Children Are Not Waterproof

Children Are Not Waterproof

Drowning is one of the major causes of accidental death for American infants and children under the age of five. This article contains tips on how to help prevent these accidents.

Drowning Prevention Tips

  • There is no substitute for adequate supervision.
  • Pools and spas are attractive to children, and children must be kept away from them in the absence of adequate supervision. A fence, wall or natural/artificial barrier should completely enclose your pool or spa. All gates or doors leading from the house to the pool area should have a self-closing and self-latching mechanism that protects against unauthorized entry and use. (The inside latch should be above the reach of toddlers or young children.)
  • Check with your state or local government to learn their specific legal requirements concerning fencing around pools and spas. You cannot be too cautious. If your pool, spa or hot tub is indoors, lock the door to the room or have a cover that locks, to keep out children and other unauthorized users.
  • Do not place objects (e.g. chairs or tables) near the pool or spa fence that could allow a youngster to climb over.
  • A clear view of the pool or spa from the house should be essured by removing vegetation and other obstacles.
  • If you use a pool or spa cover, carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for safe installation, use and maintenance. Always completely remove the cover before using your pool or spa, to avoid the possibility of anyone – especially a small child – being trapped and drowning under the cover.
  • Drain any standing water from the surface of your pool or spa cover. An infant or small child can drown in even the smallest amount of water.

If you use any of the lightweight, floating pool or spa covers, be especially alert for the potential for drowning accidents. These covers are not for safety, and no one should ever crawl or walk on them.

Safety Tips

  • Never leave a child alone out of eye contact supervision in or near the pool or spa – not even for a second.
  • Access to the pool or spa should be limited by locked door and gates whenever swimming or soaking cannot be supervised.
  • Keep toys, particularly tricycles or wheel toys, away from the pool or spa. A child playing with these could accidentally fall into the water.
  • Do not allow anyone of any age to swim without a “spotter” nearby. Examples of good safety behavior by adults are important for your children.


The original version of Children Are Not Waterproof was written and published by the Tucson Drowning Prevention Committee. The National Spa and Pool Institute wishes to give special thanks to the Committee for allowing adaptation of its original work.

Tucson Drowning Prevention Committee
Community Health Education Center
Tucson Medical Center
P.O. Box 42195
Tucson, AZ 85733

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