Safety

American Academy of Pediatrics

Pool Safety for Children

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A swimming pool can be very dangerous for children. If possible, do not put a swimming pool in your yard while you have young children. Help protect your children from drowning by doing the following:

  • Never leave your children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment. An adult who knows CPR should actively supervise children at all times.

  • Practice touch supervision with children younger than 5 years and with children of any age who are not strong swimmers. This means that the adult is within an arm’s length of the child at all times.

  • You must put up a fence to separate your house from the pool. Most young children who drown in pools wander out of the house and fall into the pool when they are not expected to be swimming. Install a fence at least 4 feet high around all 4 sides of the pool. This fence must completely separate the pool from the house and play area of the yard. Use gates that self-close and self-latch, with latches higher than your children’s reach.

  • Keep rescue equipment (such as a shepherd’s hook or life preserver) and a telephone by the pool.

  • Do not use air-filled “swimming aids” as a substitute for approved life jackets.

  • Remove all toys from the pool after use so children aren’t tempted to reach for them.

  • After the children are done swimming, secure the pool so they can’t get back into it.

  • Pool alarms and rigid safety covers that meet the standards of ASTM International may add to the protection of your children but should not be used in place of the fence between your house and the pool. Even fencing around your pool and using a rigid safety cover will not prevent all drownings.

While swim skills are an additional layer of prevention, remember that teaching your child how to swim DOES NOT mean your child is safe in water. Additional safety measures are necessary when your child is near the pool and when it is not swim time.

Patient education handouts from TIPP—The Injury Prevention Program help pediatricians implement injury prevention counseling for parents of children newborn through 12 years of age.

The information in this publication should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

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