This post was guest written by Nikki Miller, owner of Academy Swim Club in Los Angeles

Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children ages 1 to 4 years old in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health…and it is completely preventable. Many drownings occur when both parents are home or during gatherings, like family parties. To prevent these tragic deaths, it's critical to be educated about water safety and life-saving techniques.

Water Safety for All Ages

Water safety isn’t just for homeowners with a pool in their backyard. It’s likely that at some point you and your family will be invited to a backyard pool party or an event that involves water! That’s where following these simple pool safety rules comes in handy.

Water Safety Rules for Children

  • Supervise children at all times when theyre around the water. NEVER leave children unattended in the pool for even just a few minutes…never! Designate a specific person to be the pool supervisor. Don't assume someone is watching. 

  • Enroll your child in swim lessons. As a layer of protection against drowning, the American Academy of Pediatrics notes that swim lessons can begin as early as age 1. They go on to strongly recommend all children ages 4 and older enroll. While there’s no evidence that swim lessons for babies under 12 months lowers their drowning risk, parent-child “swim” classes are a great way to help your baby get used to being in the water and to introduce water safety habits.

  • Install and properly maintain a multiple-barrier system if you have a pool at your home. Barriers include fences, gates, pool safety covers, pool and deck alarms, and door/window alarms.

  • Make sure that children cannot climb your fence. Check to make sure there are no holes or spaces where children can slip through. Ensure that gates open away from the pool, self-close and positively self-latch from any open position. Gates should always be locked when the pool is not in use.

  • Don't rely on flotation devices or toys to keep a child afloat.

  • Locate or own rescue equipment in the pool area—have it available for immediate use. 

  • Keep a phone by the pool. This way you can use it in case of an emergency.

  • Know when to stay out of the water. The pool should not be used if water clarity is poor, electrical storms are in the area, main drain grates are broken or missing, or the pool cover has not been completely removed from the surface of the pool.

  • Keep toys, tricycles and other items attractive to children away from the pool when it's not in use.

  • Enroll in first aid and CPR course. Learn what to do in case of an emergency.

About Nikki Miller: Nikki is a licensed Marriage, Family and Child Therapist and owner of Academy Swim Club in Los Angeles. She has been teaching water safety and swim lessons for over 40 years and is a member of the US Swim School Association. Nikki is a nationally recognized speaker within the global swim community. Learn more about her mission.


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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.