As the weather heats up, we start thinking about heading to the pool or the beach to swim and sunbathe, but vigilance is key when you\u2019re bringing kids along to the water.\nSwimming lessons for kids are a good way to get youngsters familiar with the water \u2014 but remember, drownings can happen to even experienced swimmers. Keep these summer safety tips in mind when you head to the beach or poolside with children.\nWhen to Enroll Your Child in Swimming Lessons\nChris Vitale, RN, MSN, manager of UPMC\u2019s Injury Prevention Program, says all kids and adults should learn to swim, but there are many schools of thought on when to start formal lessons.\nWhen should kids start swimming lessons? Learn more here. Click To Tweet\n\u201cIt\u2019s always a good idea to introduce kids to water when they\u2019re young,\u201d Vitale said. \u201cAs parents, you know your kids, and you can begin lessons when you think it\u2019s appropriate.\u201d\nThe American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that children aren\u2019t ready for formal lessons until after their fourth birthday. However, \u201csurvival\u201d swim lessons are available starting at age 6 months. These classes teach babies and small children to roll over on their backs, with the hope that an adult will pull them out of the water quickly.\nFormal swimming lessons vary by location and instructor. Some places have more structured lessons, where children must pass milestones to move on to the next level. Others pair students with an instructor or lifeguard and let the child learn at his or her own pace. Most classes for young kids require the parents to be in the water throughout the lesson.\nIn class, children learn to get comfortable around water, hold their breath, and float or keep their heads above water. They may do bobs, kick with a kickboard, and learn different strokes. Kids progress to higher levels as they master these techniques. Some lessons are more concerned with technique, while others may focus more on survival skills. Call around or observe lessons in your area to find out what style is best for your child.\nPool and Water Safety for Kids\nThe AAP and Vitale caution that swim lessons don\u2019t prevent children from drowning. An adult should always have their eyes on kids in the water, even shallow pools, and be within arm\u2019s reach of young children or those who aren\u2019t strong swimmers.\nVitale also recommends that parents learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation, more commonly known as CPR, and offers these safety tips for parents who either have pools or visit them.\n\nDon\u2019t leave toys floating in the pool. Small children may fall in trying to reach them.\nAlways have a \u201cwater watcher,\u201d an adult supervising the kids who is not taking calls, reading, or distracted in any way.\nKeep a phone nearby for emergencies.\nAll pools should have a gate that locks when closed and have a barrier between house doors and the pool.\nAlways watch small children around water, even in small kiddie pools in the backyard.\n\nVitale also cautions that anytime adults have trouble finding a child around the house, they should always check the pool first.\n\u201cIf your eyes aren\u2019t on the child, and you don\u2019t know where they\u2019re at, check the pool first,\u201d she said. Pool alarms are also good tools to notify you if a child goes outside near the pool.\nIn general, as we open the pools and head to the beach, parents should always have an eye on children. Swimming lessons for kids are a great tool to help them get comfortable and understand basic survival skills, but even strong swimmers can still find themselves in trouble.\nFor more, visit the Children\u2019s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC website.