How to keep your child with autism safe in swimming pools, lakes, splash pads and other venues for summer fun

Swimming and water activities are great ways for your child to enjoy the summer, but make sure safety comes first. If possible, start by registering your child for swim lessons. The YMCA offers adaptive swim classes that might benefit kids with autism.

In addition to swim lessons, follow these swim-safety tips:

  • Supervise children in the water at all times.
  • Tell children never to run, push or jump on others around water.
  • Make sure children are always within reach.
  • Do not overestimate a child’s swimming abilities.
  • Be aware of nearby pools and bodies of water.
  • Do not leave toys in or near a pool or body of water where they could attract children. Remove any items such as empty buckets, large containers and wading pools.
  • Install safety devices in or around your pool, such as fences with latching gates, an anti-entrapment drain cover and a safety vacuum-release system.
  • Keep rescue equipment, including a telephone and emergency numbers, by the swimming location.

Swimming is just one of many ways kids with autism can play in the water. Whether your child is playing in a bathtub, a kiddie pool, a splash pad or an ocean, be sure to take proper safety precautions.

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We recognize that every child is unique and that the content of these articles may not work for everyone. This content is general information and is not specific medical advice. We hope these tips will serve as a jumping-off point for finding the best approach to helping a child with autism. Always consult with a doctor or healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about the health of a child. In case of an urgent concern or emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department right away. Some physicians and affiliated healthcare professionals on the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta team are independent providers and are not our employees.