What age can the kids start swimming without immediate adult supervision?

Soupy

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 23, 2011
114
Maryland
My kids are 9 and 10, and we've had the pool for 9 years. They've had formal swimming lessons as well. So I started wondering at what age it's reasonable to start giving them some freedom.

I figure that by the time they're highschool age, 15+, then can probably swim without adult supervision at all. Maybe require that they complete a lifeguard class if they want to have friends over.

But earlier than 15, is it reasonable to let them swim with an adult nearby, but no direct supervision? I'm confident in their ability to swim; the real question is if there's an accident, i.e. someone bumps their head.

Anyone have any thoughts or experiences?
 

Casey

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Apr 16, 2007
10,916
SW PA
I watched my kids swim (I swam with them because I love water as much as they do) into their teenage years. I wouldn't let a 12 year old swim in a deep pool by themselves (unsupervised) or even with other kids the same age for fear of drowning, even if they are expert swimmers. That's just me.
 
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kimkats

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Jul 10, 2012
40,744
Tallahassee, FL
Best case scenario is no one ever swims alone. There should always be someone by or in the pool just in case something goes wrong.

Do you have a life ring or hook right by the pool? Have you taught them how to use them? They should NEVER get in the pool to try to "save" them as then there will be two on them in trouble.

I will tell you that a person that is having trouble in the water will NOT call out or splash a lot. This has been documented quite a few times. So even if the adult was within hearing range they might not know anything was going wrong.
 
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Chickinvic

Well-known member
Jul 12, 2017
219
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Depends on the kid. I swam like a fish. My friends and I used to go swimming at age 9 (take the bus and go to the public pool). There would have been a lifeguard, but nobody specifically supervising us. At the same age we used to swim at the outdoor pool at my friend's townhouse complex. No lifeguard. There were sometimes older people around, but not always. We were all strong swimmers and responsible. Ahh, the 1970s were different times.
 
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CarolineM

Silver Supporter
Jun 20, 2018
220
Annapolis, MD
I have a camera on my pool that I can keep on eye on people if I’m not right at the pool. Mind you that is only when older teenagers and adults are swimming by themselves. I open the app on my phone or iPad with the sound on and constantly check. Children I am right there, either in the pool with them or sitting on the side with my feet tangling in. Also, when people do swim in the pool alone there has to be a few noodles or rafts in the water so something is near by to grab onto should you get a cramp, become tired etc..

One can just never be too safe around water.
 
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borjis

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 19, 2014
2,956
Pacific NW
I don't have kids but the only unsupervised swimming would be me.
When I have guests over either I or someone (if I'm prepping snacks or food) is the
designated pool watcher, just in case.
 

BMK

Bronze Supporter
Mar 29, 2016
321
SW PA
I think you're barking up the wrong tree looking for an age...a number...at which a kid is ready to swim unsupervised. All kids are different. Swimming ability, maturity, common sense, confidence, etc vary greatly from kid to kid to kid, all the same age. For me, those are more important variables in that decision than age.
Heck there are times my 7 year old daughter shows more maturity and critical thinking than my 15 yr old son! :rolleyes:
 
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Jhick

New member
Feb 20, 2019
2
Cypress, TX
Former lifeguard speaking here. This summer was at at a state park and saved a woman from drowning that was a very weak swimming and trying to catch a young child jumping in the swimming hole off some rocks. The young child couldn’t swim well and both panicked when the mom realized she couldn’t tread water and keep them both above water. For them, 40 is too young to swim alone in a pool that was deep.

For me personally, I could swim at a young age and was safe swimming without supervision at about 7 or 8.

I have kids. A 13, 11 and 9 year old. The 9 and 11 year olds have great form, endurance and common sense. I trust them alone. The 13 year old - Not so much. Our backyard pool isn’t deep enough to cause worry since he could bounce twice and be at the side but in a lake, I’m hawk eyes on him. I just don’t trust he has the endurance to get himself out of trouble.

It’s all relative to swimming ability.
 

jblizzle

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May 19, 2010
43,256
Tucson, AZ
Just reemphasizes something Kim said:
NO ONE should ever swim alone. Period. Accidents happen. Sudden medical issues happen. If someone is alone, there is no one there to help.

The rest of the conversation is a personal choice based on multiple factors.
 
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Richard320

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LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
22,069
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
I was never allowed in the pool alone, but as long as I had someone else there, I can't even remember a time when my mom hovered around the pool. Usually there was a whole crowd of us. We'd have shrieked and yelled enough to get my mom running if anything had happened.
 

bmoreswim

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Jul 16, 2012
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Thinking back, for us, our kids were probably 13 before swimming without immediate supervision, and then it would have been at least two of them. I felt for them that was pretty cautious. They were already quite good swimmers (many days at the community pool we belonged to), but we didn’t get the pool until they were 11 and 12. Of course I’d never give advice on this, just our experience.
 

microscopes

Well-known member
Jun 1, 2016
105
Buffalo, NY
I watched my kids swim (I swam with them because I love water as much as they do) into their teenage years. I wouldn't let a 12 year old swim in a deep pool by themselves (unsupervised) or even with other kids the same age for fear of drowning, even if they are expert swimmers. That's just me.
When I was 12 I was doing mile long swims in lakes for the Boy Scouts.
 
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Casey

TFP Expert
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Apr 16, 2007
10,916
SW PA
When I was 12 I was doing mile long swims in lakes for the Boy Scouts.
I loved being around my kids and swimming with them. They are grown now and dont come around much due to their own lives. I made memories with them.
 

Lemonred34

Well-known member
May 5, 2019
155
Louisiana
I’m a helicopter mom. I’ll admit. It is what it is lol. She’s 13. Last year, anytime I needed to go inside for something (bathroom, drink.) I made her get on the pool float and she wasn’t allowed to get off until I got back outside 😂😂 and we don’t even have a deep end. And she’s well above the water level. If I didn’t want to swim and she did I would put her in and I would watch out the window. Literally never moving from my seat so I could see her at all times. If she had a sibling around the same age idk that I would have been as paranoid. Is it a little much? Maybe. Freak accidents happen all the time and in the event that it happens to her I don’t want to live with “well had I just been watching”
 

Soupy

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 23, 2011
114
Maryland
I definitely appreciate the discussion... Don't get me wrong, I love jumping in the pool and playing with them too. But sometimes they want to jump in, and I've got to mow the lawn or something. So this thread is mostly me "thinking out loud" and getting some feedback.

Swimming alone is right out, that's always been the case. I like the idea of getting a proper rescue ring and pole/shepherd's crook, and showing the kids what to do. I figure that helps create a safety mindset when you see that hanging near the pool. Maybe I can hunt down some safety and basic lifesaving training on youtube too.
 

bmoreswim

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Jul 16, 2012
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Central MD
The link below is the ring bouy that I have. I used to have a softer one. But it got really covered in mold/algae/whatever. I could not get in to look better. And the ropes deteriorated in the sun and they were sewed in so replacement was not easy at all. This hard one has stayed clean for 2 years (old one lasted 4 years and was done). The hard one also allows the ropes to be replaced because they designed it with that in mind.

It hangs right next to our dedicated pole with a safety hook on it.

Amazon.com : Dock Edge + Inc. USCGA Approved Life Ring Buoy (Orange, 24-Inch) : Boat Throw Rings : Clothing

 
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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
8,965
Northern NJ
My cousin, a strong swimmer in his late teens, dived into a pool and hit his head and was paralyzed for a while. He was rescued and recovered. Accidents in a pool can happen in many ways and people of all ages can get over confident in their abilities.

A buddy system with no one alone in a pool is the best.