FIRST 5 Update: Water Safety in Riverside County


This year alone, four children through age 5 have drowned and 28* have had a near drowning experience.

This summer, First 5 Riverside grantees – The YMCA of Riverside County and the Riverside University Health System Public Health’s Injury Prevention Services provided swim lessons, water safety information and CPR training to help avoid senseless tragedy.  The Commission also recently approved grant funding for the Desert Healthcare Foundation‘s Ready Set Swim! Jr. program in the Coachella Valley, which will launch next month. Classes will be held at pools in Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs, Indio, Coachella and Mecca. Workshops and presentations will be held throughout the desert region.  See and share the English or Spanish flyer.

By the end of next summer 850 children and 1,700 parents/caregivers are expected to participate in grantee programs.

Stay connected with us for more updates and details.

* As of 8/17/16

Sienna Garcia

Know and practice the ABCs of Drowning Prevention:

 A is for ACTIVE ADULT Supervision – Maintain constant eye contact when your child playing in or near water. Most children under age 5 have no fear of water and no concept of death. Water is associated with play. Being intensely focused on your supervising duties is essential to your child’s safety.

Next are BARRIERS This includes installing a fence, gates, latches, alarms, pool safety nets and covers to effectively keep children safe. Multiple barriers should be used and tested frequently to make sure they are functioning properly.

And, finally, be proactive and seek CLASSES – to learn proper rescue techniques, how to swim and water safety practices for the whole family.

First 5 Riverside is a proud member of the Riverside County Water Safety Coalition. Get more resources at

It’s time to focus on keeping children safe around water

There is a list of basic life skills all parents instinctively know they must teach their children to keep them safe and healthy. It includes habits like looking both ways before crossing the street, washing hands with soap and water and eating the right amount of fruits and vegetables every day.

For too many parents, safety in and around water is not high on the list and that’s something we need to change.

Fatal drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years old. For children under the age of 5, more than 60 drowning deaths per year occurred statewide over the last 5 years. The problem is particularly acute among minority communities. African American children 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 recent national research study conducted by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis, 70 percent of African American and 60 percent of Hispanic children cannot swim, compared to just 40 percent of Caucasian children.

The YMCA of Riverside County is committed to reducing water-related injuries, particularly in communities where children are most at risk. Joining us in the cause is First 5 Riverside, Riverside County Children and Families Commission. First 5 Riverside invests in partnerships that promote, support and enhance the health and early development of Riverside County children, prenatal through age 5, their families and communities.

As part of the program, the Y will provide opportunities to children from low-income and underserved communities to participate in free water safety lessons. The lessons teach young people valuable skills like what to do if they find themselves in the water unexpectedly, a situation every child should be equipped to handle. Two sessions will run this summer at Shamel Park in Riverside from June to July and from August to September.

If you know how to stay safe in and around water, swimming can be a lifelong source of fun and exercise. Instead of keeping your children away from water, help them learn fundamental water safety skills by enrolling them in lessons. These classes can provide them a new, exciting way to keep active and meet new friends.

To learn more about the Y’s Safety Around Water program, please visit!

For more resources about water safety, visit