Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

In addition to pool fences and alarms, you are the best protection for your child

Pool safety advice


• All gates should be self-closing and self-latching. They should never be propped open. Latches should be out of reach of children. Consider a lock and an alarm.

• A weather-resistant alarm on the gate should sound both at the pool and in the home. (85 decibels for a distance of 10 feet)

Doors & windows

• All doors providing direct access from the home to the pool should be equipped with a self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism placed no lower than 54 inches above the floor.

• Doors or windows that open to the pool area should have an alarm to sound when they are opened.


Surface alarms: Floating alarms that detect motion on the water's surface. It can sound both at the pool and in the home when the surface of water is breached. While very low cost, typically under $200, most models have a high false-alarm rate due to wind and rain and should never be relied on alone.

Subsurface alarm: Newer technology is designed to sound an alarm immediately when a child enters the pool. Look for a pool alarm that is professionally installed, detects immediately, doesn't create false alarms and can reset after swimming.

Personal alarms: Devices worn on the body that set off an alarm when wet. Not great for everyday use, but can be a good layer of protection to be worn by children who are visiting a home with a pool or spa, or while traveling.

Open water

• Enforce the same safety rules you use at home.

• Know about any hazards such as marine life, parasites, currents, drop-offs, very cold water or submerged objects. Enter all unfamiliar water feet first.

• Make sure your child knows how to escape a rip current: stay calm and don't fight it. A rip current will pull you away from the shore, but it will not pull you under water. To escape, swim parallel to the shore, until you are out of the current. Then swim at an angle away from the current toward the shore.

• When boating, wear a Coast Guard approved lifejacket.

• If the water is shared by boats, be visible. Have your child wear a bright colored swim cap, stay close to shore and watch for boats.

Swim lessons

• Everyone should learn to swim, but never consider a child "drown-proof'' because of lessons.

• In choosing a program, make sure the instructor is trained in swim instruction and child development, and certified in CPR. Observe classes before enrollment and monitor lessons for safety skills, the effectiveness of the instructor, the child's reception to learning and progress.

First aid

• Learn CPR.

• Keep a life-saving ring and shepherd's hook at poolside. CPR instructions should be posted poolside. Know how to use the equipment and perform CPR.


• You are the best defense.

• If infants and toddlers are in or around water, an adult should be in arm's length at all times.

• Designate a "Water Watcher" who keeps his eyes on the pool at all times, without engaging in any distracting activity. Designate a fresh Water Watcher every 15 minutes. Make sure the watcher is a sober adult who knows CPR and has swimming skills.

• Keep a phone near the pool.

• Remove toys when you leave the pool to reduce temptation.

• Never rely on water wings or other air-filled toys as safety devices.

• Be aware if the home you're in has a pool. Know where all the children are at all times. If one is missing, check the pool first.

Source: National Drowning Prevention Alliance

In addition to pool fences and alarms, you are the best protection for your child 06/17/09 [Last modified: Thursday, June 18, 2009 9:53am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. How Jameis Winston's turnovers doomed the Bucs again


    The Bucs' rise or fall is based on the play of quarterback Jameis Winston. His failure to take care of the football was arguably the biggest factor in their 34-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings Sunday.

    Jameis Winston has turned the football over 25 times in 17 road games. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
  2. Wrenching photos show hurricane battered Puerto Rico on brink of crisis


    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — As life in Puerto Rico grinds on nearly a week after Hurricane Maria knocked out all the power, most of the water and left people waiting in excruciating lines for fuel, Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló said the island was on the brink of a "humanitarian crisis" and it was up to Congress to …

    Residents bathe in a natural spring in the hill town of Toa Alta, Puerto Rica, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. As life in Puerto Rico grinds on nearly a week after the Category 4 storm knocked out all the power, most of the water and left people waiting in excruciating lines for fuel, Gov. Ricardo Rossello said Monday that the island was on the brink of a "humanitarian crisis." [Victor J. Blue | New York Times]
  3. New 'Game of Thrones' concert experience coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa


    More music is coming.

    A new, live Game of Thrones concert experience is coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa on Sept. 21, 2018, the venue announced today. That may seem like a long way off, but with no new season on HBO's immediate horizon, that's probably the next taste of Game of Thrones you're going to get for a …

  4. Epilogue: Stu Arnold, founder of Auto Trader magazine

    Human Interest

    From his living room table, Stuart Arnold pasted Polaroid photos and typewritten ads onto pages that became the Auto Trader magazine.

    Stuart Arnold, 82, was the founder of the Auto-Trader magazine, which grew to become one of the largest classified magazines in the country. He died Sept. 11, 2017.
  5. Former Tarpon Springs High principal sues man who called in 2015 death threat


    The former principal of Tarpon Springs High has sued a man who threatened to come to the school and kill him in 2015, saying the man started a chain of events that harmed his life and career.

    Tarpon Springs High School was the scene of a 2015 incident where Edward S. Ecker called the school to threaten then-principal James M. Joyer. Joyer has filed a lawsuit saying Ecker set in motion a chain of events that harmed his life and career. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]