Tampa YMCA offers free water safety classes for kids

- Water is everywhere in Florida, making water safety skills very important for children to learn.

A local organization is spearheading that effort for Bay Area parents and children.

There's good reason 5-year-old Davis Gaylord is learning how to swim.

"We actually live on the canal and we have a pool their grandparents live on a lake and also have a pool," Davis' dad, Blake said.

Because so many kids in the bay area live near water, the YMCA started a 3-way partnership with the Tampa Bay Rays and the United Way to provide water safety classes for children.

The program is called Safety Around Water.

"It is absolutely imperative that we teach kids to be safe in and out of the water," YMCA employee Lauren Brun said.

The program is free. The goal is to teach survival techniques to children to get them comfortable around water.

"They're going to learn two sequence skills," said Lauren. "So, we do the jump, push, turn, grab and the swim, float, swim."

The 4-day course will be taught by certified instructors and will last 40 minutes.

"I hope that the kids come to class and learn these life-saving skills and hopefully reduce their risk of drowning if they are in the water," Lauren said.

Water safety skills can save the lives of those we love the most. The classes are being offered by Ys throughout Hillsborough County the week of March 12. Visit www.tampaymca.org for details. 

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