Pool Safety For Kids: Top 7 Things Parents Should Know!

by | Jun 13, 2021

What To Know To Ensure Your Kids Are Swimming Safely This Summer

If you are looking for the latest info on pool safety for kids this summer, then you have come to the right place! 

Summer has commenced and the kids are ready to hop into any pool they can find. All that being said, we as parents need to make sure that they are SAFE in the water. 

I’m going to share with you the top 7 things to know when it comes to pool safety for kids. 

With drowning being the leading cause of injury-related death for kids ages 1-4, proper pool safety is of the utmost importance!

Let’s dive in (I couldn’t resist) and learn together! 

Top 7 Things To Know About Pool Safety For Kids

  1. Proper Pool Safety Equipment
  2. Learn CPR and Basic Rescue Skills
  3. Know Your Child’s Swimming Ability
  4. Quality Swim Lessons
  5. Water Watcher
  6. Less Is More
  7. Put Your Phone Away! 

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pool safety for kids pin

How do you make a pool safe for kids?

1. Proper Pool Safety Equipment

Proper pool safety equipment is super essential when it comes to ensuring the safety of young swimmers. 

Before I go into specifics about equipment, it’s important to know the hard facts about drowning. This is a SERIOUS issue!

Hard Facts About Drowning 

*These facts are taken from safekids.org and healthychildren.org

  • After birth defects, drowning is the #1 leading cause of death for children ages 1-4
  • It’s the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 19 and under
  • Most drownings in kids 4 and under happen in home swimming pools
  • Fences are the most effective, proven way to prevent drowning in young children
  • Most children 4 and under drown when they wander out of the house and find their way to a pool that’s not fenced in. 
  • Drowning is often a silent act

One of the stats that stood out to me the most was that most children 4 and under drown when they wander out of the house and find their way to a pool that’s not fenced in. 

If this is something that can be prevented, then let’s make it happen! 

This is why having proper pool safety equipment is necessary when you have a home swimming pool.  

What is proper pool safety equipment? 

According to leading experts, a home swimming pool should have a safety fence around the pool. This fence should be at least 4 feet high all around and offer no way for a child to climb over it or under it to get to the pool. 

It should also contain some kind of a lock, preventing entrance unless permitted by an adult.  

You can read more about these requirements at parents.com in their article Home Swimming Pool Safety Tips All Parents Should Know

If your swimming pool is not fenced in, there are other types of safety measures you can take: 

  • Pool safety cover
  • Pool safety net
  • Alarm 
  • Proper locks to exterior doors in the house that are out of reach of little children

There have been stories of kids going through doggy doors to sneak into the pool, so it’s necessary to ensure that there are proper locks on any household exits, including doggy doors and windows. 

Do your research before purchasing any of these items. Make sure they are well-made, have good reviews, and will work properly to ensure everyone’s safety. 

Whatever it takes to keep our little ones safe this summer when they’re swimming! 

2. Learn CPR and Basic Rescue Skills

Knowing CPR is a very important life skill, whether or not you have a pool at home.

Getting certified can give you that extra measure of peace when it comes to watching your little ones in the pool. 

When it comes to basic rescue skills, this refers to the ability to be able to jump into a pool, swim to a child, and be strong enough to move the child to safety while not drowning yourself. 

I did not make this up! This can make a difference in saving a child’s life. 

All that to say, make sure whoever is in charge of watching the kids is a strong swimmer! 

There’s a big difference between being able to swim in the pool alone versus being able to swim towards a distressed swimmer, grab them, and get both of yourselves to safety. 

Brush up on your CPR and basic rescue skills before you have everyone over for a pool party! 

3. Know Your Child’s Swimming Ability

To ensure your children are safe in the pool, it’s important as the parent to know their varying swimming abilities.

This may seem like an obvious thing to know, but not always. 

How do I assess my child’s swimming ability? What should I be looking for? 

Great questions! 

First, you can assess to see if your child knows basic water survival skills such as floating, treading water, and swimming to the side

These are things that are an important component of quality swim lessons. 

If your child is unable to do those things on their own, then they definitely need to be wearing a proper fitting life jacket in the water.

These children who don’t yet have swimming skills are more vulnerable and need to be watched at all times in the pool. 

These are kids who need to have touch supervision, which means that the child should always be within arms reach of a supervising adult. 

If your child has the basic water survival skills and can even do a front crawl pretty well, don’t assume that they can be 100% independent in the water. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), swim lessons don’t make kids “drown proof.” 

