Swimming Pool Safety
The best way to be safe in and around the water is to learn to swim. The City offers free swimming lessons for children and adults.
Swimming Safety Tips
- Never leave a child unobserved around water. An adult must be watching the child at all times.
- Have your phone by the pool so that you can call 911 in an emergency.
- Learn CPR and insist that babysitters, grandparents, and others who care for your child know CPR. Enroll in a free CPR class..
- Post CPR instructions and 911 or your local emergency number in the pool area.
- Enclose the pool completely with a fence containing 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 fence should self-latching and self-closing.
- Never leave furniture near the fence that would enable a child to climb over the fence.
- Keep basic lifesaving equipment (a pole, rope and personal flotation devices) by the pool and know how to use them.
- Remove toys from the pool area when the pool it is not in use. Toys can attract young children into the pool.
- Completely remove the pool cover before using the pool.
- 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.
The Making Waves program provides free water safety and swim instruction to children ages 6 to 18 from low-income neighborhoods. The program aims to lower the disproportionate risk of drowning among Black and Latinx children while providing opportunities for physical activity.
The program provides classes at public pools during the summer. To participate, your child must be part of participating summer camps, including Beacon, Cornerstone, Compass and Summer Rising.
Dangerous Underwater Breath-Holding Behaviors
Underwater breath-holding behaviors — taking deep breaths, one after the other, before swimming underwater — and breath-holding contests are dangerous. The Health Department requires pools to post a sign that informs swimmers of these dangers.
The sign must be constructed of a durable, resilient, water resistant material (such as plastic or metal) and measure at least 17 inches in width and 22 inches 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 design.