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Pool Safety

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
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Pools are awesome! What could be better than a dip in the pool and fun in the sun? But even kids who know how to swim can have trouble in the water, so let's find out how to stay safe in the pool.

Staying Safe in the Pool

Have you seen those big numbers painted on the side of the pool? Those are called depth markers — they tell you how deep the water is at that point. It's important to remember that a pool's sides and bottom are usually made of concrete, a rock-hard material.

So always look before you jump into a pool. Make sure you only dive off the diving board. Never dive off the side of the pool unless an adult says that the water is deep enough. The water may be shallower than you think. If you hit the bottom you could hurt your head or neck, or even get knocked out.

Test the pool's water temperature before you plunge in.. You might open your mouth to yell and accidentally breathe in some water. Cold water also can slow your muscles, making it hard to swim.

Other rules to follow:

  • Always have an adult watch you when you are in the pool — even in your own backyard. Never go in the pool if there is no adult around.
  • Always call an adult or lifeguard if there is an emergency.
  • Gates are around pools for a reason — to keep kids away from the water when there isn't a lifeguard or adult around to watch them. Never go through any pool gates when they are closed. Stay safe and stay out!
  • Always obey pool rules.
  • Swim with a buddy.
  • Walk slowly in the pool area. Don't run.
  • Swim at a depth that is safe for you. If you're just learning to swim, stay in the shallow end.
  • Don't push or jump on others. You could accidentally hurt someone or yourself.
  • If you're learning to swim, ask your mom or dad to make sure your flotation devices are Coast Guard-approved.
  • Toys to help you float come in many shapes and sizes (an inner tube, air mattress, or beach ball, for example). Although they're fun and can help you while you learn to swim, what they can't do is save a life. They're toys that can lose air or float away.
  • Do not use mermaid tails or fins in the pool. These kinds of toys can make it hard to swim and can lead to drowning.
  • Don't chew gum or eat while you swim — you could choke.
Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: August 2021