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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth McBride

Children Are Not Waterproof

Drowning is one of the largest causes of accidental death for American infants and children under the age of five.

Baby swimming lessons
Swimming lessons can start at around 6 months.


1. There is no substitute for responsible adult supervision. In the time it takes you

to run inside to answer a phone or take something out of the oven, a child

could drown. NEVER leave children alone while they’re swimming. Not even for a minute!

2. Pools, spas, and hot tubs are attractive to children, and children must be kept away from them in the absence of responsible adult supervision.

Establish Layers of Protection - Remember, these layers of protection will only delay and may not prevent a toddler from entering the pool area. Supervision is the only way to prevent an accident.

  • A fence, wall, or natural/artificial barrier should completely surround your pool, spa, or hot tub. Check with your state or local government to learn their specific legal requirements concerning fencing around pools, spas, and hot tubs. You cannot be too cautious.

  • All gates or doors leading from the house to the pool area should have a self-closing and self-latching mechanism that protects against unauthorized entry and use. The inside latch should be 54" (1.37 m) high, above the reach of toddlers or young children.

  • Also, an alarm system for your pool, spa, or hot tub can warn you, if someone has penetrated the barrier.

  • If your pool, spa, or hot tub is indoors, lock the door to the room or have a cover that locks, to keep out children.

4. Do not allow the use of a pool or spa, or operate it, if a suction outlet fitting is missing, broken, or loose. You may get entrapped.

5. Never play in or swim near suction fittings or drains. Your body or hair may be trapped, causing permanent injury or drowning.

6. Keep toys, particularly tricycles or wheel toys, away from the pool, spa, or hot tub. A child playing with these could accidentally fall into the water.

7. Remove vegetation and other obstacles to create a clear view of the pool, spa, or hot tub from

the house.

8. If you use a pool, spa, or hot tub cover, carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for safe installation, use, and maintenance. Always completely remove the cover before using your pool, spa, or hot tub to avoid the possibility of anyone—especially a small child—being trapped and drowning under the cover.

9. Drain any standing water from the surface of your pool, spa, or hot tub cover. An infant or small child can drown in even the smallest amount of water.

10. If you use any of the lightweight, floating pool, spa, or hot tub covers, be especially alert for the potential for drowning accidents. These covers are not designed for safety and no one should ever crawl or walk on them.

It is your responsibility to enforce the rules of safety.

For more free consumer safety information, visit:

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