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Toddler Safety Near Swimming Pools and Ponds


a life preserver or flotation device in a pool


Swimming pools and garden ponds are like magnets to toddlers.

 So you need to practice good safety habits any time you're close to water.  Here are some tips:

  • Never allow your child out of arm’s reach around a pool or pond, even with a lifejacket.
  • Empty your toddler’s wading pool when it’s not in use and turn it upside down so rainwater can’t collect in it.
  • Remember flotation devices, such as water wings or air mattresses, won’t keep your toddler safe.
  • Put a lifejacket on your toddler when around water or boats. Use only a government approved lifejacket that’s the proper size. Set a good example by always wearing a life jacket when you're in a boat, even if it's docked.
  • Cover and lock your hot tub when it’s not in use.
  • If you have a hot tub, cover and lock it when it's not in use.
  • Don't let your toddler use a hot tub.
  • Young children can very easily become overheated.
  • If you have a swimming pool, make sure it's surroundedby a fence at least 120 cm (4 ft.) high on all four sides with a self latching, spring locked gate your toddler can't open.
  • A pool alarm is not enough to keep your toddler safe. By the time you hear the alarm, it could be too late. Your toddler must be supervised at all times when near water.
  • Teach your toddler about safe play around the pool or pond (no running, pushing, diving, or unsupervised swimming).
  • Remove all children’s riding toys from around the pool or pond.
  • Always clear away chairs, toys, tables, or other things your toddler could use to climb into a fenced pool or pond area or an above ground pool.
  • Empty your pool at the end of the season, and cover it securely with an approved tarp. Keep pool or pond covers drained.
  • Make sure all pool  or hot tub chemicals are safely stored and locked away. 

Swimming Lessons

Swimming lessons may help your toddler develop confidence, be physically active, and learn to enjoy the water, but don’t assume that swimming lessons will make your toddler safe. There is no evidence to support this. You still need to supervise your toddler in the water and stay within arm’s reach at all times.

Resources & Links:

HealthLink BC: Child Safety: Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs
HealthLink BC: Your Toddler: Safe Ways to Explore
Health Canada: Is Your Child Safe?

Last Updated: August 12, 2013