WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)— Memorial Day weekend has many spending time poolside with family and friends.

But with this unofficial kickoff to summer underway, experts emphasize safety and warn about the dangers of drowning.

Swimming lessons are in full swing at the Wilkes-Barre YMCA.

As the kids splash around, the Director of Aquatics Michael Skeath says pool supervision is paramount.

“If you’re going to go swim, whether it’s your backyard pool or just the local YMCA pool, watch the kids. Put the phones down, put the books down, like really be a part of their swimming experience, really watch them,” said Skeath.

Vigilance is key because a situation can escalate fast.

Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages one to four and the second leading cause of death for children five to 14.

“Drowning is not like it is in movies or tv shows, it can be super silent. There may not be a lot of splashing, there may not be yelling for help or anything like that so they just can quickly go under the water,” explained Skeath.

Some best practices include securing the area around the pool and making sure kids are wearing proper floatation devices.

“Just checking on them, making sure that there’s no holes, they’re not faded anywhere, all the straps and clips still work, because you wouldn’t want something like that coming off if the child is solely relying on that,” continued Skeath.

Skeath encourages parents and people of all ages to become CPR certified.

“The ability to just know how to save someone’s life, while it may not come often, it could come up sometime and you could really make a difference in someone’s life if you have that training,” says Skeath.

The YMCA offers swimming lessons for all ages and it’s also hosting a lifeguard certification course in early June.

Don’t forget to check out the Times Leader’s next installment of Troubled Waters in Monday’s online edition.