Proper Adult Supervision: How to Guard the Pool

Avoiding Wrinkles in a Vinyl Liner Pool
by Rob Cox May 30, 2013

Active Adult Supervision around a Pool

Active Adult Supervision means maintaining constant eye contact with swimmers


We talk a lot about Pool Safety this time of year, as we return to the pools and other water recreation of the season, important reminders are fitting.

May is National Water Safety month, a campaign to raise awareness of the potential dangers involved with pools and other water recreation.

For our final post in May, I give you ~ 'Active Adult Supervision', and what it means to properly supervise your pool and your swimmers this summer.



What is 'Active' Adult Supervision?

At the very least, it means to 'maintain visual contact with swimmers'. I like to think of it as also being engaged with your swimmers. Especially young swimmers, all kids love it when their parents get in the pool and splash around with them. Even as teenagers, my boys love it when I get in the pool and participate.

What is 'Non-Active Adult Supervision'?

Not being focused on the swimmers, with close visual contact. The non-active supervisor may be reading, texting, facebooking, emailing, or doing any number of things on a smart phone or tablet. They could be tanning with their eyes closed, lounging, meditating or sleeping. Otherwise unengaged with the swimmers, and not fully aware.

What the Adult Supervisor was doing

Talking or socializing with other adults is indicated in 18% of drownings, and a full 38% of non-active supervisors were either in the house, or in another part of the yard, out of direct sight of the pool.


When a swimming pool is in the backyard, supervision becomes a full-time job. Oftentimes, pool drownings and near drownings occur when the child was not thought to be outside, near the pool.

For backyard swimming pools, this means placing Layers of Protection around the pool - barriers and alarms. Limiting access to a pool through with gate / door alarms and interior barriers.

What is your Level of Active Adult Supervision? 

Where do you fall on the continuum? Hopefully towards the right. This summer, step up your level of supervison - be active, encouraging and participate with your children and other young swimmers.


When Active Adult Supervision is not possible, close the pool, lock the doors and set the alarm. And one more thing. This summer, make time to discuss pool safety with your kids, and all household members, at every opportunity.