Keeping Toddlers Safe in the Swimming Pool

It may feel like it’s never going to happen, but summer really is just around the corner. There will soon be camp, BBQs, staying up too late, flip-flops, and water. Lovely, splashy, cooling water: bright blue backyard swimming pools, whale-shaped kiddie pools, olympic sized public pools, and endless sandy beaches with crashing waves. They all feel so wonderful on a hot day, but your child is not yet able to swim, they are just as dangerous.

On average in the US there are 10 drowning deaths per day, and 2 of those are children under the age of 14. For children ages 1 – 4, drowning is the number one cause of accidental death. In the Center for Disease Control website, “Drowning happens quickly and quietly” is repeated twice. Drowning can happen in as little as 30 seconds.


So now that I’ve scared you into putting your toddler in a life jacket as daily summer wear, take this advice for keeping toddlers safe in the swimming pool and a deep breath. Prevention is key!

  • Swimming lessons! Learning to swim is the number one way to prevent drowning. They may be expensive or inconvenient, but lessons are the way to go.
  • Eagle eyes. Always, ALWAYS watch your kids near water. Don’t rely on lifeguards. Yes, in the best case scenario they are there to save you, but they are there to save everyone else, and that can be a lot of people.
  • Gates. Most toddler drownings happen in backyard swimming pools. Install a fence all the way around the pool. It may not look pretty, but your toddlers are prettier!
  • Distraction-free kid watching. It’s impossible to mow the lawn and really keep an eye on your kids in the pool. Drinking booze and life-guarding for your children are not a good mix. Books and magazines should be kept for pool-free leisure time.
  • Learn CPR. The sooner CPR is used the better the outcome for your little one will be.
  • Swimming lessons! I know I already said it, but we’re at the bottom of the list, and in case you forgot, lessons really are the best defense.

I love the water. I’m more comfortable on water than I am on land. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know how to swim. But water is nature, like wind, like mountains, like snow. It cares nothing for you and can kill. When our kids are little, we must teach them to swim or be the all knowing, seeing eye. Their lives absolutely depend on it.