Chapter 6: Play Areas/Playgrounds and Transportation
6.3 Water Play Areas (Pools, Etc.)
6.3.1 Access to and Safety Around Bodies of Water
126.96.36.199: Pool Safety Rules
Clear safety rules for the use of swimming and built-in wading pools should be posted in a visible location. Caregivers/teachers should understand and follow all pool safety rules at all times. Compliance should be assessed by interviewing caregivers/teachers to determine if they know the rules and by observing if the rules are followed.
Caregivers/teachers should use active supervision strategies to create a safe environment and prevent pool-related injuries or death to children enrolled.1
If the facility has a water play area, the following requirements should be met:
- Water play areas should conform to all state and local health regulations.
- Water play areas should not include hidden or enclosed spaces.
- Spray areas and water-collecting areas should have a nonslip surface, such as asphalt.
- Water play areas, particularly those that have standing water, should not have sudden changes in depth of water.
- Drains, streams, waterspouts, and hydrants should not create strong suction effects or water-jet forces.
- All toys and other equipment used in and around the water play area should be made of sturdy plastic or metal (no glass should be permitted).
- Water play areas in which standing water is maintained for more than 24 hours should be treated according to Standard 188.8.131.52: Pool Water Quality and inspected for glass, trash, animal excrement, and other foreign material.
The facility should develop and review an emergency plan, as specified in Standard 184.108.40.206: Written Plan and Training for Handling Urgent Medical Care or Threatening Incidents.
Early care and education programs should refer to state and local regulations for guidance and/or additional requirements for pool safety.
Signage, visibly posted, that clearly communicates pool safety rules provides general guidelines for staying safe in and around water.2
Granofsky B, Leonardo J. How child drowning can be prevented. Children’s Safety Network website. https://www.childrenssafetynetwork.org/blog/how-child-drowning-can-be-preventeD. Published August 10, 2018. Accessed August 21, 2019
US Consumer Product Safety Commission. PoolSafely.gov. https://www.poolsafely.gov. Accessed August 20, 2019
US Consumer Product Safety Commission. In-home drowning information center. https://www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/In-Home-Drowning-Safety-Information-Center. Accessed August 21, 2019
TYPE OF FACILITYCenter, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS220.127.116.11 Ratios and Supervision for Swimming, Wading, and Water Play
18.104.22.168 Supervision Near Bodies of Water
22.214.171.124 Behavior Around a Pool
126.96.36.199 Enclosure of Bodies of Water
188.8.131.52 Pool Water Quality
184.108.40.206 Portable Wading Pools
220.127.116.11 Written Plan and Training for Handling Urgent Medical Care or Threatening Incidents
US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Head Start Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center. Safety practices. Active supervision. https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/safety-practices/article/active-supervision. Updated January 29, 2019. Accessed August 21, 2019
American Red Cross. Swimming and Water Safety. https://www.redcross.org/store/swimming-and-water-safety-manual-rev-04-14/651327.html?cgid=sp-lifeguarding-and-learn-to-swim. Accessed August 21, 2019
Content in the STANDARD was modified on 02/27/2020.