Pool Party Safety

Five girls on floating toys in a swimming pool

Supervising a group of children around water, such as at a pool party, is particularly difficult. Between pool toys and splashing it can be hard to see all areas of the pool. It is also very different to supervising your own children while they are swimming.

If you're hosting a pool party, there are some important things to consider.

  • The children at the party will not be familiar with your pool, so explain the rules and layout of the pool to them.
  • Different children have different swimming abilities, and you may not be aware of the skill level of each child you are supervising.
  • It may be hard to see all areas of the pool, with pool toys and splashing water impeding your vision.
  • It can be easy to become distracted by one child, diverting your attention from the other children in the pool area.

Tips for a safe pool party

1. Establish rules

Establish some rules for the party (e.g. no running, no pushing) and discuss these with the children before they are allowed to enter the water.

2. Explain the pool layout

Tell the children where the deep end is, where the shallow end is, and the location of any steps or ladders that they can use to climb to safety.

3. Understand abilities

If possible, learn who the swimmers and non-swimmers are within the group. In particular, ensure those with limited ability are identified.

4. Designate a supervisor

Before anyone enters the pool, designate a child supervisor. Designate multiple supervisors if there is a large group present. Have the supervisor(s) wear a brightly coloured hat or similar, that everyone is aware of, so they are easy to spot by children in the pool and by other adults.

5. Supervisor replacement

If the supervisor needs to leave the pool area for any reason, the hat (or similar) must be passed onto another adult who will then assume responsibility for supervising the children.

6. Emergency plan

Have an emergency plan in place in case anyone gets into difficulty (calling 000, starting CPR, supervision of the other children).


Why is it important to supervise young children around the pool?

Young children are naturally curious and attracted to water but can lack an understanding of the concept of danger. Children drown quickly and silently, usually without calling out for help. This makes supervision vital. 

Which age groups are most at risk?

Children under five are considered a priority population when addressing drowning reduction in Australia. However, Royal Life Saving recommends some level of supervision for all children under 15:

  • For children under five: be in the water, within arm's reach and actively supervising
  • For children aged 5 to 10 years: actively supervise from the water’s edge
  • For children aged 11 to 14 years: regularly check up on them

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