What age is appropriate for children to be left a city pools without their parents? Does your facility have a policy? What about your city/community?

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Just a note:

Last week at our health club, a 9-year-old child was brought back to the surface by her 9-year-old friend with whom she was swimming.  She lost consciousness while attempting to swim the length of the 25 yd lap pool underwater.  The lifeguard gave two rescue breaths and she regained consciousness and was fine.  The point here is that her life was saved by swimming with a buddy.  The buddy system is encouraged at the club, but is not mandatory.  Maybe it should be.  In any case, parents should strongly consider whether or not they are comfortable with leaving their children in the hands of the local lifeguard - regardless of the age of the child.  (BTW, we have two levels of swim tests:

Lifeguards are responsible for giving TPC children a swimming test to check for water safety competency. The child must perform all skills without struggling in order to pass. There are two levels of the swim test. The more advanced level is called SHARKS and the lower level is called MINNOWS, which are described in the following outlines. Minnows need their parent in the pool area while the child is swimming and Sharks do not need their parent at the pool while they are swimming, although it is recommended for optimal safety.

The MINNOWS TEST consists of:

  1. Swimming one full length of the Main Pool in a “recognizable stroke.” AND
  2. Tread water for one minute and back float for one minute, OR Tread water for two minutes, OR Back float for two minutes.

The SHARK TEST consists of:

  1. Two (2) laps in the main pool. AND
  2. One-third of a lap underwater. AND
  3. Same options as MINNOWS TEST for #2.

We are now going to encourage the lifeguards to  explain the dangers of shallow water blackout and how to avoid it!

I've been following the incident in Trenton last year for awhile.  Below is a link to the video of the incident and the 2nd link is to an artilce and discussion.


I direct a University pool, thus it is easy for me to enforce a parent must be with the child policy  (I wish I could have it with some of the students too).  We do have the height requirement because it is the easiest policy to enforce for my lifeguards.  Because a guardian can easily go to the bathroom or to the car and then you are back to the same situation.




I developed the height standard over 20 years ago --which Jim Wheeler -  I believe-- agrees and advocates as an adopted standard everwhere he has been and provided as a way to manage facilities. 


It's basically, can a person of a certian size and height, be safe - even as a non-swimmer, based on the faciltiy design.  If not ---- a parent or responsible person must accompany the child and never be beyond arm's reach, (Rule enforcement) by lifeguards.



If you go fully --to the letter of the law, the letter of the law in California, minor's must be under the control and direct supervision of a parent or legal guardian until they are 14 years of age and the parent/guardian is the responsible person,  (not a swimming pool code) -- unless engaged in a educational setting, i.e. school, licensed day care, licensed babysitter, etc.

This is not the real world, we get lot's of young folks, because that's what we do, they go to the POOL- so one needs to manage the safety and security of all the young folks that use our public pools, and they must be kept safe and and it is our responsibility that all of these young childen must be returned, whole and wholesome to ther parent/guardian.


 The spririt of the law, not the letter of laws!


Additionally, in many neighborhoods, the pool is the most -- if not the only safe place in their neighborhood. No gangs-- no drugs and excellent role models with the Lifeguards!!



I see this is an old questions, but I'd like to get some more input on this as I just had this come up. 

I'm leaning towards a height requirement unless the youth is classified as a swimmer (Can swim a length of the pool in something resembling crawl stroke, a horizontal body position with being able to exercise some breath control). 


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