Editorials

Editorial

A preventable tragedy

Wellesley, MA - 6/3/2013 - An electronic sign flashed "No Swimming" and "Beach Closed." Morses Pond was photographed a day after 10-year-old Alexander Glennon, of Manchester, N.H. died, in Wellesley, MA on Monday, June 3, 2013. (Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff) Slug: drowning Reporter: n/a LOID: 5.0.1725229525
Yoon S. Byun/2013 Globe File Photo
An electronic sign flashed “No Swimming” and “Beach Closed” at Morses Pond in Wellesley, one day after 10-year-old Alexander Glennon of Manchester, N.H., drowned in June 2013.

It’s a tragic, and often preventable, summertime horror in Massachusetts: children drowning at beaches, lakes, or swimming pools. The toll during last week’s heat wave included a 13-year-old boy who died at Bell Pond in Worcester, the Globe reported.

On average, about two children in the United States drown every day. These heart-wrenching individual tragedies add up to a serious public health challenge.

Swimming lessons are among the more important safeguards. Free or low-cost lessons are available in many towns and cities, including Boston, but they aren’t always well publicized.

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Here are some:

• The Boys and Girls Club offers free swim lessons to members at all skill levels. Membership is $25 for kids 6-12, or $5 for teens. Details at www.bgcb.org.

• The YMCA offers lessons for all age groups at 12 of its 13 pools across Greater Boston. Rates vary, and the organization offers scholarships. Check ymcaboston.org/swim.

• The City of Boston operates 18 pools and offers free swimming lessons during school vacations in February and April and low-cost lessons the rest of the year. More at Boston.Gov/BCYF.

Many other providers also offer swim classes. The message can’t be repeated often or loudly enough: Those programs can be a matter of life and death.

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