Another chorus of outraged voices that a child almost died at a city pool. Her cousin saw her at the bottom of the pool, dragged her out and yelled for help. The lifeguard performed CPR and the child was, thankfully, conscious by the time the paramedics arrived. The overwhelming reaction by the public? Fire the lifeguard! The lifeguard wasn’t paying attention! It’s the lifeguard’s fault! Bad lifeguard!
But wait a minute. What exactly is a lifeguard’s responsibility? First clue – it’s not free babysitting. Lifeguards are well-trained to constantly scan the water, to watch for signs of distress, to stop potentially dangerous activity and, if someone is in danger, to rescue the person and to perform CPR and basic first aid until the paramedics arrive. As with any job, some lifeguards are better than others, but most take their responsibility very seriously. Lifeguards are NOT there to babysit your kids while you talk with friends, text, catch up on e-mail, read a book or work on your tan.
Keeping your child safe requires layers of protection no matter what the situation. Keeping kids safe from traffic accidents? Speed limits, rules of the road, driving tests, seatbelts. No one thing works, it’s everything working together that keeps kids safe. It’s the same with water safety, there has to be layers of protection. Teach your child water safety. Teach your child to swim. WATCH your child whenever they are in the water. Protect your child, learn CPR because accidents do happen.
Take responsibility for your own actions and your own children. It’s not the lifeguard’s job to watch your child, it’s yours.
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