Pool Safety Tips: Children

To learn more about how to take swimming precautions and how to help those in emergency situations contact your local American Red Cross or for free water safety booklets, call the NSPSC at (800) 323-3996.


  • Install barriers to make the pool or spa area safer and delay entry of unsupervised children. Fences should be at least four feet high with self-closing, self-latching gates that are kept in good working order. Power safety covers or doors equipped with an alarm system or self-closing and self-latching devices are other effective safety features. While these measures do not replace supervision, they can prevent or detect access by young children to the pool. Use these barriers in "layers" with each layer adding to the safety of the pool.
  • Don't leave toys in the water: Toys could lure a child back when a parent is not present.
  • Enroll in a water safety course with your child: Your decision to provide your child with an early aquatic experience is a gift that will have infinite rewards.
  • Watch the weather: Know local weather conditions and prepare for electrical storms. Because water conducts electricity, stop swimming as soon as you see or hear a storm.


  • All caretakers of children, including parents, grandparents, baby-sitters, older siblings, etc., must be instructed to watch children constantly.
  • Children are naturally curious and must be supervised at all times when in and around all bodies of water, including pools and spas. The NSPSC says: "Drowning is a silent accident; rarely is there a cry for help or a splash, yet it is preventable. Never take your eyes off a child when he/she is in or near any body of water, even for a second."
  • At no time should you leave your child unattended in or around any water environment (pool, stream, tub, toilet, bucket of water, etc.), no matter what skills your child has acquired and no matter how shallow the water.
  • Don't rely on substitutes: The use of flotation devices and inflatable toys cannot replace parental supervision. Such devices could suddenly shift position, lose air, or slip out from underneath, leaving the child in a dangerous situation.
  • Encourage safe practices: Don't assume young children will use good judgment and caution around the water. Children must be constantly reminded to walk slowly in the pool area and only to enter the water with you.

In Case of Emergency

  • Remember Check, Call, Care: If you come upon a person in an emergency, Check the scene to ensure it's safe and Check the victim, Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number, and Care for the person until help arrives.
  • Take an American Red Cross CPR and first aid class.
  • Keep a phone by the pool.
  • Knowing these skills can be important around the water and you will expand your capabilities in providing care for your child.