Imagine this: Your fourteen-year-old comes home from school on a hot Friday and says that all of his friends are getting together to swim in a friend’s back yard pond. Excited to cool off and have some fun, he expects to go to the back yard pond party. Finally, for good measure, he reminds you that his homework is done and it is, after all, the weekend. A compelling argument, but for parents, situations like these can be nerve-racking to say the least. Before you agree to let your teenager head out to the water with their friends, it is imperative that you make sure they are water aware.

First, you should always ask key questions such as, will there be parents or other responsible adults there? Do the teenagers make up a responsible group? Will there be alcohol there? Is the pond even safe? It’s important to have frequent open discussions about water safety to help educate teenagers about the potential dangers that could come along, especially in larger bodies of water. Dinner table talks or family nights can be used as great opportunities to educate your children about possible risk factors such as, currents, water temperature, and rocks on the pond’s bottom. Use family time to select and purchase individual life jackets. Developing skills through training classes or practicing in a pool with a lifeguard can help improve your teenager’s overall swimming ability. It is important that they know and you know exactly what they can do while in the water. A back yard pond, lake, or the ocean are not the places for self-discovery.

Finally, first aid and safety seminars are an excellent way to introduce CPR training and life-saving information to your teenagers. Know that these applicable skills will not only help your teenager in the water, but in other potentially dangerous situations as well. Understanding water safety, personal limits, and respecting the power of nature opens the door to many exciting and fun activities. But, be realistic. If it is not a good idea in the first place, all of the training and the education in the world will not make it one. For more tips to share with your teen, click here.