Camp Safety Spotlight: Pools

being there // Eric Spacek, JD, ARM on Thursday July 30, 2015

What is summer camp without swimming and a pool?  The one thing camp kids can count on is the large amount of time they’ll spend in the water.

But, with so many kids running around and multiple activities happening at once, it can be difficult keeping a close eye on your campers and ensuring their safety. We know you want them to have fun, but make sure you and your pool are ready and safe. 

The Pool
Before camp begins, evaluate your pool to ensure safety hazards are eliminated and it meets all local, state and federal regulations.  Consider the following:

  • Is there a fence around your pool to limit access?
  • Has the pool been inspected to see it is compliant with laws and regulations?
  • Is the pool area equipped with life-saving equipment, such as life rings and reaching poles?
  • Do you have the appropriate signage to enforce safety, such as “No Diving” or “No Running?”

It is likely that your pool will be frequently used by campers.  Make sure you take all precautions to ensure it is safe and ready to handle the chaos that often comes with camp sessions. 

The Role of Adults and Supervision
Safe swimming requires more than a safe pool.  Adult supervision is crucial in all camp activities, but it is especially important around pools and during swimming time.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the fifth leading case of unintentional injury death in the U.S., and children are one of the most common victims.  So, what can your staff and volunteers do the limit the risk of injury at camp?

  • Stay up-to-date on CPR training and certification;
  • Create and follow a rotating supervision schedule, allowing adults to maintain focus and attention;
  • Stay close and alert when supervising; and
  • Enforce pool rules. 

Pool Rules
In addition to a safe pool and responsible adult supervisors, you should rely on pool rules to keep campers safe at the pool.  For the protection of all swimmers, enforce the following general pool rules:

  • No running on the pool deck;
  • No diving where the water is not deep enough; and
  • No rough play.

As the leaders of your organization, it is up to you to maintain a safe pool; hire, train and educate responsible staff and volunteers; and enforce the rules you believe are best in keeping campers safe.  Now kids can count on fun in the pool, and you can count on their protection.

Miss our other Camp Safety Spotlights? See our posts on Preventing Bullying and Water Walking Balls for more camp safety tips.  

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.

Eric Spacek, JD, ARM

Eric Spacek, JD, ARM

Eric Space, JD, ARM is the Director of Risk Management and Loss Control at GuideOne Insurance in West Des Moines, Iowa.  Before joining GuideOne, he served as Minister of Operations for a large Methodist church in Raleigh, N.C., and was a liability litigation trial attorney in Washington, D.C.

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