The Top 3 Safety Tips Lifeguards Want You to Know
While lifeguarding may look like an easy, sit-around-with-your-feet-up summer job, it can actually be high-strung and full of pressure. After all, a lifeguard is responsible for keeping children – and adults too!– out of harm’s way. Lifeguards must be alert at every moment and keep their eyes on swimmers in case something happens.
With all of that time spent keeping people safe at the pool, lifeguards have unique insight into safety mistakes people tend to make. Here are a few insider tips from former lifeguards on what to be aware of during your next swim outing:
- Drowning doesn’t look like drowning: Surprisingly, TV reenactments of drowning can be far from reality. You might think someone would start flailing their arms and shouting for help, but most drowning victims are silent with their head barely above water. Of the more than 3,500 people who drown every year, 20 percent are children under the age of 14. If you’re not absolutely certain that your child is capable of swimming and treading water, head into the pool with them.
- Don’t assume someone else is watching your kids: Lifeguards have to watch all swimmers in the vicinity, meaning they can’t be counted on to keep a close eye on unattended children. Losing sight of your own young kids can be dangerous, so make sure you don’t get distracted if one of your little ones is playing in the water (even the shallow end).
- Actually read the posted rules: All pools are required to have visible signs listing the rules – make sure to take a look at them before getting in the water. Besides asking swimmers not to run, pool rules can tell you things like how old your kids have to be to swim unaccompanied, where you’re allowed to eat and drink in the pool area and what to do if there is lightning.
Taking precautions ahead of your trip to the pool can be lifesaving. Remember, pools and bodies of water are fun and a great way to cool off in the summer, but staying alert and aware of your child and surroundings is essential for safety.
Photo Credit: Tangi