Adolescents - Water Safety Tips 

Print this page out and share with spouse and other caregivers (teen activity leaders, scout leaders, etc.)

Despite often having acquired some level of swimming skill, adolescents can drown or be serious injured in and around water. 

Lack of adult supervision and lack of education are key contributors to adolescents getting into trouble around water. 

Supervision

Don't let anyone enter the water alone.
Don't assume your child or his or her friends can swim or will behave safely around water.  Ask about the skills and education and proceed slowly and cautiously.  
If an adolescent cannot swim well (swim 5-minutes unaided), then he or she is at high risk of drowning or injury when around water, and it is your job to minimize or eliminate the risk.
Don't let a non-swimming adolescent into water greater than waste deep or let him attempt to compensate by relying on a floatation device to explore or join others in deeper water. Danger, injury, and death can result. 
Supervising an adolescent backyard pool party is a thankless and worrisome task. It's not they don't so much know how to swim, it is that they are rambunctious and are too likely to go crashing into the deck, pool edge, the pool bottom and one another.  Don't have the party at home.
Adolescent swim parties are far safer and easier to schedule at a commercial life guarded pool and other water area.  The guards know the safety rules and routinely enforce them with adolescents day in and day out.   
No adolescent, school aged child or adult should dive off the pool deck or off a board into a backyard pool - ever, for safety's sake.
Screening for alcohol or drug use and steering clear of water if their is usage is a necessary adult policing behavior.

 

Education

Adolescents should receive straight talk about water safety.  Don't ever enter water alone.  "Don't ever enter water with another adolescent without adult supervision.  If you do and something happens, there will be no one to save you
It is commonly held that children shouldn't have gotten to adolescent age without having learned to swim and handle themselves safely around water.  Classes for this age group are difficult to find, so pursue private one-to-one instruction that is available at most all swim schools, park and recreation departments, etc.  The adolescent will enjoy this format more and will learn more quickly.  Swimming and diving skills along with water safety behaviors will be taught. They will thank you for arranging for them to learn. 
A adolescent can think he can swim better than he actually can, and not perceiving water depth or understanding the dangers of water currents or colder water temperatures.  
Encourage your teen to take swimming, diving, and water safety or rescue classes. This will give him or her 

 

Alcohol and Drugs

Alcohol and drugs don't mix with the water . . . and most anything else you can name! 

If drinking alcohol or using other drugs, adolescents are at risk of drowning or sustaining serious injury in and around water Don't let them in or near water if under they are under the influence or may become under the influence.  They would not be in control of themselves to further negotiate the hazard that the water might present.