Swimming Pool Safety Tips

The American Red Cross recommends the following safety tips for swimming pools.

  • Learn to swim. The best thing anyone can do to stay safe in and around the water is to learn to swim. The NYC Parks Department has free swimming lessons for kids and adults.
  • Never leave a child unobserved around water. Your eyes must be on the child at all times. Adult supervision is recommended.
  • Install a phone by the pool or keep a cordless phone nearby so that you can call 911 in an emergency.
  • Learn Red Cross CPR and insist that babysitters, grandparents, and others who care for your child know CPR. The NYC Fire Dept. offers free CPR classes.
  • Post CPR instructions and 911 or your local emergency number in the pool area.
  • Enclose the pool completely with a self-locking, self-closing fence with vertical bars. Openings in the fence should be no more than four inches wide. The house should not be included as a part of the barrier.
    • The gate should be constructed so that it is self-latching and self-closing.
    • Never leave furniture near the fence that would enable a child to climb over the fence.
  • Always keep basic lifesaving equipment by the pool and know how to use it. Pole, rope, and personal flotation devices (PFDs) are recommended.
  • Keep toys away from the pool when it is not in use. Toys can attract young children into the pool.
  • Pool covers should always be completely removed prior to pool use.
  • If a child is missing, check the pool first. Go to the edge of the pool and scan the entire pool, bottom, and surface, as well as the surrounding pool area.

Dangerous Underwater Breath-Holding Behaviors (DUBBs)

The Department requires the posting of a pictogram that informs swimmers of the dangers of underwater breath-holding behaviors—taking deep breaths, one after the other, before swimming underwater—and of breath-holding contests, to warn and prevent swimmers from engaging in these in these deadly swimming activities.

The sign must be constructed of a durable, resilient, water resistant material (such as plastic or metal) and measure at least 17” in width and 22” in height. When reproduced from the image downloaded from the Department’s website it must incorporate the language, color, size of type, imagery and other specifications of the Department’s pictorial design.

More Resources

  • Staying Safe in Pools & Spas: Important safety tips for pool owners from The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), including the prevention of accidents when your pool is empty or not in use.

Some of the content on this page is excerpted from the American Red Cross Water Safety Tips.