Pool Safety Guidelines: The Most Complete List
Drowning and pool related injuries are preventable. By putting proven safety behaviors and systems into practice, you and your family will be more secure in and around the pool area.
Following as many water safety recommendations as possible is the best way to assure a safe and fun experience in your residential swimming pool or spa.
Here are 30 Recommended Pool Safety Guidelines to add to your current safety practices:
Stay Close, Remain Alert and Watch When Children Are In and Around the Pool
1. Always watch your children when they are in or near a pool or spa.
2. Teach children basic water safety and review it with them before every pool time.
3. Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
4. Have a portable telephone close by at all times when you or your family are using a pool or spa.
5. If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first.
6. Make a plan. Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors in the case of an emergency.
7. Always be within arm’s length whenever a toddler is in the water, even if they are placed in a flotation device. Inflatable swimming aids may not be as dependable as approved life vests and may give children and adults a false sense of security.
8. Do not use or consume alcohol or any other mind-altering substances while supervising children.
Learn and Practice Water Safety Skills
9. Learn how to swim and teach your children how to swim.
10. Learn how to perform both Infant and Adult CPR, and update those skills regularly.
11. Understand the basics of life-saving so that you can assist in a pool emergency.
12. Familiarize yourself with local ordinance and safety codes.
13. Do not allow running, roughhousing and thrill-seeking stunts anywhere near the pool. This includes pushing anyone into the pool, performing dangerous diving maneuvers, going down a slide head first, etc.
14. Stay out of the pool during rough weather like thunder storms or high winds.
Equip Your Pool or Spa With Appropriate Equipment and Keep Surrounding Areas Free From Hazards
15. Create a Pool Safety Toolkit for Your Home Pool or Spa which includes:
- A first kit
- A pair of scissors to cut hair, clothing or a pool cover
- A charged portable telephone to call 911
- A flotation device
16. Clearly post pool rules and review them with your children before getting in the pool.
17. Install a four-foot or taller climb resistant fence around the pool and spa and use self-closing and self-latching gates; ask your neighbors to do the same at their pools.
18. Keep all chairs, tables, and climbable surfaces at a far enough distance to keep children from using them to climb over your pool fence.
19. Avoid leaving toys near swimming pools, which may attract toddlers to play near it.
20. Install and use a lockable safety cover on your spa.
21. If your house serves as a fourth side of a fence around a pool, install door alarms and always use them. For additional protection, install window guards on windows facing pools or spas.
22. Install pool and gate alarms to alert you when children go near the water.
23. Consider using a surface wave or underwater alarm.
24. Ensure your pool and spa has compliant anti-entrapment drain covers, and consider upgrading to suction valve release systems (SVRS).
25. Maintain pool and spa covers in good working order.
26. Provide non-slippery surfaces for walkways, decks, diving boards, and ladders; reinforce or replace these as they wear out.
27. Place ladders and rails around the pool; these should be child-friendly, sturdy enough for adults, and removable/lockable when denying pool access. Repair any broken or shaky ladders or railings.
28. Mark shallow water (6 feet or less) using safety float lines, large painted numbers, etc. Provide appropriate depth indicators for the entire pool.
29. Identify and cover sharp edges and protruding hard surfaces to prevent injuries. When children are not present, remove or modify them if possible.
30. Avoid possible electrical shock hazards by keeping electrical devices away from the pool, making sure all wiring has been installed and maintained by professionals, and closing down the pool (if outdoors) when lightning storms are nearby. See to it that ground-fault circuit interrupters are installed for pool area installations, if appropriate.
Recommended Community Based Action
1. Install barriers controlling access to water.
2. Provide safe places away from water for pre-school age children, with capable child care.
3. Teach school-age children basic swimming, water safety and safe rescue skills.
4. Train bystanders in safe rescue and resuscitation.
5. Strengthen public awareness of drowning and highlight the vulnerability of children.
Wold Health Organization. “Drowning. Fact sheet no. 347” (November 2014). WHO.int. Accessed online November 19, 2014 from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs347/en/
World Health Organization. “Global Report On Drowning: Preventing A Leading Killer” (2014). WHO.int. Accessed online November 19th, 2014 from http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/publications/drowning_global_report/GRD_Executive_Summary.pdf?ua=1
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. “Safety Barrier Guidelines for Residential Pools: Preventing Child Drownings” (August 2012). CPSC.gov. Accessed online October 24, 2014 from http://www.cpsc.gov//PageFiles/122222/362%20Safety%20Barrier%20Guidelines%20for%20Pools.pdf
Center for Disease Control. “Stay Safe in and Around Swimming Pools” (2014). CDC.gov. Accessed online November 21, 2014 from http://www.cdc.gov/Features/dsSafeSwimmingPool/
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. “Staying Safe in Residential Pools” (November 2014). PoolSafely.gov. Accessed online November 21, 2014 from http://www.poolsafely.gov/pool-spa-safety/staying-safe-pools-spas/residential-swimming-pools/