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Pool Safety and Drowning Prevention

Pool Safety and Drowning Prevention

By Megan Benner, MSN, CPNP


Swimming consumes a lot of our summer break fun! Parents and family members should be aware of and knowledgeable about risks and safety tips regarding pool safety. Drowning unfortunately remains the second leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 19.


Not every child will be ready to engage in swim lessons by a certain age. Parents should decide to engage their child in swim lessons depending on their frequency of exposure to water (pool, waterfront home, boating, etc.), as well as their developmental readiness. It is important to understand that swim lessons are in no way proved to prevent drowning and are also not a substitute for adult supervision at all times. “Touch Supervision” is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and is described as a caregiver being within arm’s reach or able to touch the swimmer at all times!


The following is a list of recommendations to protect your child from drowning:

  • Close supervision; designate an adult “water watcher” at all times!

  • A safe fence surrounding all four sides of the pool that completely separates the house and yard.

    • Large, inflatable pools are becoming more popular and are easy to lean on; allowing a child to easily fall in. An appropriate fence should also be considered in this situation!

  • Rescue equipment should be kept near the pool. Examples include a life preserver, shepherd’s hook, and a portable telephone.

  • “Floaties” and other inflatable swimming aids are NOT a substitute for approved life jackets. All flotation devices should be USCG approved and should be the appropriate size for your child.

  • Do not make pools seem appealing when no one is in them. Remove all tubes, rafts, and toys from pool and pool deck when no one is in the pool!

  • Pools and spas should have drain covers to avoid entrapment.

  • If a child is missing, look in the pool or spa first!

  • Children should always be taught to enter the water FEET first.

  • Parents, caregivers, and pool owners should learn CPR.


It is also very important to mention that water safety does not only apply to pools. Children should never be left alone or in the care of another young child while near bathtubs, pools, spas, wading pools, buckets of water, irrigation ditches or standing water, regardless of how shallow. It is imperative to empty all water from buckets and other containers after use. Young children should also never be left alone in the bathroom!


There are a number of strategies available to prevent such tragedies. Many are noted above; but the list is endless. Parents and caregivers need to make themselves aware that this can happen to anyone and should remain educated and receptive of recommendations and tips that could save children’s lives.


American Academy of Pediatrics, 2018.