Pool Supervision - Water Safety for Older Children, Tweens and Teens
Maybe your older child has asked you this question, "how old do you have to be to swim alone?”, or you’ve wondered about the answer yourself.
It’s a trick question - even adults should never swim alone. Anyone, from a new swimmer who has barely learned correct breathing techniques in the water, to an elite athlete, might find themselves in trouble in the water. Sudden medical emergencies, as well as a simple slip and fall on the steps, can spell disaster for a swimmer who is alone.
Your older child has probably developed confidence in himself and is gaining increasing independence. Remind him or her that consistent safety rules apply, no matter what his age. Ask your son or daughter to help you protect younger children by keeping your backyard area safe with child-proofing tools, such as your pool fence.
Become a Water Watcher
Having capable supervision is critical. A capable supervisor, or “Water Watcher” should be:
- Old enough to supervise
- Able to swim, in case a rescue is needed
- Qualified to give CPR
Finally, a capable supervisor is not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When you have a conversation with your teen about alcohol and drug use, remind them that the same risks and consequences apply in the backyard pool as they do when driving a car.
Resources for Water Watchers
Phoenix Children’s provides many resources to help you keep your children safe around the backyard pool.