Ask an Expert: How to Keep Kids Safe Around Backyard Pools During the Pandemic

Question: Our neighborhood pool is closed because of the pandemic. I’d like to let my neighbors and their children use my backyard pool, but are there steps I should be taking to prepare for more kids around the pool than usual?

Answer: Taking simple precautions in and around pools is important every time you and your family go swimming, but especially when there are more children around than you are used to keeping an eye on. Before your neighbors come over, talk to them to create a plan to ensure that visiting children are being accompanied by an adult and are not using your pool when you are not home. This way, you always know there is a responsible adult present to supervise. Here are three more tips to help keep your kids and your visitors safe in and around pools.

  • Watch kids when they are in or near water, without being distracted. While balancing parenting and working remotely it may be tempting to bring work outside while your kids swim, but drowning is silent and can occur in a few minutes. It is important to give children your full attention, so put away phones, laptops, books and magazines.
  • Choose a Water Watcher. When there are several adults present, sometimes we assume someone else is watching the children. Choose an adult to be responsible for watching children in or near the water for a certain period of time, such as 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, select another adult to be the Water Watcher and take turns. Use this card as a reminder to watch kids without being distracted.
  • Install a fence around your backyard pool. These fences provide an extra layer of protection to limit access to a pool, especially when a responsible adult is not around. Make sure your fence surrounds all sides of the pool and is at least 4-feet tall with self-closing and self-latching gates.

For more information, check out our pool safety checklist or visit www.safekids.org.

See our other blogs on how to help keep kids safe during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. If you have a question for one of our experts, please email Gary Karton at gkarton@safekids.org and we’ll include it in a Q&A to help you and other caregivers. 

Have fun and stay safe.