Residential Pool Safety

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

  • Permanent perimeter protection of pool by an approved safeguard to limit or delay access of children to the pool. This should include inflatable and portable pools, as well as hot tubs. Fencing or barriers that completely enclose pools (a four-sided fence) without direct access to the house are preferred. Fencing should be at least four feet high and climb resistant with a self-latching and self-closing gate, and less than four inches from the bottom of the fence and the ground.
  • Training of household adults, older children and other adult supervisors in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • Phone access for emergency medical services and 911 should be available poolside, including the use of cell phones.
  • Safety equipment available poolside should include life buoys, personal flotation devices (PFD) or life jacets, and a reach tool, such as a shepherd's hook.
  • Constant adult supervision of young children at all times. Supervise children at arm's length for those less than four years of age at all times. Adults should avoid distractions while supervising young children in or around the pool.
  • Teaching children to swim when ready, usually by age four. Parental decision to enroll children 1-4 years into swimming classes should be individualized on the basis of physical and cognitive maturity. Swimming instruction does not guarantee protection against drowning in young children.
  • United States Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices should be required for small children and infants near deep water. 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.
  • All pools and hot tubs should have drains that prevent entrapment and/or release suction if entrapment occurs.

(1989) (2019 COD)