With fewer lifeguards, swimming safety on minds of city parents

With fewer lifeguards, swimming safety on minds of city parents

Spectrum News, NY1

Megan Ferraro is the executive director of the ZAC foundation which was started by a mother and father who lost their son Zachary in a drowning. The organization works to educate the public on swimming safety.

According to the foundation, here in New York City and communities across the country, drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages one to four; and the second leading cause of death for kids under the ages of 14.

She recommends parents talk to their children about how to stay safe while swimming, wearing the proper gear and when to avoid the water. She says this effort starts with parents taking charge themselves.

“One parent is in charge of watching their child in the water at all times and if they need a break, their child needs to get out of the pool. As a parent, as a caregiver, you are your child’s first line of defense,” Ferraro said.

Ferraro says that nearly 80% of drownings involving young children happen in residential pools, but as they get older they are more likely to drown in open water settings like rivers, lakes, beach fronts. What’s worse; many community pools suspended their swimming lessons last year because of the pandemic, leaving parents to fill in the gap.

“I told him never go too deep. Never go above anything that’s over your chest. And if you need help just wave down a lifeguard or an adult,” said father of two Michael Velez.

“You have floaters, anything. Adults, as long as there are adults around and lifeguards I think they are extremely safe,” said parent Jacqueline Valentine.

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