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Swimming Pool Rules for Health and Safety

Even though they sometimes seem restrictive, swimming pool rules exist for a good reason. They are designed to protect the health and safety of all pool visitors.

A specific set of swimming pool rules.
A specific set of swimming pool rules

Public Swimming Pool Rules

1) Always follow the specific rules laid down by your local pool.

2) Always follow the instructions of the lifeguard. He or she is the most qualified person to make decisions in this environment.

A lifeguard supervises a swimming pool on a sunny and busy day.

3) Parents should always keep an eye on their children.

A little girl is standing at the edge of the pool, next to a “no diving“ sign.
Image courtesy of Aaron Courter

4) Do not run alongside the swimming pool, but walk instead. Children often like to run and are at higher risk of breaking a limb if they slip on the wet floor.

5) No rough play, either.

6) Do not dive without proper supervision by an experienced swimmer or instructor.

A swimming instructor teaches children how to dive.

Diving should always be done at the deep end of the pool, and never at the shallow end or anywhere in between.

It is not unusual for children to suffer head injuries or broken necks because they tend to overestimate the depth of the water, then crash headfirst into the ground.

7) Avoid going to the pool if you have the flu, open wounds, or warts. You do not want to infect other pool visitors.

8) Wear a swim cap.

A young woman with a blue swimming cap resting at the edge of a swimming pool.

First, swim caps can protect your hair from chlorine and other swimming pool chemicals.

Second, swim caps reduce the occurrence of hair clumps at the bottom of the pool and also keeps the pool filters clean.

9) Always use a clean swimsuit. Do not go into the pool with swimwear that you have worn all day.

10) Do not enter the pool if you are dirty. Always shower first. The pool is not your bathtub.

11) The pool is not a toilet. Please use the bathroom.

12) If you go to the pool with a toddler, make sure he or she is wearing waterproof swimming diapers.

A mother and her child taking baby swimming lessons.

13) Parents should ensure that their children (and of course themselves) do not cross lanes or play in lanes where people swim.

A boy has fun in a pool with an inflatable shark.

It can be frustrating for swimmers to have to swim around standing, walking, or playing people.

14) Parents should make sure that their children do not sit on the pool lane dividers, as this can be quite disturbing for lap swimmers.

15) Avoid swimming underwater while holding your breath, especially after hyperventilating. This can lead to shallow water blackout and drowning.

16) Do not “borrow” swimming equipment that is lying around the edge of the pool and looks like it has been abandoned.

Swimming equipment lying on the edge of a pool.

Someone brought it there and will most likely need it soon.

State, County and Country Codes for Swimming Pools and Spas

You can find state, country and country codes for swimming pools and spas here (courtesy of the Pool Hot Tub Alliance).

Private Swimming Pool Rules

If you own a private swimming pool, you also have to be careful because it only takes a few moments for a child or non-swimmer to drown.

Therefore, the following security measures should also be observed at a private swimming pool:

1) As a pool owner, you should be trained in CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation).

2) Never let children swim without supervision, even for a moment.

3) As described above, do not allow children to dive from the wall or diving board without proper supervision. Do not allow them to dive from the shallow end, either.

Diving from other structures is also dangerous and should be prohibited.

4) When a private swimming pool is not in use, it should be properly covered and fenced.

A properly covered and fenced pool.

An alarm should also be installed to detect intrusion into the fenced area or a disturbance of the water.

Additional Tips

Your swimming pool builder/manufacturer has to deal with pool safety regularly and should, therefore, also be able to give you good advice on how to keep your pool safe.

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Marcia Montgomery

Monday 1st of July 2019

I live in a community which has a pool as an amenity. Are we required to follow state regulations for diapers? If so what are the regulations for diapers and swim diapers?

Angie

Sunday 9th of June 2019

What are some ways to avoid kids from nearly drowning in a hotel pool where I work because adults are watching them properly.

Christophe

Monday 10th of June 2019

Hi Angie,

You really need a properly qualified lifeguard.

Best,

Christophe

Erica Bennett-Hynes

Wednesday 27th of June 2018

Public swimming pool, adult swimmers at different speeds, is it legal for a man using goggles to swim under women saying he just wanted to get past?

Christophe

Wednesday 27th of June 2018

Hi Erica,

In a general sense, I don’t think this is something that is against common rules, but you’d have to check this with your local pool.

I can see children or teenagers doing this while playing for example.

However, an adult swimming under another adult just to get past is, in my opinion, a display of poor swimming etiquette.

The other person could easily be startled, especially if he or she is a beginner or not that confident in the water.

I can also see someone getting hit or kicked by accident with such maneuvers.

Gary McLaughlin

Wednesday 10th of January 2018

Are cell phones allowed in public swimming pools?

Phil Milligan

Friday 24th of November 2017

What is the ruling on what should happen if a person defecates slightly in a public pool?

Christophe

Friday 24th of November 2017

No to be handled differently than if the person does it in another public space I guess. Depends on if it's a toddler/child, if it was intentional or not, etc.