Skip to content
First Things First First Things First

First Things Blog

Information and inspiration for parents and caregivers of babies, toddlers and preschoolers

Keeping young kids safe around pools: The ABCs of water safety

Pool weather and summertime go hand in hand, especially since pools are everywhere—in backyards, apartment complexes and neighbors’ homes. But as we gear up for fun in the water, keeping safety at the forefront of our minds is crucial.

News headlines reminded us of the sobering reality that accidents can happen, even in the safest environments. Sadly, drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages 1-4 years in the United States and Arizona’s drowning rate in this age group is nearly double the national average.

Water safety is a shared responsibility that requires preparation and awareness. By following the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona ABCs of Water Safety and implementing additional precautions, we can reduce risks for families with young children.

A – Adult Supervision:

When it comes to water safety, the golden rule is simple: always have a sober adult keeping a watchful eye on children. No distractions, no multitasking—just undivided attention. Whether it’s a backyard pool or a bathtub, never leave children unattended near water, even for a moment.

B – Barrier:

Think of barriers as your child’s first line of defense against water hazards. Whether it’s a sturdy pool fence with a self-closing gate or a closed bathroom door, barriers help keep curious little ones out of harm’s way. Remember, a broken gate or an open door is not a barrier—it’s an invitation for trouble.

C – Classes & Coast Guard Approved Lifejackets:

If your child doesn’t know how to swim, a Coast Guard-approved lifejacket is a must-have accessory. Floaties may be fun, but they’re no substitute for a proper life vest. And while we’re on the subject of safety, why not make a splash with swimming lessons for everyone? Knowledge is power, and knowing how to swim could save a life. Don’t forget to brush up on CPR skills, too—it’s a life-saving skill every parent should have in their toolkit.

In addition to remembering the ABCs, here are some extra safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Supervise Always: Never allow children to play unsupervised in or around the pool area.
  • Life-saving Devices: Mount life-saving devices near the pool for quick emergency access.
  • Keep Clear: Keep tables, chairs, and ladders away from pool fences to prevent children from using them to climb over.
  • Check Access Points: Be mindful of access points like doggie doors that lead directly to the pool area.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Post your local emergency number near the pool and consider installing a phone nearby for immediate emergency access.

Remember, accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, but with the proper precautions, we can make sure our summer days are filled with fun in the sun. So, grab your sunscreen, inflate those floaties and let’s make a splash—all while keeping safety afloat!

Nicoletta Kennedy, senior director of marketing and strategic initiatives, brings a wealth of experience from her background in government and nonprofit sectors, where she has passionately championed the health and early education of young children and their parents in Arizona. Reach out to her at

Stay Up To Date.

Join our email list to keep up with the latest news and information from FTF

Send me:

© First Things First. All Rights Reserved. • Privacy PolicyAccessibilityWebsite FeedbackOmbudsman-Citizens Aide