Children and water safety at the pool
By Kidspot Team

Kids screaming, laughing and having fun in the pool is a treasured part of life in New Zealand. Sadly pools can also be dangerous - drowning is the second major cause of accident death for pre-school children and home swimming pools represent the greatest single daneger.

Drowning is a silent action and can take only a minute. You will not know if your child needs help if you are not watching them.

At the home pool and home spa pool


  • Ensure the your home pool meets the requirements under the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act (1987)
  • A pool is defined as any excavation, structure or product containing water over 400mm deep that is used or is capable of being used for swimming, wading, paddling or bathing and includes spa and inflatable pools
  • Some local authority areas may allow portable spa pools 760mm above the ground with a rigid, lockable cover to not require fencing. Contact your local authority
  • Pools must remain empty until an approved complying fence is installed. You will need to contact your local council regading consent
  • Fencing is not enough to keep children safe though - ALWAYS supervise your children in the pool - there is no substitute for supervision, no matter how water confident your child is
  • Children drown quietly - always visually supervise the pool
  • There should always be at least 1 adult supervising
  • Do not run around a pool - always walk
  • Check for others before entering the water
  • Do not read, text, chat or snooze while supervising
  • Floatation aids and swimming lessons are not a substitute for supervision
  • Do not have your BBQ area in the pool area
  • Do not use the pool area as a thoroughfare to another area eg clothes line
  • Never dive into above ground pools. Dive only at the diving board end of an inground pool
  • If a child is missing, ALWAYS check the pool first

At the public pool


  • always visually supervise your child even if there are lifeguards present
  • do not read, text, chat or snoose while supervising children in the pool
  • never run around the pool, always walk
  • check for others before entering the water
  • check the rule of the public pool and adhere to them
  • listen to the instructions of the lifeguard


For more information, visit WaterSafe New Zealand

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This article was written for Kidspot. Resouces include WaterSafe New Zealand

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