Water safety in and around home and public swimming pools

How well do you or your child know your water safety rules and skills when in and around a home swimming pool or public swimming pool?A visit to the pool or a fun session swimming in a home pool should always be an enjoyable activity, but there are some important rules and safety advice that should be followed to ensure nobody gets hurt and that everybody enjoys a safe swim. Within the blink of an eye, even unsuspecting water hazards can turn the day upside down and end in injury, upset or worse, a tragedy.

In 2021, the Royal Life Saving Society reported 30 fatal drownings occurring in Australia’s swimming pool settings, showing a 7% increase on the previous year. The age group with the greatest record of swimming pool drownings, 8 persons, were infants and toddlers aged 0-4 years, emphasising the importance of active adult supervision of young swimmers, at all times. The key activities linked to swimming pool drownings included swimming and recreating, accounting for 37% of these incidents, and falls accounting for a massive 56%. 

To help reduce the risk of drowning in and around home and public swimming pools, it is important to understand how to avoid different hazards commonly found in these settings, recognise the important role that active adult supervision plays in preventing such incidents, and the value that learning to swim has in teaching all how to be water safe. 


Take note of our key tips for staying safe around home and public swimming pools:

  • Learn to swim with GOswim lessons and “just keep swimming” – learning to swim and consistency in swimming lessons is paramount to positive development of swimming and water safety skills. Confidence in the water and having numerous floatation and swimming techniques up your sleeve for emergencies can help to prevent drownings and other incidents. Offering lessons for infants and toddlers, children, adolescents and adults, it’s never too late to learn to swim!
  • Adults, always actively supervise children when in or around water – children don’t have to be far from water to find their way into a hazard. Adults need to actively supervise children under 10 years of age and be within arm’s reach of children under 5 years. This means no distractions, constant eyes on the children and being in the water with them if under 5 years. Active supervision is also recommended in the home setting. Remember, when at public swimming pools, it is the parent or carer’s role to supervise, whilst lifeguards save lives.
  • Learn CPR and First Aid – equip yourself with these invaluable skills and have the confidence to support your child and others if a medical emergency occurs around the swimming pool. Immediate activation of the chain of survival, through early recognition of cardiac arrest and call for help, early CPR, early defibrillation and further, can be the life-saving factors in drowning incidents.
  • Safety-check your home setting to remove any potential water hazards, and restrict access to the pool – keep your mind open and eyes peeled for unsuspecting hazards such as empty buckets or eskies that may fill with rainwater, as well as water features in the garden, drains and more. Always close the pool fence, and be sure to remove any climbable objects or ladders leaning against it, to restrict access. 
  • Never swim alone, always swim with a buddy – children and weak- or non-swimmers should never swim alone. Regardless of whether a child is swimming with another child, adults must still actively supervise. 

Learn more about specific water safety advice for both the home swimming pool setting and public swimming pool settings in our exclusive GOswim Waterways Adventure – ‘How to stay safe in waterways’ information booklet below, or follow GOswim on Facebook or Instagram for regular tips and advice on swimming and water safety. 


Enrol your child in GOswim lessons at the brand new Danny Frawley Centre in Moorabbin!

Enrol today to secure your preferred lesson day and time. Swimming lessons will provide your children with a vital skill for life. Lessons are available for infants from 6 months of age, children and adults.


For more information on Royal Life Saving’s key findings and research on Australian drownings, visit www.royallifesaving.com.au/research-and-policy/drowning-research/national-drowning-reports