the Y to have a place for my grandchildren to participate in; over the years we have enrolled them in many various programs. I was guaranteed that when I signed up. Today, I was told I had to stay within arms reach, then later I was told I had to stay in the pool with my 5 year old granddaughter. Physically, I can’t stay in the pool with her. I stay right WATCHING her on the side. She can swim like a fish, she is a good and obedient child, and I responsibly take her out every 45-60 minutes for pottie/refreshment/rest breaks. However, today, one particular life guard had it out for me; ten years no trouble but today this woman wouldn’t let it go. First I was told it was no problem by management, after lunch the life guard started again and THE manager (who couldn’t bother to come earlier because he was exercising) said I had to get in the pool with her. I can’t, so I’m done with the Y and the lying they told me when I joined.
    I was handed 3 pages of pool rules; the first rule is everybody MUST SHOWER; I guarantee, I’ve never seen the first person shower before entering that pool; and we are in and out of that bathroom. All floatation devices must be Coast Guard approved lifejackets; today an infant was in the pool in arm blow up floaties; hardly Coast Guard approved; but not a PEEP about that. At one point, a private swimming instructor was throwing wads and wads of hair that was floating on the water out of the pool; the only people committing about that was the instructor and me… we were both grossed out. No horseplaying or roughness; my 5 year old granddaughter was attacked by a day camp child because my granddaughter didn’t want her playing with her dive sticks; only after I jumped to the side of the pool yelling for the girl to let go of my granddaughter did ANY life guard say a word; and not the one who discriminated against me. Dive sticks were being thrown all over the pool; I was the only one I ever heard saying not to throw them because somebody might get hit. Diapers in the pool; not swim diapers; one set of rules stated rubber pants must be worn over swim diapers, good luck with that! Lifeguards have the final authority; forget which rules they choose to enforce.
    I asked the manager to give my granddaughter that test they’d been giving kids all day (and largely failing) because I have no doubt she would have passed it; why else would I have asked for it? He declined; told me if it made me “feel better” I could get a 16+ year old to stay in the water with her; seriously?; where am I suppose to get this 16+ year old; and what are LIFE GUARDS for??
    The Christian part of the Y… I am raising a grandson who desperately needed a GOOD Y program; this is not it. I am offended at the Christian pretense of what use to be a truly Christian organization.

  2. Trazanna says:

    Hello. First, I am sorry that you were unable to find our contact information. On the home page of the Houston YMCA website, find “Contact” in the bottom right corner; from there, you may click “email” to reach us. Also, on this blog, in the top menu bar, is a “Contact” tab, that allows you to email us and provides our phone number as well. Again, my apologies; however, I am glad that you were able to reach us through this forum. We need to hear from our members, especially when they are unhappy with us.

    You are correct that our YMCA aquatics standards require all children under six to have an adult (16 years or older) with them within arm’s reach in the pool at all times. This is a safety standard; if a child gets in trouble in the water, it is much easier to reach out to them than to jump in and get them. In life or death situations, seconds count. While our lifeguards are constantly scanning the water and watching people in the pool, no lifeguard or floatation device is a substitute for a parent or caregiver’s direct supervision in the water. I understand that this standard is an inconvenience to your family’s ability to enjoy the pool and for that I am terribly sorry.

    Regarding our other pool rules, you are correct that we should enforce them all equally. I encourage you to bring this to the attention of the management at your specific YMCA location so that they may address these issues. I hope that you do not terminate your membership. It would be our loss.

  3. Etta says:

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