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You need three layers of protection to keep kids safe around pools

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Girl in swimming pool wearing goggles

The majority of child drownings are in swimming pools. There are three layers of protection that parents and caregivers should use: supervision, barriers and emergency preparedness.

Supervision: When a child is around water, there must be an adult nearby who is paying attention. When a young child is in a pool, an adult should be within arm’s reach. This goes for public pools as well as private pools. Don’t assume someone else is watching your child at a public pool.

If it is a social situation with many adults and children, have a designated person watching the children. We call this person the "Water Watcher."

Teach your children never to go near or in water without an adult present.

Barriers: A child should never be able to get in a pool area alone. Florida law requires pools built after 2000 to have one of the following features:

  • a pool fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate
  • alarms on all doors and windows leading to the pool
  • all doors to have a self-closing, self-latching device no lower than 54 inches above the floor. The Florida Department of Health recommends using a combination of such barriers.

A pool cover also could act as a barrier, but it should be fitted for the pool and not just a canvas cover.

In addition, make sure home pools have a proper drain cover to prevent long hair, loose clothing or body parts from getting trapped. It is especially important to check any drain covers made before 2008 to ensure they comply with federal safety laws.

Emergency Preparedness: It’s important to know CPR. CPR classes are offered through the American Red Cross.


Drowning Prevention Coalition of Palm Beach County
Safe Kids Worldwide

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