an indoor swimming pool with a safety flotation device hanging nearby

Swimming Pool Safety

an indoor swimming pool with a safety flotation device hanging nearby

Home pool safety awareness is more important than ever.

Pool purchases skyrocketed during the pandemic, as families looked to take advantage of their time at home. Factor in a year’s worth of public pool closures and swimming class cancellations, and we’re left with kids and adults alike who are in need of a pool safety refresher. Here’s what you should know about keeping your children safe inside and around your pool.

a fence firmly closed at a hotel pool

Top Pool Safety Tips

  • Water Watchers: Be sure to designate an adult to be a water watcher while your children play in the pool. Water watchers should maintain eye-to-eye contact and be free from distractions (meaning no phones, reading, or partaking in activities that hinder the watcher’s ability to give the swimmer their undivided attention).
  • Barriers: Adding pool fences and additional barriers to the pool are a core part of water safety. Review your state’s pool fence regulations to ensure your public (and private) pools are safe for your children!
  • Pool Drain Safety: To prevent instances of drain entrapment, we recommend that private pool owners follow public pool requirements set forth in the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act, which requires at least two layers of protection.

Pool Drain Safety Layers of Protection

  • Dual drains
  • Safety vacuum release system (SVRS)
  • Suction-limiting vent system
  • Gravity drainage system
  • Automatic pump shut-off system
  • Drain disablement
  • Emergency pump shutoff system
  • Anti-entrapment drain covers
  • 4-sided fence with locking gate
  • Emergency telephone and life preserver in the pool area
  • Pool alarms on gates and doors leading to the pool area
  • See our Pool Drain Safety page for more information.
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Pool Safety Statistics and Additional Advice

Download Our Swim APP, created in partnership with the Red Cross.

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Learn how to perform CPR to keep your kids safe in your private pool

Starting CPR as soon as a person is rescued from the water can save their life. CPR is the most effective strategy to improve outcomes of drowning, and is an especially impactful skill for ensuring summer swimming safety.

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23% of child drownings happen during a family gathering near a pool. It’s especially dangerous for toddlers, as drowning is the leading cause of death for children up to 4 years old

Review our Toddler Water Safety advice for more information.

a mother holding her toddler by the pool
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A four-sided isolation fence that separates the pool area from the house and yard reduces a child’s risk of drowning by 83%

This is compared to three-sided property-line fencing (which encloses the entire yard, but does not separate the pool from the house). For more details, see our guide on outdoor safety equipment for your pool.

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Know what to do during an emergency flood

If you live in an area with frequent hurricanes, know that you should never empty your pool completely. For more tips, see our emergency flood advice.

Pool Safety 101

The ZAC Foundation was established to prepare children and families for a lifetime of water safety. The organization works to strengthen pool safety legislation and fund advocacy, education, and effective programming surrounding water safety. Zachary’s memory is the inspiration for the Foundation’s mission and activities.


people drown each year

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