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Water Safety Tips from the International Swimming Hall of Fame


  • Teach children water safety and swimming skills as early as possible.

  • Always brief babysitters on water safety, emphasizing the need for constant supervision.

  • Appoint a “designated watcher” to monitor children during social gatherings at or near pools.

  • Equip doors and windows that exit to a pool area with alarms.

  • Install a poolside phone, preferably a cordless model, with emergency numbers programmed into speed-dial.

  • Post CPR instructions and learn the procedures.

  • Keep rescue equipment poolside. Don’t wait for the paramedics to arrive because you will lose valuable life-saving seconds. Four to six minutes without oxygen can cause permanent brain damage or death.

  • Keep a first aid kit at poolside.

  • Install four-sided isolation fencing, at least five feet high, equipped with self-closing and self-latching gates, that completely surrounds the pool and prevents direct access from the house and yard.

  • Maintain constant visual contact with children in a pool or pool area. If a child is missing, check the pool first; seconds count in preventing death or disability.

  • Don’t use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision. Never allow a young child in a pool without an adult.

  • Don’t leave objects such as toys that might attract a child in the pool and pool area.

  • Never prop the gate to a pool area open.

  • Don’t rely on swimming lessons, life preservers, or other equipment to make a child “water safe.”

  • Never assume someone else is watching a child in a pool area.

  • Don’t leave chairs or other items of furniture where a child could use them to climb into a fenced pool area.

  • Don’t think you’ll hear a child who’s in trouble in the water; child drowning is a silent death, with no splashing to alert anyone that the child is in trouble

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