Changing room policy
Swim England has been asked by many clubs to clearly state what responsibility the club
has for young members under 18 years in changing rooms before, during and after
training or an event or competition.
Under the duty of care to safeguard children, the club has a responsibility for the
wellbeing of children in the changing rooms.
This does not mean that parents have no responsibility, but parents are often not in
the pool complex at the time when children are swimming and training to exercise
their duty of care. For this reason, clubs must be clear to parents under what
circumstances they require parents to remain at the pool throughout a session. For
example, with young children who require assistance with changing, or for those
children with a disability who may require additional help that the club is unable to
Responsibility during a club session
The view of Swim England is that while a child is training or being taught, they remain
under the responsibility and duty of care of the person who is teaching or coaching
them at that time. If a member goes out of the pool area, the coach or teacher should
be aware of this. If the child fails to return within a reasonable time, or appears to be
upset upon leaving the poolside, the coach/teacher should request a suitable official
to check on them. It is best practice for two persons to look for the member (the
second person could be a senior member or a parent).
If a complaint is received about an incident that has occurred in the changing room
between a member of the club and any other person, the club has a duty to act upon
that concern as appropriate. If the incident involves a person not associated with the
club, the pool manager should be made aware and consideration given as to
whether the statutory agencies need informing.
Swim England is currently working with the CPSU, ASA Facilities Team and commercial
facility providers, to try to encourage pool providers across the nation to separate the
sexes of school-age children in mixed changing villages.
We strongly recommend that clubs engage locally with pool providers to create
simple barrier systems, or make use of natural barriers between cubicles (e.g.
lockers, etc.) to enable mixed changing villages to be used as separate changing
areas for either sex. This is likely to help prevent the crime of any covert use of
cameras or phones, etc. by one person on another of the opposite sex.
Information for parents regarding changing facilities
1. Ensure that parents are made aware that changing facilities at venues may
be shared by both club members and members of the general public.
2. Ensure parents are made aware of the type of changing room in use ie.
Separate for male and female or mixed changing villages.
3. Ensure that the behaviour of members in changing rooms is part of the
member’s code of conduct and any behaviour contracts, where
4. Masters (adult) members should be encouraged to use their own area
wherever possible, when changing at the same time as children. Where
this is not possible adults are to be reminded to change in an appropriate
fashion, and to be mindful that they are changing with children.
5. Ensure parents are aware that they should not be in the changing room
whilst the children are changing, unless their child is of an age where help
is required from parents or if the child requires additional specific
assistance. This is generally at an age that is stipulated by the pool
hirer, usually seven or eight years of age. In such circumstances, the
parent must be the same gender as the child, unless the facility has family
changing facilities or is a mixed changing village.
6. When organising an event where other clubs or schools are involved,
ensure that parents and competitors are advised (via the event
information) whether or not the facilities are likely to be open to the general
public at any time during the event.
Swim England do not advise adults to supervise changing facilities as that places them and the
children at risk of allegations of improper behaviour and a precedent that could potential lead
to children being put at risk.