By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest
There are many distractions at a community pool or beach. That is one reason why lifeguard instructors and pool managers recommend short rotations and enough lifeguards on hand to adequately oversee the water. Lifeguards should keep a sharp eye on the bottom of the pool and the swimming area of a beach to make sure that no one stays below the surface for too long.
Recently, a six-year-old boy was found at the bottom of a pool during a swimming lesson. He was rescued and is now in a coma. This tragedy serves as a horrible reminder that while lifeguards are a critical component of water safety, parents and caregivers must also remain vigilant watching their children at a pool.
Stay in the Water with Your Child
Pools can be dangerous places, particularly for small children who can’t swim. Lifeguards often find that children go into a pool without their parents. Because lifeguards can become distracted, it is imperative for parents and caregivers to try to stay within an arm's reach of their children when they're in the water.
Watch Your Children during Swimming Lessons
Many parents will drop off their children for swimming lessons, thinking they are in good hands with a professional swimming instructor and a lifeguard on duty. But swimming emergencies happen surprisingly fast. Even with several adults watching kids in the water, emergencies still happen.
Parents should stay near the pool to watch their children during their swimming lessons. That way lifeguards and instructors will have another pair of eyes on the water and can help if a child gets into trouble. More importantly, parents should remain near their children if their kids are not strong swimmers.
Use Only Coast Guard-Approved Lifejackets on Your Kids
There are many floatation devices on the market. Many swimming facilities, however, require that all children wear Coast Guard-approved lifejackets. These safety devices are preferred because they work very well to keep swimmers safe.
Ultimately, it is important for parents to respect the water and to understand that it can be a dangerous place for children. By understanding the dangers and taking the appropriate precautions, parents and guardians can prevent swimming injuries or fatalities.
Photo credit: GJ Cosker