Defining “Youth” as a numerical age

Defining “Youth” as a numerical age. Most youth serving organizations today are faced with the difficult decision of defining the numerical age “Youth” may be allowed to be without adult supervision in the facility. As part of a comprehensive Youth Protection Policy, your organization should specify what age a youth member or participant must be under direct parental or adult supervision, and ensure that it is consistently adhered to everywhere in your facility and in all programs. Our last blog discussed this topic as it related to sign-in and sign-out procedures, but what numerical age is your facility using to define “Youth” and how does it relate to your swim testing and open swim policies. The following are suggested guidelines:


  • Anyone 13 years-old and younger or that the lifeguard has concern about should be tested.
  • Anyone under 12 years-old (or whatever the facility rules state) needs to have an adult in the pool area.
  • Anyone under 6 years-old must have an adult within arm’s reach in the water.
  • Non-swimmers(as shown by test or who do not take test) are restricted to shallow area of pool.
  • Non-swimmersmust wear PFD in the shallow area if the water depth is more than arm-pit deep.


How is your facility addressing, defining and enforcing this difficult decision?

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