Splashin’ Safe: Establishing Pool Rules for Your Summer Babysitter

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Patricia Sarmiento is a life saver. Literally. She sent me this helpful guest post about making sure kids stay safe if they go swimming with the baby sitter: definitely something I’m keeping for future reference. 

Pool Rules For Summer Babysitter

My kids would play in the pool all day, every day if I’d let them. But inevitably there are days when I’m not around and our trusted babysitter has to watch them. She’s wonderful, but when she first started sitting for us, I made our neighbors’ pool off limits. We’d swim in it all the time and are always welcome, but I just didn’t feel comfortable having my kids be around water if I wasn’t going to be there.

But after much begging from my kids, last year I gave in. I agreed that the sitter could take them to the pool, but I sat her down and had a long talk before then. I made sure she understood what rules would need to be followed (and I made sure my kids understood those rules as well!). If you’re about to have this conversation, I recently discovered this great resource on water safety information for babysitters–it will make for a great guide when speaking with your sitter.

If you’re having reservations about letting your sitter take your kids to the pool this summer, here are a few rules you can put in place to ensure everyone stays safe:

Always know where the kids are. Especially for pool owners or for parents whose neighbors own pools, make sure your babysitter understands they are to always know where the kids are, even when indoors. As KidsHealth.org notes in its pool safety guide for babysitters, a toddler could easily wander back to the pool if the sitter isn’t keeping a close eye on them.

Lock all doors and gates. If you own a pool, as these safety tips for babysitters from CVS.com note, make sure your sitter locks any entrance points to the pool after using it. Also, stress the importance of moving objects away from the pool fence that kids could use to climb over it. It might be helpful to give them a checklist of post-pool time tasks to make sure the pool area is secured properly.

Provide constant supervision. The National Water Safety Month site provides great tips on water safety. One section stresses the importance of always being alert at the pool. Make clear to your sitter that they should never leave the children unattended at the pool. No child is drown-proof. Be sure your sitter understands that even if your children are strong swimmers or are older the sitter should always be at the pool supervising them.

Use cellphone only in an emergency. It only takes a split second for an accident to happen at the pool. Make sure your babysitter knows to never be on their cellphone while at the pool with your children. While, as these prevention tips from AllState note, it is good to have a phone at the pool in case of an emergency, it’s best that it be turned on silent so that it won’t be a distraction while everyone is swimming.

I never want my kids to miss out on an experience simply because I’m afraid of what might happen. Letting my kids swim with their sitter was a really tough decision for me, but one I’m glad I made. They enjoyed every second of it, and it was a great way for them to stay active when I couldn’t be with them.


Patricia Sarmiento is a health and fitness blogger. She enjoys writing about health, wellness, fitness, and other health-related topics. As a former high school and college athlete, she makes living an active lifestyle a constant goal. She lives with her husband, son, daughter, and the family dog in Maryland.

Photo Credit: keep cool at the pool /Julien Haler (via Flickr Creative Commons) /image edited by Bronwyn Lea.

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