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Know the Difference: Why Is Swimming in a Pool Different to the Sea?

Know the Difference: Why Is Swimming in a Pool Different to the Sea?
10 July 2014 1565 Views No comments

All adults know that there is a difference between the sea and a swimming pool. Children, on the other hand, aren't always aware of the differences between swimming in the sea and heading to a pool. Ensuring that your little ones know how the two differ is important to keeping them safe.

So, what should you tell your children when it comes to swimming in the two different places? There are several things you should make sure you cover so that they enjoy their time in the water but also understand that certain behaviour is needed.


When swimming in a pool, it is easy to feel how quickly the depth changes as the gradient of the floor changes. This, coupled with the fact that there are edges your children can swim to if they find themselves out of their depth, means that the experience is much more secure.

In contrast, you can never tell how quickly it is going to get too deep when swimming in the sea. The depth will change several times throughout a single day, as the tide and currents alter the sand formations.

While you should make sure that your children know not to go out of their depth in either situation, you should ensure that they understand how quickly the situation can change when swimming in the sea.

Tides and currents

While some swimming pools may have wave machines, the reality of water movements when in the sea is very different. Not only do your children have to cope with waves, but they will also experience changes in the tide and currents.

It is a good idea to find out what the situation is on the beach you are visiting before you head off. This way you'll know if there is likely to be any strong currents or if the tides are going to change so that you can tell your children, but also so that you know when they might want to avoid the water.

The feeling of swimming in the sea can also be very different, as the movement of the water isn't just caused by other's movements. If your child isn't used to it, they might benefit from added buoyancy – such as the Original Konfidence Jacket – to give them a bit more confidence in the sea.


While things can occasionally get dropped in a swimming pool that could pose a risk to your child's feet, the majority of the time this isn't an issue. However, when swimming in the sea, your child could encounter rocks, shells and wildlife that could hurt their toes.

Rocks are usually the biggest problem, but in most areas you can avoid any rocky patches and ensure that your children know not to play in specific areas on the beach. You can have them wear waterproof shoes or Paddlers when they're younger in order to provide some protection, whereas older children will usually be more careful if they know the risks.

In terms of wildlife, there are very few things in British waters that are harmful, but having fish brush against your leg unexpectedly can be a bit of a shock. Teaching your children about the small sea life they might encounter can help them to enjoy the experience, rather than have it scare them out of the water.


There is very little risk of slipping over when on the beach. Unless you are walking on wet rocks, you are generally safe from falling and hurting yourself because sand is very yielding – not to mention soft if someone does fall down.

However, pools tend to be surrounded by tiles or concrete, both of which are incredibly slippery when wet. This means it is unsafe to run around pool areas, as it can result in serious injury. Instilling the importance of walking carefully around a pool in your children can help them to avoid getting hurt.