The AAP recommends having constant focused supervision of young swimmers anytime they are in or near a pool or body of water, especially during non-swim times.  

Non-swim times are when everyone is supposed to be inside, normally for a family gathering, party, etc, and no one is supposed to be in the pool.

Many children who drown are often found in the pool alone, during a non-designated swim time. 

This is a common occurrence and should not be happening as often as it does. 

All that to say, it is important to be vigilant when your kids are in the pool

Better safe than sorry. I’m not into helicopter parenting, but when it comes to swimming safety for my almost 7 year-old, I will hover as much as necessary, no questions asked. 

4. Quality Swim Lessons

Another essential thing to ensure swimming safety is to enroll your child in quality swim lessons. 

Yes, they can be expensive at times, but swimming is a survival skill

There are thousands of adults who don’t know how to swim. 

Investing in swim lessons now will be well worth it! 

What makes a good swimming lesson?  

Excellent question! 

It’s important to know what to look for and to find a quality swim program.

Quality swim programs should include the following: 

  • Experienced, qualified instructors: trained and certified through a nationally recognized learn-to-swim curriculum
     
  • Teach basic water survival skills such as floating, treading water, and swimming to the side 
  • A lifeguard on duty during lessons that’s trained in CPR and rescue skills
  • Teach good safety habits (what is safe/not safe in, on, or near the water)
  • Teach what to do if they end up in the water unexpectedly
  • Let you observe a class first so you know if it’s a good fit for your child
  • Require multiple sessions: swimming skills build over time, and the more practice your child gets, the more they will grow in their confidence and skills

Does your child take swim lessons? If so, where?

goldfish swim school swimming lessons for 2 young children
Instructors at goldfish swim school with 2 young swimmers

Addie takes lessons at goldfish swim school, and she started in February of 2021. 

In just a short amount of time, she has gone from no swimming confidence to doing backstroke independently across the pool. 

Granted, she was very ready to start lessons at almost 7, but I also attribute her progress to the amazing staff at goldfish! 

It’s not as cheap as the YMCA or other community pools, but I assure you, the lessons are well worth it. 

If you live in the Midwest or another area with a goldfish facility, I highly recommend this swim program. Addie absolutely loves it, and we are so thankful for her strong swimming skills!

5. Water Watcher

In doing my research for this article, I came across the term water watcher on multiple websites dealing with swimming safety for kids. 

A water watcher is defined as an adult who will pay constant attention to children in or NEAR water, even if the children know how to swim.

According to the AAP, if you are the water watcher, you need to: 

  • Put down your cell phone
  • Avoid other activities
  • Not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Supervise even if there are lifeguards
  • Switch off with another adult for breaks (every 15 minutes)

After reading all of the sad statistics about drowning, designating an adult as the water watcher sounds like a very good idea. 

I understand that if your children are in the pool relaxing and having fun, you’d like to be able to relax too. 

There’s a time for that, but not when everyone is swimming. 

Be vigilant while they’re swimming, and once the kids are inside, put on a movie for everyone and then you can have your relaxing time. 

Remember, WHATEVER IT TAKES to keep your little ones safe this summer! 

And sadly, when it comes to preventable accidents like drowning, there are no do-overs. 

6. Less Is More

If your house is the place to be in the summertime because you have a pool, make sure that you don’t have too much going on that compromises the safety of young swimmers. 

Are you having a few families over for a fun Friday night? If so, have a certain time when the pool is open. Designate multiple water watchers if there are going to be a bunch of little ones in the pool. 

Don’t be afraid of what your friends will think if you tighten up on your pool rules. 

This isn’t about being the cool mom or well liked, this is about EVERYONE’S safety. 

When it comes to pool safety for kids, don’t compromise for the approval of others. 

It’s just not worth it if it means risking the safety of young swimmers. 

When you are planning for fun weekend events at your house, remember: Less is more! 

7. Put Your Phone Away!

I know I already mentioned this when describing the water watcher, but this deserves a category all its own. 

In our world today it’s rare to go anywhere, even a public bathroom, and not see someone using their phone. 

We are a society of people who are constantly looking down…and not at our feet, at our dang phones! 

They are so distracting! 

Let me just cut to the chase. When your kids are swimming in the pool at your home or in the neighborhood, it’s not the time to be on social media, texting, or shopping online. 

All of that stuff can wait. 

The safety of your children depends on you being responsible. 

I am guilty of this too. 

I hear the ding on my phone and think, I better check that text. 

Almost 99% of the time, it can wait and is not an emergency. 

