Five Pool Safety Tips for Toddlers


You’d be hard-pressed to find a better way to spend the day than relaxing poolside.


But when you have a toddler, poolside days can often be anything but stress-free.


Because drowning is the leading cause of death for children (especially among kids ages four and under), we’re sharing five crucial pool safety tips for parents to keep in mind before your next water-filled day.


Pool Safety Tips #1:  Never Leave Your Child Unattended

While this piece of advice may seem obvious, it’s one of the most important pool safety tips for parents. Regardless of whether or not your child is a confident swimmer, they should never be left alone when they’re near or in a pool. Drowning can happen quickly and it takes less than four minutes of submersion to cause irreversible brain damage or even death.


If it’s just you and your little one by the pool and you need to step away, ask them to come with you or sit with someone else until you can return. If you have a pool in your backyard, install a lock on the back door to ensure they can’t get out on their own. We’d also recommend investing in a pool cover to keep them from going in without your knowledge (in addition to their safety benefits, covers have also been shown to reduce energy and cleaning costs).


Pool Safety Tips #2: Keep An Eye Out For Drains

Pool and hot tub drains pose a potential risk for toddlers, so warn your child not to get too close to them while swimming. If you’re going to be at a public pool, we recommend looking for their locations as soon as you arrive so you know where to watch while your child is swimming. Because pool and hot tub drains often use strong suction, it’s easy for toddlers to get body parts and/or hair stuck in them.


If you have an at-home pool, we recommend looking into pumps equipped with safety vacuum release systems (SVRS). If that’s not possible, pool manufacturers also make specifically designed drain covers that can limit the risk to your child.


Pool Safety Tips #3: Don’t Rely On Water Wings Alone

If you’re swimming with your little one (and within arm’s reach), water wings can be a great swim aid. However, if you’re not in the pool with your child, or you’re in a different section of the pool, they might not be the best option. That’s because water wings (like any inflatable swim aid) can easily pop, deflate or slide off — scaring your child and potentially putting them in danger. Thankfully, life vests are a reliable and comfortable alternative. Because swim vests vary in design and size, be sure to test a few to see what’s best for your child.


Pool Safety Tips #4: Invest In Swim Lessons

Regardless of whether pool visits are a weekly activity or a once-a-year adventure, swim lessons are an important investment in your child’s safety. While knowing how to swim can’t completely eliminate the risk of drowning, it can significantly lower it. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says swimming lessons can be beneficial to children as young as one. If you feel your child is ready to learn to swim, research age-appropriate swimming classes in your area and sign them up. Learning how to swim can also help your child build confidence, improve their gross motor skills and improve their physical fitness.


Pool Safety Tips #5: Prepare For The Worst

Should a drowning emergency arise, being able to act quickly can make a big difference. If you haven’t already, consider taking a basic CPR course so you have the skills needed to act in an emergency situation. If possible, get with some of your child’s friends’ parents and take the course together. In addition to learning CPR, it might also be beneficial to have a sign by your pool that outlines the basic CPR steps and has your address written out in an easy-to-read font. That way, should an emergency arise while someone other than you is supervising, the person in charge will have everything they need to act.


These simple but effective pool safety tips for parents are a great way to ensure your child has a fun but safe time at the pool! Want to learn more about how to keep your toddler safe, healthy, and thriving? We have a number of online courses — including ones on outdoor safety and car safety — that can help. To gain access to all 100+ of our courses, sign-up for a free one-week trial at today!