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The Only Way to Drown-Proof Toddlers in Swimming Pools

With the need to stay home this summer, pool owners may use their pools more this year than ever. While there are many serious health and safety matters facing us at the moment, we thought we’d take this opportunity to remind you of one crucial swimming pool safety issues.


How to Drown-Proof Toddlers in Your Pool

First, before we talk about the only way to drown-proof toddlers (children aged two to five years), it helps to know what doesn’t work for “drown-proofing”.

Swimming Lessons Don’t Drown-Proof Toddlers - The first on our list comes via the Canadian Red Cross and the Canadian Paediatric Society, which released a position statement that reads: “There is no evidence that swimming lessons prevent drowning or near-drowning in this age group. Although it may be possible to teach young infants basic motor skills for water, infants cannot be expected to learn the elements of water safety or to react appropriately in emergencies. No young child, particularly those who are preschool-aged, can ever be considered ‘water safe’.”

In addition, despite internet videos showing toddlers being able to float on their backs, and suggesting it is a means of drown-proofing, the Red Cross states “This learned sequence of floating skills as shown in the video will not protect children from drowning.”

Instead, the Red Cross says there is only one way to drown-proof your children.

There Must be Constant Adult Supervision to Protect Toddlers Around a Pool

In addition to all the swimming pool upgrades you made to protect children, including a fence around the pool that isn’t easy to climb, and a self-closing, self-latching gate, you must constantly supervise toddlers, including being in the pool with them.

Since 1991, two-thirds of all infant and toddler drownings in Canada occurred when there was no adult supervision.

The Red Cross offers other ways for you to reduce the risk of anyone getting hurt in or around your pool this year.

  • Keep the pool and deck clear of toys or anything else that might be inviting to toddlers

  • Make it a rule that you enter the pool first, before your children

  • Don’t break your promises to go swimming. If they don’t get the pool time they expected, it can make kids feel the need to play in the pool on their own,


Children’s safety around a swimming pool should be a prime consideration for anyone thinking about getting a new pool installed. To learn more about what else to keep in mind, check out our post “What to Consider When Thinking of Installing a New Pool”.