The best way to prevent phone distraction when watching your kids in the pool is to put your phone away. 

If you’re that distracted by any alerts or noises, then silence your phone. 

Put it inside if that helps. 

And because drowning is often a silent act and can happen rather quickly, it’s so important to be diligent when watching young swimmers. 

These days phones seem to be the #1 distraction for parents. 

Don’t join the statistics and be distracted by your phone if you’re supposed to be watching your kids in the pool. 

Kids before phones, right? 

Let’s Wrap Things Up!

If you made it this far into the article, then you really care about swimming safety for your kids. 

Thanks for hanging with me through the entire post! 

Here is that list one more time!

Top 7 Things To Know About Pool Safety For Kids

  • Proper Pool Safety Equipment
  • Learn CPR and Basic Rescue Skills
  • Know Your Child’s Swimming Ability
  • Quality Swim Lessons
  • Water Watcher
  • Less Is More
  • Put Your Phone Away! 

Remember, when it comes to the safety of our kids, there’s no room for shirking on our responsibilities. 

We need to do what’s necessary to ensure the safety of our young, vulnerable swimmers. 

I hope these tips are helpful as you embark on a fun and adventurous summer with your family. 

Have a happy and safe summer! 

Please comment below with swimming safety ideas you use with your family!

Lisa 

Cover Photo by Rowen Smith on Unsplash

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32 Comments

  1. Marian Fink

    Great advice. As a former lifeguard and mom of 4 I always teach my kids before getting into a pool to notice pool depth, diving areas etc. I also train my kids what to do if there is a struggling swimmer that grabs them and could pull them under. How to hold your breath and duck under the water then push away and get help.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thanks Marian! I love how you teach your kids what to do if there’s a struggling swimmer that grabs them and pulls them under…I’ve never thought to tell my daughter about that. Great advice!

  2. Sarah Althouse

    Perfect timing. We just got a pool membership in our town.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Awesome! Have a safe and fun summer.

  3. Linda

    Great reminders! We often meet up with other families at our neighborhood pool — the ratio of adults to kids ends up being about 1:1. Even with lifeguards on duty, we have to keep eyes open! Also very glad we started swimming lessons when our son was 2. He was fearless around water, so we knew that foundation was going to be extremely important!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      When your child is fearless, getting them into swim lessons at a young age is vital for their safety. Nice job Mama!

  4. Adriane

    Great tips. I have such anxiety with my kids in crowded pools.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Crowded pools can be very stressful. Hope you have a safe and fun summer!

    • Lisa

      You’re welcome Coretta. I feel like the more equipped we are, the better off our kids will be when it comes to swimming safely.

  5. Idara joy

    Parents shout prioritize pool safety for their kids. It is definitely an essential life skill

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Completely agree Idara!

  6. Genesis

    It’s sad how many children are lost due to pool drownings. Your tips are so important!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thanks Genesis! Appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. Have a safe and happy summer!

  7. Evie

    Such great advice. Thank you for sharing. Kids and water sources is definitely an important topic to learn about.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      The drowning statistics make me so sad, I feel like the more we know the better off our kids will be.

  8. Gina Abernathy

    Yes, pool safety is so important. I have a pool and I believe teaching your children at an early age to swim is so important.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      The earlier they know how to swim the better. I’m so glad you are on board with pool safety!

  9. Kelly Bolen

    Great advice! I would have never thought of some of the items you brought up about swim lessons!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      I’m so glad you found these tips helpful Kelly. =)

  10. Willa Truter

    This is so important – thank you for sharing

    Reply
    • Lisa

      You’re welcome Willa! I hope these tips come in handy for you and your family.

  11. Kelly

    Thank you for sharing this! Living out in Arizona, most people have pools, and it’s devasting how often I see drownings or near-drownings happen in my area. I’ll keep all this in mind if we ever get a pool when we buy a house.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Absolutely Kelly! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  12. Irene

    Swimming pools are one of the most dangerous places for children, we must be extra vigilant with them

    Reply
    • Lisa

      100% agree Irene! Pool safety is so important.

  13. Aditi Jain

    Very Informative. Thanks for sharing

    Reply
    • Lisa

      You’re welcome! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  14. Meika

    Really awesome tips! They really make a difference when it comes to our kids’ safety.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thanks Meika! I hope you found these helpful for you and your family.

  15. Proseccobefore7

    This is fantastic advice. We used to live in a house with a big pool and basically did everything you suggest here. Happy to report we never had any sort of accidents.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      I’m so glad you never had any accidents and were diligent with your kids!

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