Backyard Pool Safety
Did you know?
- Backyard pools are the #1 location where children drown.
- On average, 487 people die from downing in Canada each year.
- Drowning can occur in as little as 10-20 seconds, in only centimetres of water.
Drowning is Fast. Drowning is Silent. Drowning is Preventable.
This page provides helpful tips to ensure use of your pool is safe and enjoyable.
On Guard at Home - Your Guide to Backyard Pool Safety in London
Does your pool fence meet the City's By-Laws? The minimum fence height allowed in London is 153cm (60 inches) and every swimming pool fence gate must have a self-closing and self-latching mechanism.
You must also restrict all other access points. if your pool is accessible right from your house, it is easy for curious toddlers and children to wander into the pool. A completely separate pool entrance is recommended.
Life Jackets and Pool Toys
Lifejackets, water wings, "pool noodles" and other floatation devices do not ensure pool safety. This equipment can be a lot of fun but none are an adequate replacement for adult supervision!
Lifejackets and PFDs (personal floatation devices) must fit correctly in order to work. We don't recommend water wings as they can deflate or slip, leaving a child dangling under water.
Always have adult supervision!
Swimmers must constantly be supervised by a responsible adult who knows how to swim, has access to a reliable phone to call 911 in the event of an emergency, knows the location of safety equipment, and has the knowledge of basic water rescue, first aid, and CPR.
Everyone using your pool should:
- Know how to swim. It's never to late to learn. Click here for information on swimming lessons.
- Know what part of the pool is deep or shallow.
- Know the location of the nearest phone.
- Always swim with a buddy, never alone.
- Be sober. Alcohol and pools don't mix.
- Stay out of the pool if there's thunder, lightning, or if the bottom of the pool cannot be seen clearly.
Make sure a responsible adult who can swim is supervising your backyard pool any time people are in the water. Identify them with a London On Guard Card!
The London On Guard Card is available free of charge to all backyard pool owners in London. Residents who have applied for a pool fence permit for this summer will receive a London On Guard Card in the mail in the spring.
Click here to get your free London On Guard Card - Your card will be mailed to you within 2 business days of your request.
The back of the London On Guard card has a few important items that anyone responsible for supervision of a backyard pool needs to remember:
Ensure children are supervised near water.
Drowning is the second leading cause of preventable death for children under 10 years of age. Backyard pools are the number 1 location where these drownings occur, often during a short lapse in supervision.
Stay within arm's reach of non-swimmers.
You need to be close enough to provide immediate assistance.
Stay close to the pool's edge.
You need to be able to "scan" the entire surface and bottom of the pool and be able to respond quickly.
Watch every child. Get additional help if needed.
Watch children's faces, panic is often clear in the eyes of someone in distress. If you're having trouble keeping track of all the children, recruit another London On Guard supervisor to help.
Make sure weak swimmers wear lifejackets.
Lifejackets can help prevent accidents, but are not a replacement for supervision.
Ensure constant supervision. Drowning is fast and silent.
Have to tend to the BBQ or take a bathroom break? Designate another responsible adult as the London On Guard supervisor in your absence. Drowning is fast and can happen in only inches of water.
Our summer staff always give back to the community by raising funds to donate to a worthy cause. In 2017 with the help of Middlesex London Paramedic Service, we were able to purchase two AEDs that were donated to the London Children's Museum. Thank you to our staff for their hard work and to everyone who contributed.