Admissions Standard

Making admission standards work

There were three deaths in Ontario public pools between 1995 and 2004. Investigations into these deaths led to many recommendations. One of the most important was to implement the Lifesaving Society "Bather Admission" standard, which enhances safety among young non-swimmers by requiring direct supervision by parents or guardians. But equally important is an administrative system to execute this standard - it's good to have a standard, but it has to work!

Admission sign

Enhance the safety of your facility and reduce the chance of drowning by implementing a bather admission standard today. Email

Michael Shane

or call 416-490-8844.



In 1996, the Society published the Bather Admission standard in the Guide to Ontario Public Pools Regulation. Many affiliates and lifeguards have implemented it while others are asking how to do so. There are several levels of safety to consider:

  • Educate the public before they show up at the facility by communicating the admission policy in the community newsletter, program guide or corporate website.
  • Train the cashier or front-desk personnel. This staff should be asking specific questions when people come through the front doors. A prearranged script of questions and actions should be provided to these staff and they should be trained in their use.
  • Use an identification system. Lifeguards should know who requires direct supervision or swim testing. Using the familiar stoplight model, the City of Cambridge implemented the "Green, Yellow and Red" system. The city bands children at the cashier desk to identify non-swimmers under 10 who require direct supervision (red bands), those between six and nine who are unaccompanied and require a swim test to remain in the pool area (yellow bands), and swimmers (green bands). Note: those with yellow bands who pass the swim test receive green bands.