Jun 12, 2018, 2:01:53 PM CDT Feb 23, 2023, 4:29:14 PM CST

How to have a safe kid pool party

Pool parties are supposed to be fun, but without proper safety precautions, they can pose risks to children


Pool parties are a great way for kids to cool off, celebrate and get some extra energy out during the warmer months. However, being in the water comes with some risks. Drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the U.S. – and data from Children's Health℠ shows that 38.8% of children who came to the ER for a drowning event were swimming in a new environment, such as at a pool party.

"Children often drown outside their own home, in a pool that is new to them," explains Marisa Abbe, Ph.D., CPSTI, Manager of Injury Prevention at Children's Health℠. "At an event like a family gathering or pool party, it could be easy to assume that someone else is watching the pool, or it could be possible that the pool doesn't have proper safety equipment."

Taking a few, simple precautions can help ensure that pool parties are safe – and fun – for everyone involved.

Pool party safety tips for hosting a kid pool party

  • Never leave a child alone in or around open water. Providing active supervision is the most effective way parents and caregivers can prevent drowning.
  • Designate a Water Watcher. This is someone who is solely focused on actively supervising everyone in the water for 15-20 minutes at a time and does not engage in distractions during their designated time. To request a free Water Watcher tag, email KBYG@childrens.com.
  • Know the swimming ability of each child present. Speak with each parent or guardian ahead of time to understand if the kids coming to your party can swim.
  • Establish pool party rules and regulations for young children and non-swimmers. For instance, partygoers must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket If children remove their life jackets for any reason, make sure they put them back on before getting in the water.
  • If you are able, hire a lifeguard.
  • Have the right safety equipment, such as a ring buoy and a cell phone nearby.
  • Learn CPR. The American Red Cross provides information on signing up for a local CPR class.

If your child attends a pool party:

  • Call the party host ahead of time to make sure there are enough adults to supervise the water at all times. Offer to be present and help watch the children.
  • Bring a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket, especially if your child is a poor swimmer.

Remember, never feel silly or like you are imposing to ask about safety precautions at a pool party your child is attending. A few simple questions can make all the difference in keeping your child safe – as well as all the children at the party.

Learn more

The Children's Health Injury Prevention team is by your side keeping your family safe at the pool. See more pool safety tips, or call 214-456-1870 to learn more.

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