The question that many people are asking online is why can’t you dive into a pool? But I believe a better question is when can’t you dive into a pool? I’ll do my best to answer both questions in this article because it’s definitely an important topic, especially for those looking to build or buy their first pool.
You cannot dive into a pool that isn’t at least 8 ft. deep because of the increased risk of head, neck, and spinal cord injury. 8 ft depth is the regulation enforced by the Department of Health while the American Red Cross puts their recommendation at 9 feet deep.
Pools are broken into two different categories by depth, Recreational Depths, and Diving Depths. Any pool that reaches the depth of 8 ft deep is then considered a diving pool and can even have a diving board attached. This does not eliminate all injuries but it greatly reduces the likelihood of a diving injury in your pool.
Let’s “dive” into some more specifics about diving pools and proper diving depths so you can make the best decision on which pool is right for your family and home.
How deep of a pool do you need for safe diving?
As mentioned above, you need an 8-foot deep pool for safe diving. The most common diving pools are made from concrete and are typically large in sq. ft. for the pool to reach that depth. Typically, you’ll see diving pools start at 16’x36′ or 20’x40′. There are some diving fiberglass pool options out there as well.
Above ground pools will never be diving pools and you can never dive into an above ground pool. I highly recommend anyone with an above ground pool to take a look at an expandable liner that can increase your pool depth to approximately 6 feet deep. This doesn’t allow diving but in my view, it is a step towards preventing injury from accidents and mishaps which we all know happen.
Why is diving not allowed in above-ground pools?
Diving is not allowed in above ground pools because zero above ground pools in the world reach an 8 ft depth. There are some pools created by Doughboy pools and radiant pools that have a special expandable liner that will reach 7 feet deep. This depth in my opinion is really perfect for jumping and adding some jumping rocks into the 7-foot-deep area of the pool. But, it will never be adequate enough for diving, not even for children.
If you are like me, you can recall your times swimming in an above ground pool as a kid. Did you dive? Yeah, so did I. As an adult now, we can see how reckless and dangerous that is. That is why if I did have an above ground pool, I would no doubt build a deep end in the pool with an expandable liner. Even if you don’t go for the more expensive doughboy and radiant models that can reach 7 feet deep, there are expandable liner options that you can put into any model that will give you a depth of 72″ along the wall.
This does not mean that with this liner you or your children can dive, but what it does is give some safety wiggle room for any instance when an adult’s back is turned and children/teenagers decide not to listen. Most accidents happen in pools that are 4 ft deep or shallower which is the exact average depth of the normal above ground pool. Even 6ft deep won’t reduce all of the possibilities of accidents but it helps your odds as a pool owner.
It is estimated that 800 spinal injuries happen annually in the United States from swimming and 90% of those accidents happen in water depths less than 6ft deep.
What can happen when you dive into a shallow pool?
The most common injuries from diving into a shallow pool are head, neck(cervical spine), and spinal cord injuries. These injuries are typically classified as compression or flexion-compression injuries.
How to prevent kids from diving into the pool?
It’s incredibly difficult to stop kids from diving into a pool. As I mentioned earlier, I did it all the time as a kid and I’m sure you did too. I’m an advocate of doing our best to educate and take the proper precautions to stop diving but also the steps to reduce the odds of injury when building out the pool.
Steps You Can Take To Prevent Kids from Diving:
- Educating your children on the seriousness of the risk of injury in a respectful manner
- Reward children after a day of playing when they follow the rules
- Post Large and Recognizable No Diving Signs
- Always Supervise Children in the Pool
How to Reduce the Odds of Injury from Diving
- Monitor and Reduce Alcohol Consumption
- Build a Specific Area of the Pool for Diving at 8ft-9ft deep
- Build your pool at least 6 feet deep to provide wiggle room for accidental and misjudged behavior
- Place Jump Rocks at the Deepend of the Pool to provide quick acknowledgment of where the deep end is located
Where Can you Buy No Diving Signs?
There are a lot of options that you can quickly order on Amazon if you are looking for a no-diving sign. I recommend getting as big of a sign that is clearly readable. There are some cooler and more trendy designs out there but I think it isn’t appropriate. The reason behind getting the sign is to prevent a serious life-threatening injury so looking cool and blending in with the atmosphere of the pool should take a backseat to our priority of preventing injury.
You want to get a sign that is clear to children especially to make them understand that there is no diving at all in this pool. Owners of above-ground pools that have a deck around the pool should pay special attention to this and get multiple signs placed so that this can not be missed by children or even adults who might be caught up in having a good time.