Are you sure the lifeguard can save your child if they are struggling in the water?

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News4Jax had an interesting article on its’ website on a topic that I had never thought about.  I have always assumed the lifeguard who is at a public pool has the training needed to save my child if they get in trouble in the water. Channel 4 has found that is not always the case.  They know the warning signs that would tell you that they lifeguard isn’t as well-trained as they should be.  According to the YMCA, a lifeguard’s head should move from side-to-side to show he or she is scanning the pool while on duty.  YMCA lifeguard instructor Stephen Morton says a lifeguard should be moving their eyes from the bottom to the middle to the surface to make sure there is no one on the bottom, middle or surface of the water.  In addition, lifeguards should never be talking to anyone else while they’re sitting in a chair.  It’s too distracting.  Also, they should routinely practice what they would do if someone gets into trouble in the water and have an emergency plan.

Questions parents should ask include:

  • What is the plan?
  • Are the lifeguards trained in CPR?
  • Who will call 911?
  • Is there an automated external defibrillator in case someone has a heart attack on the pool deck?
  • Do the lifeguards know where the AED is located and how to use it?
  • Is the lifeguard certified.

Here are some more things for parents to watch for as they observe the lifeguards.

  • Lifeguards should rotate out of the chair every 30 minutes or so to help keep them fresh and alert.
  • Lifeguards should not be crossing their legs or slouching in the chair. They should always look attentive, sitting forward and watching intently, added Morton.

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