Backyard pools should be inspected at least annually by the pool
owner or by an NLS-certified lifeguard recruited by the owner. Use
the Society's Backyard Pool Safety Inspections Guidelines
with the Backyard Pool Checklist. If the inspection is
positive, owners can download our Backyard Pool Inspection Certificate.
On Guard Card
The Lifesaving Society's new On Guard Card reminds parents that
someone must be watching children near water with focused attention
at all times. The On Guard Card designates the pool safety
supervisor - if you wear the card you're on guard. Individual cards for $7.60 or 25 for
Watch the video.
Water Safety Tips / French / Chinese
Woman receives $4 million in pool accident
A Hamilton woman, who became quadriplegic at age 15 after
sliding into her family's backyard pool in a crouched position, was
awarded $4 million in damages from the slide's parts supplier in
2008. The judge ruled the manufacturer should have warned her to
slide feet first: a precaution that would have prevented the
Backyard pool owners have a responsibility to provide a safe
environment. Ensure bathers are educated about safe practices and
pool manufacturer warnings. These can be expressed on signage and
by telling bathers in advance. If you fail to do so, and an injury
or death occurs, you can be prosecuted for not operating your pool
with a reasonable standard of care.
Enhance safety in your pool (or your neighbour's pool) by using
the Society's Backyard Swimming Pool Checklist, available on our
website. Or ask a NLS-certified lifeguard to complete the
inspection. Those who do will receive the Society's Backyard Pool
Safety Inspection Certificate free. Call your local pool for help
finding a lifeguard to conduct this inspection.
The Lifesaving Society has other resources, too. Our
Backyard Pool Safety Guidelines outlines steps owners can
take to enhance safety around their pools including fencing and
equipment. We sell water-quality testing products to monitor
chemical levels such as free-chlorine and bromine. The Society's
"Within Arms' Reach" brochure and DVD provide safety tips.
Backyard pools remain the number one location
where children under age five drown (31%)
The biggest risk factor is lack of supervision from parents or
caregivers. Almost all young victims were alone when they became
immersed in water.
The Lifesaving Society believes you must control and restrict
access to the pool area with layers of protection and closely
supervise these fearless toddlers - "if you are not within arms'
reach, you've gone too far."
Fencing law breaks new ground
In May 2008, Toronto City Council revised a bylaw to require all
new in-ground pools to be enclosed by a permanent four-sided fence;
or, where the wall of a building forms part of the swimming pool
entrance, the use of a self-closing and self-latching door is an
alternative to a fourth fence.
This is in contrast to most North American municipalities that
require only a three-sided fence (with the fourth side being the
house). Safety experts, including the Lifesaving Society, strongly
believe this is insufficient to prevent toddlers from inadvertently
accessing a backyard pool when the door is left unlocked or
"With three-sided fencing, you are protecting all of your
neighbours' children from coming into the pool area, but not the
children in your house," said Barbara Byers, the Society's public
education director. And backyard pools are the number one location
for drownings of children under the age of five. Four-sided fencing
that isolates the swimming pool from the home is widely
acknowledged as the most effective strategy to prevent such
drownings because it does not require human interaction to work -
it is always in place.
The most stringent swimming pool enclosure regulations are those
in Queensland, Australia, where regulations require compulsory
four-sided fencing on all outdoor residential pools, irrespective
of when the pool was constructed.
The Lifesaving Society encourages all backyard pool owners to
fence in their pools on all four sides and to ensure the pool gate
is: securely fastened, self-closing, and can be locked when the
pool is not in use. Backyard pools should be inspected at least
annually by the pool owner or by an NLS-certified lifeguard
recruited by the owner.