Safety is Our Highest Priority
All ages are welcome at the YMCA of Greater Seattle. To ensure that everyone has a safer and enjoyable visit, we’ve established guidelines for activities children and teens participate in.
Watch this short animation for an overview of our policy
Facility Age Guidelines at the Y
These guidelines are based on Washington’s Safe Start guidelines, state and local regulations, and best practices for similar industries across the country. Our leadership team reviews these guidelines twice a month to ensure they are up to date with the latest COVID-19 safety protocols, including temporary closures to some areas of the facility. Learn more >
Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, children and teens who are 13 years old and younger may need to be accompanied by a Supervising Adult during their visit. We consider a supervising adult is a person who is:
- At least 18 years old,
- On the same membership as the child or teen they are supervising, and
- Living in the same household as the child or teen they are supervising.
If the Supervising Adult is not the parent of the child or teen they’re supervising, a parent or guardian must be listed on the membership too.
What does "supervising" mean?
In this policy, supervision means that the Supervising Adult maintains constant visual and auditory oversight of the child or teen at all times.
A Supervising Adult must remain in the same area of the facility as the child or teen unless the child or teen is checked into a class or program instructed by Y staff. This guideline includes our lobby space. For example, a child who is not checked into a class or program cannot wait in the lobby while their Supervising Adult finds parking.
Requirements by Age
We follow these guidelines unless noted otherwise in the "Special Requirements by Facility Area & Activity" section later on this page.
Ages 9 and younger
- No access unless registered for an in-branch program for families, such as Family Recreational Swim, or a class or program instructed by Y staff, such as swim lessons.
Ages 10 to 13
- Access to the above plus reservation-based activities, including lap swimming and use of cardio equipment, when accompanied by a Supervising Adult.
Ages 14 and older
- No Supervising Adult required; open access to the facility unless otherwise noted.
There must be a waiver on file signed by an authorized individual for all members, participants, and guests before access to the facility is granted. Members, participants, and guests under 18 must have a waiver on file signed by a parent or legal guardian. Learn more about waivers >
Guest access is currently suspended due to COVID-19 safety protocols.
Special Requirements by Facility Area & Activity
Some areas of our facilities, including the pool, have special requirements based on age and ability.
Pool and Lap Swimming
Use of the pool area may depend on a swim test. The swim test includes a deep water plunge, swimming 25 yards without resting or stopping, and a 30-second tread or float.
For lap swimming, we ask that children and teens from the same household share a lane with each other or a Supervising Adult unless the Supervising Adult chooses not to swim.
Ages 10 and younger
- If the child has not passed a swim test, the Supervising Adult must be in the water within arm’s reach of the child. If the child has passed a swim test, a Supervising Adult is not required to be in the water.
Ages 11 to 14
- Same as above EXCEPT the child or teen may use the shallow end of the pool without a Supervising Adult even if they do not pass the swim test.
- For lap swimming, children and teens must pass the swim test in order to participate.
Ages 15 and older
- Teens may use all pool depths. If they exhibit lack of comfort and/or stand flat footed at the deepest level, they may be asked to pass a swim test.
These guidelines apply to all locker rooms and bathrooms, including men’s, women’s, and family. Access to these spaces may vary due to COVID-19 safety protocols.
9 and younger
- A Supervising Adult must be present in the locker room with child at all times.
10 and older
- No Supervising Adult required
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I supervise more than one child or teen at a time?
Yes, you can supervise more than one child or teen at a time as long as you are able to maintain constant visual and auditory oversight of them for the duration of their visit.
While my child is in a class or program instructed by Y staff, am I allowed to leave the building?
Supervising Adults are required to remain on our property in case of emergency. Our property includes inside the facility and outside the facility in our parking lot. If you’d prefer to wait in the parking lot during this time, please ensure that our staff has reliable contact information for you on file.
Do children have to wear masks?
We require masks at all times, indoors and outdoors, for those ages 5 and older. We strongly encourage children ages 2 to 4 to also wear a mask in the common spaces of the facility.
Do children and teens need their own reservation?
Yes, in order for us to manage building capacity we require that children ages 10 years and older have their own reservation. A Supervising Adults must remain in the same area as child or teen during their visit.
Do I need my own reservation as a Supervising Adult?
If you are a Supervising Adult for a child or teen who is lap swimming, you do not need a reservation at this time. We will provide a place for you to sit on the pool deck while they swim.
If you are a Supervising Adult for a child or teen who is using our cardio or strength equipment, we ask that you do have your own reservation. Our cardio and strength areas are typically smaller than our pool deck, so making a reservation helps us better manage capacity in the area and maintain social distancing.
Why can't my child use strength equipment and free weights?
Safety is our highest priority, always and especially now, so we are taking extra precautions to keep members safe at any age. At this time our Healthy Living experts do not feel it is safe for children ages 10-13 to use our strength equipment due to the nature of the equipment and limited staff availability to supervise usage. We appreciate your patience as we slowly phase in more activities for children.
What equipment can I bring to my pool reservation?
Check out answers to questions like this and more on our Know Before You Go Swimming page in our Welcome Back guide.
Last updated on January 18, 2021.