young girl swimming in a pool

Whether your kids have joined a summer camp that takes them to the beach or community pool often, or you have a pool in your own backyard, teaching swim safety is of paramount importance.

Close Supervision

No matter how water-savvy your child is, supervision should be the top priority. To that end, the American Red Cross says you should:

  • Only swim in designated areas that are supervised by lifeguards.
  • Swim with a buddy and never alone.
  • Offer close and constant attention to any children you are supervising, even with a lifeguard present.
  • Avoid distractions such as using smart phones. Drowning can be silent and occur in less than five minutes. Give kids your complete attention, and leave the books and magazines for later.
  • Don’t leave young children unattended near water.
  • Do not ask another child to watch your own child.
  • Make sure your kids know to ask permission from an adult before going near water.
  • Designate someone to be a “water watcher” when in group settings.


  • Remain within an arm’s reach of weak or inexperienced swimmers.
  • Make sure kids wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets, but don’t rely solely on them.
  • Don’t rely on inflatable toys, tubes, water wings, or swim rings that are designed for water recreation rather than approved life-saving devices or adult supervision.
  • Secure your backyard pool with appropriate barriers so unsupervised kids do not gain access to the water.
  • Be aware of where your children are at all times. Drowning is the top cause of unintentional injury-related deaths for kids between the ages of one and four. Two-thirds of those accidents occur during times the children were not expected to be in or near water (assumed to be safely inside the home, in their bed sleeping, watching TV, playing with siblings, etc.)
  • Make sure all family members know how to swim and know what to do in the event of a water emergency.
  • Have equipment nearby such as life-saving rings and life jackets, with access to a first aid kit.

Water Survival Skills

Your kids should know the basics of water survival skills. Here are five skills to impart to them.

1. Float or Tread Water

Teach your toddler to float or tread water for one minute or more, which gives them time to call for help or float towards a wall.

2. Swim 25 Yards

Kids don’t have to necessarily be expert swimmers. As long as your child knows how to tread or swim 25 yards, they can get to the closest wall.

3. Climb to Exit

Make sure your child knows how to climb out of the pool without needing access to the ladder. They can do this via the hand-hand/elbow-elbow/leg-belly-leg method to safely exit the pool.

4. Turn in Full Circle to Exit

If your child falls in the pool, teach them to make a full turn in the water and face a wall so they can start to swim towards it. Tip: tell them to bicycle their legs in order to turn around.

5. Rise to the Surface

Toddlers should learn to step or jump into water over their heads and then return to the surface.

5 Tips for Pool Safety

From installing fences to emptying kiddie pools after use, here are some tips for pool safety.

  1. Install fences around your home pool. It should surround all sides and reach at least four feet tall with self-latching and self-closing gates.
  2. Be aware of pool drains. Tell your children not to or swim near suction outlets or pool drains.
  3. Empty kiddie pools right after using. Keep them out of reach and store them upside down.
  4. Make sure your kids know pool swimming is different from swimming in open water. There are unique situations with open water, such as limited depth, visibility, uneven surfaces, undertows, and currents. All of these potential hazards make it a lot more challenging and dangerous to swim in open water than a pool.
  5. Learn water rescue skills: As a parent or other responsible adult, you should learn basic water rescue skills as well as CPR. This will help you be able to calmly react in an emergency without putting your own self at risk of drowning, and to safely make a rescue of a child or anyone else in distress.

Book a Tour of Country Home Learning Center Today

As part of our summer camp offerings, we take weekly field trips that often include swimming. We want your child to be as safe as possible and we offer top-notch supervision. Contact us today to learn more about our summer camp excursions or to book a tour of our facilities.