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Archive – Health Canada Advises Canadians About the Importance of Swimming Pool Safety

Starting date:
July 22, 2005
Posting date:
July 22, 2005
Type of communication:
Outdoor Living
Source of recall:
Health Canada
Product Safety
General Public
Identification number:

Health Canada reminds Canadians about the hazards associated with swimming pools. Each year, many children drown or are injured in both swimming and wading pool-related incidents. These incidents are often linked to a lapse in supervision that results in a child falling into the pool. Entrapment hazards which are also present in a pool, such as ladders and filtration systems, may also lead to injuries or death.

Health Canada offers the following safety guidelines to pool users to help prevent pool drownings:

General safety recommendations

  • ALWAYS have an adult watching children in and around the pool. Do not leave a child unattended as drowning can occur silently in seconds.
  • Keep young children, and children who cannot swim, within arm's reach.
  • Children under the age of three, as well as children who cannot swim, should wear a life jacket or an approved personal flotation device whenever they are in or around the pool. Remember, these safety products do not substitute for adult supervision.
  • Make sure lifesaving equipment and a first aid kit are nearby.
  • Keep emergency phone numbers listed at the closest phone to the pool.
  • Take a course on pool safety, first aid and lifesaving skills such as CPR.
  • Always check the pool first if a child is missing.
  • Drain all wading pools after use.
  • Always swim with a buddy.
  • Send children to swimming and water safety lessons, but ALWAYS continue to supervise when they are swimming.

Fencing and safety barriers

  • Contact your local municipality to ensure that you meet all relevant bylaws before installing and filling a pool.
  • Build a fence surrounding all pools, including inflatable pools, with a self-closing and self-latching gate.
  • Make sure other accesses to the pool, such as patio doors, are locked.
  • Use a solid safety pool cover or a pool alarm as added protection.
  • Do not use solar pool covers to prevent children from falling into pools. A child who falls onto a solar pool cover may become entangled in it and drown.
  • Remove or lock steps or ladders leading to above-ground pools when the pool is no longer in use.

Pool accessories

  • Review and follow all instructions for pool accessories, such as: ladders, filters and drains. These accessories pose entrapment and entanglement hazards, which may result in a person becoming trapped underwater. Do not allow children to play in or around these objects.
  • Do not leave toys and pool accessories in the pool when it is no longer in use, as they tend to attract young children.
  • Store pool chemicals out of the reach and sight of children.

Important tips for inflatable pools

  • Read all instructions before installing, filling and using the pool.
  • Carry out regular pool maintenance to ensure that all components are working properly and safely.
  • Consider only pools that have filter intake pipes with drain covers. Never use the pool if the drain cover is broken or missing.
  • Have a qualified pool professional inspect the drain cover on your pool to prevent body and hair entrapment.
  • Contact your local municipality to ensure that you meet all relevant bylaws before installing and filling a pool. In many municipalities, inflatable pools are covered by the same bylaws as in-ground and above-ground pools.

Media enquiries

Health Canada

Public enquiries


For more information

For more information about drowning prevention, consult the sites listed below: