Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

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 Sensors or Remote Monitors

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 02/27/2020.

Early care and education programs should consider installing additional safety features such as pool alarms, sensors, and/or remote monitors, not as a substitute for enclosures (ie, a fence) or active supervision but to ensure greater safety for all children enrolled.1,2


Unintentional drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths in children 1 to 4 years of age.3 Enclosures around all water hazards, such as pools, swimming pools, stationary wading pools, ditches, fish ponds, and water retention or detention basins, as well as sensors, remote monitors, or alarms, can help early care and education centers avoid water-related injuries and death.


A temporary power outage negates the protection of sensors; therefore, they should not be used in lieu of proper enclosures. In addition, responses to an emergency are delayed if a remote monitor is used to replace active supervision. Active supervision is a strategy that requires early care and education programs to ensure no child is left alone or unsupervised.4

Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Ratios and Supervision for Swimming, Wading, and Water Play Methods of Supervision of Children Supervision Near Bodies of Water
  1. Dellinger A, Gilchrist J. Leading causes of fatal and nonfatal unintentional injury for children and teens and the role of lifestyle clinicians. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2019;13(1):7–21

  2. Gromicko N. Pool alarms. International Association of Certified Home Inspectors website. Accessed August 21, 2019

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Office of Statistics and Programming. 10 leading causes of injury death by age group. Highlighting unintentional injury deaths, United States—2005. Accessed August 21, 2019

  4. US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Head Start Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center. Safety practices. Active supervision. Updated January 29, 2019. Accessed August 21, 2019


Content in the STANDARD was modified on 02/27/2020.