What To Do If You Find a Child in a Pool

  1. Yell for Help and get the child out of the pool and onto the pool deck.

  2. If someone is with you, have them call 111.  Determine if the child is breathing: tilt the head back; if you don't hear or feel breathing or see the chest rising, begin CPR immediately.  Continue CPR until emergency help arrives.

  3. If you are alone and the child is not breathing, start CPR immediately.  After one minute, call 111.  Return to the child and continue CPR until help arrives.

How to Make Your Pool Safe for Children 

  • Never leave a child unsupervised near a pool.  Water with its rippling, shimmering appeal is a magnet for children.  Children under the age of five have no fear of water and no concept of death.  They associate water with play not with danger. Adults must establish and communicate responsibility for child safety.

  • Instruct babysitters about potential hazards to young children in and around swimming pools and the need for constant supervision.  At social gatherings assign an adult "water watcher" to supervise the pool/spa area or any other body of water.

  • Pool-Safety-Gate.jpgCompletely fence the pool.  Install self-closing and self-latching gates.  Position latches out of reach of young children.  Keep all doors and windows leading to the pool area secure to prevent small children from getting to the pool.  Effective barriers and locks are necessary preventive measures, but there is no substitute for supervision.

  • Look in the pool area first if a child is missing.

  • Do not consider young children "drown proof" because they have had swimming lessons; young children should always be watched carefully while swimming.

  • Do not use floatation devices or swimming lessons as a substitute for child supervision.  Twenty-five percent of all drowning victims have had swimming lessons.

  • Never use a pool with its pool cover partially in place, since children may become entrapped under it.  Remove the cover completely.

  • Place tables and chairs well away from the pool fence to prevent children from climbing into the pool area.

  • Keep toys away from the pool area because a young child playing with the toys could accidentally fall in the water.

  • Remove steps to above-ground pools when not in use.

  • Have a telephone at poolside to avoid having to leave children unattended in or near the pool to answer a telephone elsewhere.  Keep emergency numbers with the poolside telephone.

  • Learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and rescue techniques.

  • Keep rescue equipment by the pool such as a lifesaving ring, shepherd's hook, and a CPR sign.

Pool Safety Checklist

Is the fence at least 1.2m high?


Are the gaps in the fencing no greater than 100mm?


Do gates open outwards?


Do gates shut automatically?


Is the area adjacent to the fence free of objects such as chairs, tables, tree branches that may aid children in climbing over the fence.


Are gate latches self-locking?


Are there top bolts on ranch sliders that prevent access to the pool?


Are steps for above-ground pools removed when the pool is not in use?


Does the pool surround have a non-slip surface?


Is there a first aid kit available?


Are pool chemicals stored safely?


Do you have signage for emergencies?


Diving Safety

Diving injuries can result in quadriplegia (paralysis below the neck) to divers who hit the bottom or side of a swimming pool.  Divers should observe the following precautions:

  • Never dive into above-ground pools.  They are too shallow.

  • Don't dive from the side of an in-ground pool.  Enter the water feet first.

  • Dive only from the end of the diving board and not from the sides.

  • Dive with your hands in front of you and always steer up immediately upon entering the water to avoid hitting the bottom or sides of the pool.

  • Don't dive if you have been using alcohol as your reaction time may be too slow.
  • Improper use of pool slides presents the same danger as improper diving techniques.  Never slide down head first - slide down feet first only.

Pool Fencing

Fencing that complies with the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 is a critically important part of having a safe home environment for children.  You can cut the risks even further by:

  • Maintaining the fence and gate in good condition.

  • Always supervising children in or near a pool.

  • Always making sure the gate to the pool is safely shut.

  • Setting rules of behaviour around the pool.

  • Covering the area around the pool with a non-slip surface.

  • Clearing away toys and flotation aids when they are not being used.

  • Child-Climbing-Fence.jpgMaking sure children and adults alike understand that they must NEVER prop open the pool gate.

  • Making sure there are no objects near the pool fence which a child could use to climb up or stand on to get over the fence.

  • Learning first aid and resuscitation.

    heck with your Local Authority to ensure that you comply with Local Bylaws

Chemical Storage

  • Minimise the different types of chemicals you store together.

  • Don't buy more than you will consume in a season.  Some of the more hazardous pool chemicals don't keep well.

  • Keep wet hands and dirty scoops out of your chemicals.  Contamination is often a cause of problems.

  • Don't store pool chemicals where other materials can fall into them.

  • NEVER mix swimming pool chemicals of any type!  When adding chemicals to your pool allow one to disappear before adding another.

  • All forms of acids react dangerously with all forms of chlorine or bromine.

  • NEVER mix Chlorine compounds that look or smell alike, as they may not be the same: you have to know the actual chemical.

  • Allowing even small amounts of different chlorine sanitisers to touch each other can be REALLY dangerous.  In particular, trichlor and calcium hypochlorite can react dangerously on contact with each other.  Once they're dissolved in the pool, though, they get along just fine.

  • Use gloves and glasses.

  • Make sure chemicals are locked away from small children.

  • Always label containers

Drowning Fact Sheet

Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths to children ages 14 and under.  A temporary lapse in supervision is a common factor in most drownings.  Child drownings can happen in a matter of seconds; in the time it takes to answer the phone.  There is often no splashing to warn of trouble.  Children can drown in small quantities of water and are at risk in their own homes from wading pools, bathtubs, buckets, diaper pails, and toilets as well as swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs.

New Zealand has one of the highest drowning tolls amongst OECD countries with around 130 drownings occurring every year.  Since the introduction of the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 the number of children who drown in home pools has declined by 60%.  Prior to the Act coming into force, the average drownings of children for the period 1980-1986 was 10 per year.  The average child drownings in home pools over the past five years has been reduced to 4 per annum.

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