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   Responsible Pool & Spa Use


Water Safety Pie Recipe


Start with it. It stands for supervision given by adult caregivers. Keep children within arms reach when they are in or near bodies of water.  In most drowning incidents involving young children, parents or other adult caregivers had seen the child less than 5 minutes prior – drowning is quick. Give them your undivided attention and keep them within arms reach!



Add it. It stands for aquatic programs for young children.  Aquatic programs are more than just swimming lessons.  The good programs do three very important things for children and parents: develop over time a child’s swimming and in-water preservation skills, train children in safety behaviors, and educate parents on drowning prevention strategies.  



Fences, namely those that separate the house (and young children) from the pool, add to the safety environment around home pools and spas.   Alarms and self-latching doors leading to the pool and impenetrable pool covers are the key barriers that can be installed where young children are present – giving additional measures of safety.  Used and maintained properly they can prevent a child from entering the pool where adult supervision and other preventatives have failed or are not in place.



Every adult care giver (parents, grandparents, nannies, baby sitters, etc.)  should be CPR certified and capable. This is becomes essential when other safety measures have failed to keep a unsupervised child from the water.  It is the last defense against needless injury or drowning.   Learning CPR is easy with the right teacher. 


Why "Pie"?

Most adults relate to pie and are willing to mull over a little 'pie'..  So by talking "pie" we knew we'd get your attention for this very important message. It concerns the safety of your child around your swimming pool and other bodies of water. 

Water Safety Pie has four slices: Supervision, Aquatic programs, Fences-alarms-barriers, and Every adult caregiver CPR certified and capable.

Children's adventures can carry them to the pool at a time when parents aren't thinking about the pool or safety and pouf!  An unintended submersion that may lead to injury or death occurs. 

For example, Florida's current rate of drowning is about 76 young children per year.  Estimates are that 10 times that number have close calls—some of whom live but may be left impaired or disabled.

  •     Encourage a child to obtain swimming skills at an early age. Determining the age to start resides with the child and parent.  The age that they can actually swim well depends on the individual child, their learning environment and the amount of time spent learning.   If your child can swim at age 2, 3, or 4, get that extra measure of safety (and enjoyment) now.  Reduce the risk.  Don’t wait to start them at age 5 or later! 

  •     Train children in safety behaviors even before they are skilled swimmers (e.g. – like 'don't go into the water without an adult', 'don't enter the water to save a drowning person', etc.). This is needed during the time that the young child is enrolled in a program prior to being consistently able to swim to safety.

  •     Educate adult family members and caregivers on drowning prevention strategies so they too can safeguard your child.   In time all children can learn to swim and learn how to behave safely around the water.  But until then adult caregivers need to diligent in applying other safety strategies as well. 

 Water Safety Pie is Good for Your Children

‘Making’ water safety pie is good for your children’s safety and your piece of mind.  The "pie" has four slices. These ‘slices’ are recognized by national aquatic and safety organizations as being the cornerstones of pool and spa water safety. Several of those organizations are listed at the end of this advisory.   Thinking of water safety as a ‘pie’ is an easy way to remember what needs to be done by responsible parents and other adult caregivers.


MORE on water safety for your young children . . .


Don’t Rely on a Single Slice of Pie

Now you may hear statements to the contrary, but these S.A.F.E.-ty pie slices should be considered of equal value.  Why?  Because each ‘slice’ has, on its own, thwarted the near injury or death of a young child around water — while one or more of the other safety measures (pie slices) was not in force at the time.  So view none of the water safety pie slices as being foolproof in protecting young children.  Give your children the whole pie! 

What wouldn't you do ALL that you can to protect young children around water?  Why would you pick your way through safety recommendations - feeling (without thinking actually) - this this one or that one or a little bit of this, that, or the other is the way to go.  And why would any responsible organization point you to just one?  Political and legal reasons? - yes, and that's life - but it is your life and that of your children - you have to see past this bias and do what right for your child(ren).

Again, What wouldn't you do ALL (things reasonable) that you can to protect young children around water?

The kids are counting on you and other adult caregivers you have watch them. Don’t forget to educate all caregivers in the water safety process — grandparents, nannies, new babysitters, neighbors, and others too.  You don’t want injury or drowning on ‘their shift’ as they watching your children.


More on the Whole Pie Rationale

Parents should do all that they can for the safety of their young children around water. 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission points out that there will always be lapses in attention by adult caregivers that allow drowning and other injuries to occur — still, striving for constant eye contact supervision has been replaced by the improved advisory - keep children within arms reach

Four-sided pool fences are not required under many building codes; fence gates get left open and alarms get turned off — yet, applied properly and diligently, they contribute greatly to safety.

CPR training isn't taken by enough caregivers. It's also been shown to be easily forgotten and often performed improperly, bypassing the desired effect — yet CPR is an important life saving skill that all adult caregivers should acquire and stay current on.

Aquatic education programs that educate children and parents take time to work. Kids (especially children under three years) enrolled in a program don’t immediately learn how to swim well enough to save themselves. And they don’t instantly adopt safe behavior around water either.

All parents know their children would be safer if they knew how to swim. So get started so that your children will be up and going at the soonest possible moment they can.   Pre-natal classes for moms and ‘parent & me’ classes are beneficial lead ups for you and your child. Look for programs conducted within professional guidelines where proper care is given to water temperature and water quality and well as the amount of water the youngest of children might ingest. 


For More Information:

Contact the following groups in connection with regarding water safety and your backyard pool or spa:

       Association of Pool & Spa Professionals regarding fences, barriers, and alarms pools and other safety topics related to use of pools and spas.  Request information.   Web site is   Their headquarters are in Virginia is at (703) 838-0083.


These organizations that can educate adult caregivers on CPR.  You’ll feel better knowing what to do.

  • American Heart Association or check the white pages of your local phone book.  Check also with your community’s adult education program or fire & rescue dept..

  • American Red Cross or check the white pages of your local phone book.

  • American CPR Training

  • World Aquatic Babies & Children on aquatic programs. Website: includes a section of information for parents.

  • U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has information regarding fences, barriers, alarms and other  ‘product’ remedies to aid in water safety.  They are located in the Washington DC area at 1 800 638-2772.

    • Center for Disease Control & Prevention in Atlanta. 

All groups are on the same side here!  While each group may have a different slant to the problem and solution, ALL want to stop needless drowning and promote the safe use of pools and spas.  Use your pool responsibility!

We hope this information has been educational and heightened awareness about your part in backyard pool safety.   Comments and suggestions are welcome.