Little kids and pools


Bronze Supporter
Feb 15, 2017
Ferndale, MI
We are buying a house with a pool. We have an 8 year old and a 5 year old. They can both swim. The 8 year old I feel confident with, he is on a swim team. The 5 year old can swim, but outside of swimming lessons, isn't very confident. What are some precautions I should take? The back door is in the room that will be my home office, so that is one thing. While I'm in there, he can't go into the pool without me knowing.


Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
Evans, Georgia
Put a door alarm on that door. We have a cheap one we bought on Amazon that can do 3 things- *scream!* when opened, *gentle ding* when door opened, or be turned entirely off if desired.

There are alarms that go into the pool water and are set off by motion in the water. I'm not sure if that helps if you're not home to hear the alarm in the house yet a neighbor kid goes wandering in..... but they're on the market so check them out.

I would also consider investing in either a autocover (can be pricey but available for existing pool installations) or a fence between your house and the pool. They have nice ones out there.

I'd also put a key deadlock on the door up high. Kids being kids, y'know?

Yippee :flower:


TFP Expert
Apr 19, 2013
Sacramento, CA
I would be more concerned about the older one. Knowledge and confidence can lead to over estimation of ability.

When my children were young they were prohibited from going near the pool alone.

You can fence it off.

You can install a slide lock high on the door to the backyard.


Bronze Supporter
Feb 15, 2017
Ferndale, MI
Oh yes, even my older son will not be allowed in the pool without an adult present.

We will plan on a deadbolt up high and an alarm is a good idea too. I think they will respect our rules, they do love to make each other aware of the rules when one of them is getting ready to break one. LOL.


TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
Tucson, AZ
Swim lessons every season until they are capable swimmers and able to tread water in the deep end for 2 mins. Our pool is fenced with pool code gates and locks. All exterior doors in my home have "Pool Code" deadbolts set 30" from the top frame. My doors are alarmed and give off and audible beep anytime a door is opened. Kids understand there is one rule that they shall not break - you do not EVER swim alone or without a parent present. You break that rule, and I drain the pool, backfill it and turn it into a putting green (they're young enough still to be scared of me...).

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Well-known member
Jul 31, 2015
Pittsburgh, PA
Echoing others here, make sure you can lock access. We have similar aged kids, they are capable swimmers. The biggest thing your pool will do is give them practice, and practice is what's needed to give them ability.

We don't let kids swim without an adult. Our pool is fenced in. During the summer I'll sometimes sit by the pool with my laptop and keep an eye on one of the kids swimming.

We swim a LOT, I keep an eye on everyone, but I know my kids swimming ability level. When they're tired they rest, that's the biggest danger, swimming into exhaustion. My bigger concern isn't my own kids, but friends. My kids know not to jump close to walls, not to do stupid things. Friends...ugh... if friends are swimming I'm either in the pool or right next to it. Too much stupidity from friends who think that since a pool is in a yard there aren't any rules verses a public pool with written rules. I purchased a sign with printed rules and hung it.

Make sure you're consistent with whatever you tell kids/friends. Both our kids and their friends abide by the same rules. My kids don't get to run while friends walk, everyone walks.

The auto-cover isn't a bad idea for summer.

I'd highly recommend a loop-loc cover or something similar in the winter. They cover the pool and are secured by bolts in the cement. You can walk on it and it'll flex, but you won't fall in. I tested ours, I walked out on it and confirmed it held me. This was a life-saver because a month ago I was working in the pool area and the door didn't close all the way. Our 20mo old discovered this and bolted into the pool running right onto the cover. He just stood there as he sank and his feet got wet. If we had one of those tarps it would have been a disaster.

Our fence has an auto-shutting door as well. I need to WD-40 the hinges for the summer, but most of the time it works really well. So well that it's annoying because it closes so quick.


Well-known member
Jan 31, 2014
Brookhaven, MS
When mine were younger, I installed a keyed-deadbolt where the lock could only be opened with a key both inside and out.
The key was hung at the top of the door jamb, so there was no way they could reach.
It worked great with 2 kids growing up. Now they are 22 and 9 - I kinda miss when they were younger :(

Perpetual summer

Silver Supporter
Feb 17, 2017
Just a word of caution, out gate instructions with self closing hinges states, do not use anything but graphite lube on hinges. Might be best to check for sure before it causes a problem.


LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Feb 6, 2015
Chandler AZ
You may wish to Google this: ferndale michigan pool barrier requirements

Many municipalities have specific requirements for doors and windows that are not fenced off from a pool. Be sure you meet their minimum code requirements. In addition to how terrible it would be if something were to happen if minimum code were not adhered to, your insurance company may deny payment of any claims if you don't meet code requirements.

Oh - and be sure you are looking at Ferndale MICHIGAN requirements. That Google search will give results for other cities and states sometimes.