Connect with us

POSNA Homepage


Swimming Safety


In warm weather, nothing is more refreshing than a swim.  It is also a great form of entertainment and exercise for kids. However, there must be appropriate adult supervision.

Common Injuries

Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in children ages 5-18.  Diving injuries can cause scrapes, cuts, bruises and broken bones.  In severe cases, diving can cause spinal cord damage, paralysis and death.  Over 1700 spinal cord injuries from diving accidents are reported each year.  Paralysis from diving most often results in paralysis in both arms and legs. Sunburn also can happen if your child is not wearing sunscreen.

Age Recommendations

Young or new swimmers should always wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved safety vest when they are around water.

What can you do to make swimming safer?


  • Wear sun protection particularly between 10 am and 2 pm
  • Drink lots of fluids!  It is easy to get dehydrated. You may not feel thirsty while you are in the water!
  • Do not leave children near the water without an adult watching
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear US Coast Guard approved life vests
  • Inexperienced swimmers should limit their depth to where they can “touch”
  • Adults should not drink alcohol when supervising swimming children


  • Swim where there is a trained life guard on duty
  • Swim with a buddy- do not let anyone swim alone
  • Do not dive in shallow water – the safest way to enter the water is feet first
  • Secure pools with appropriate barriers


  • Swim in marked areas that have lifeguard supervision
  • Obey posted markings that define the swim area
  • Do not dive into shallow water or where underwater obstacles are unknown. The safest way to enter the water is always feet first.
  • Obey posted warnings about rip tides or strong currents
  • If caught in a current, don’t panic! Swim parallel to shore until free of the current
  • Do not swim in bad weather, particularly lightning

More Information


Q:  If my child wears a safety vest – is he safe in the pool?

Pool and swim related injuries include drowning, and US Coast Guard approved life vest certainly can decrease that risk. However, there are a number of other ways your child could get hurt around the pool.
  • Improper vest wear, improper use or improper fit may make the vest ineffective as a floatation device
  • Vest straps can get caught and may be a strangulation danger or a tripping hazard
  • Supervision is always recommended – young and inexperienced swimmers may be unable to right themselves if they are face down in the water even if using a life vest
  • Tripping on a wet pool deck or diving head first into a pool cause many pool-related injuries as well

Q:  How can I make swimming as safe as possible for my children?

Children of all ages can benefit from swimming lessons where they will become familiar with the rules of the water and techniques to keep themselves safe
  • Small children need one on one supervision with a life vest on when they are near or in the water
  • Children should not run near the pool
  • Private pools should have a barrier surrounding the pool
  • The safest way to enter a pool is by the stairs or feet first
  • Inexperienced swimmers should always swim where they can “touch”
  • Do not dive in the shallow end of the pool or anywhere that the underwater obstacles or depth is unknown
  • Swim with a buddy
  • At the beach, swim only where there is a lifeguard and only in posted areas
  • Avoid known rip tides that carry you out to the ocean. If you are caught in an undercurrent, swim parallel to shore until out of the current
  • If you cannot see your child, look in the water first. Even a few seconds may be critical time in successful resuscitation
  • Consider taking a CPR class
  • Do not swim in inclement weather