Residential Pool Safety

The American Academy of Family Physicians supports residential pool safety measures including the following:

  1. Permanent perimeter protection of pool by an approved safeguard to limit or delay access of children to the pool. Fencing or barriers that completely enclose pools without direct access to the house are preferred.
  2. Training of household adults, older children and other adult supervisors in CPR.
  3. Telephone access poolside including the use of cell phones with 911.
  4. Constant adult supervision of young children at all times. Supervise children at "arm's length" for those less than 4 years of age at all times. Adults should avoid distractive activities while in or around the pool with young children, i.e. barbecuing, children’s walkers, toys, etc.
  5. Teaching children to swim when ready, usually at age 5. (Children younger than 4 years require longer instructional periods to learn skills and are limited by their neuromuscular capacity. Therefore, having children begin swimming lessons at an earlier age does not translate to a more rapid mastery of aquatic skills or a higher level of swimming proficiency compared with those taking lessons at a later age.) Reliance on a child's water safety/swimming classes or flotation device provides a false sense of security and is not a substitute for adult supervision. Swimming instruction does not guarantee protection against drowning in young children.
  6. Public and private pools and hot tubs should have drains that prevent entrapment and/or release suction if entrapment occurs.

(1989) (2013 COD)