10 ways to know your child is water safe


Ensure your child is water safe by sending them for swimming lessons from an early age. If they can perform the 10 tasks below, you know the swimming lessons paid off.

But even if they are water safe, never leave children to play in the swimming pool unattended, as they can slip and fall or bump their heads. Remember, you're the parent.

Age 4 years and older:

  1. Enter water safely from a sitting position on the side of the pool.
  2. Hold on to the side and move to a safe area to exit while holding on ("walking" with hands), leave the pool unaided.
  3. Jump into the water (minimum 0.9m) and push off from the bottom of the pool.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to turn a complete circle in the water, whilst remaining vertical with both feet off the bottom.
  5. Return to the side unaided from a distance of at least 2m using arms and legs.
  6. Pick up a clearly visible object from the bottom of the pool, unassisted (at a depth of about 1.2m).
  7. Mushroom float (5 seconds) – extend to front float position – recover to stand.
  8. Star back float (5 seconds) – recover to stand position.
  9. Push on side and glide on front (face in water blowing bubbles), kick holding glide position from a distance of 5m, breathing on need, stop and regain stand position. If the pool is too deep to stand, regain vertical position and tread water. 
  10. Push from side and glide on front (face in water blowing bubbles), regain standing position at completion of glide. If the pool is too deep to stand, regain vertical position and tread water.


All bodies of water should be treated with respect and considered dangerous, even by experienced swimmers. Due caution must always be practised when children are exposed to water. 

A child that successfully complies with the above could be regarded as water safe under normal, non-stressed circumstances. Being water safe does not necessarily mean that a child can swim. Swimming implies co-ordinated movement of arms and legs and rhythmic breathing.

Additional to the above 10 points, the following safety and rescue procedures can be added:

  1. Enter fully clothed, tread water, turn around and return to the side. Exit unassisted and undress.
  2. Demonstrate the correct procedure to follow when helping someone in a pool that seems to need assistance. 

Read more:

Is your child water safe? Tell us by commenting below.

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