Lifeguard Requirements for 15 Year Olds – FLSA Child Labor Laws


The Fair Labor Standards Act permits employers to hire minors 15 years of age and older as lifeguards. 29 CFR 570.34(l) It limits, however, the type of lifeguarding activities a 15 year old may perform. The limitations on lifeguard activites of 15 year olds is discussed below.

Fifteen year olds may perform lifeguard activities at traditional swimming pools and water amusement parks when they have been trained and certified by the American Red Cross or other certifying organization in aquatics and water safety. Lifeguard activities at water amusement parks is limited to wave pools, lazy rivers, specialized activity areas that may include water falls and sprinkler areas, baby pools, and similar swimming or water activity areas. Fifteen year olds may not work on the elevated areas of power-driven water slides either at traditional swimming pools or water amusement parks. They may be stationed, however, at the splashdown pools at the bottom of power-driven water slides. Natural environment facilities such as rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, quarries, reservoirs, wharfs, piers, canals, and oceanside beaches do not fall within the definition of either traditional swimming pool or water amusement parks; thus, 15 year olds may not perform lifeguard activities at any of those locations.



Permitted lifeguard duties for 15 year olds inlcude:

  • rescuing swimmers in danger of drowning
  • monitoring activities at poolside to prevent accidents
  • teaching water safety
  • providing assistance to patrons
  • maintaining order and cleanliness in the pool and pool areas
  • giving swimming instruction (if certified by the American Red Cross or other certifying organization as a swim instructor)
  • conducting or officiating swimming meets
  • administering first aid
  • checking in and out items such as towel and personal items
  • using ladders to access and descend from lifeguard chairs
  • using hand tools to clean the pool and pool area
  • testing and recording water quality for temperature and/or pH levels, including using all the tools necessary in the testing process including adding chemicals to the water sample

Lifeguard duties 15 year olds may not perform include operating or tending power-driven equipment and entering or working in any mechanical room or chemical storage areas, including areas where the filtration and chlorinating systems are housed.
29 CFR 570.34(l)


Age certification

Employers who employ minors are not in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s child labor laws if they keep on file unexpired certificates of age for each minor employed which shows the minor is the appropriate age for the work being performed, even if the child turns out not to be the appropriate age. 29 US Code 203(l)(2); 29 CFR 570.5(a); 29 CFR 570.38; 29 CFR 570.121 For more information, visit our page on Age Certificates.