PSA: Lifeguards Aren’t Babysitters

This is a problem I face every single day. I am a lifeguard. While it is my job to watch you and your children to keep you safe, is not my job to soley watch your children. I have 150 other people in this pool that I am also responsible for. So if you think I’m watching just your child to make sure that nothing happens to them, you are wrong. I do my best to keep them safe. I will gladly yell at them if they break a rule but they don’t always comprehend or listen to me. I am after all a stanger. But I guarantee they will listen if you the parent are there yelling at them too. It also helps having more than just my eyes on them.

Pools are dangerous. Just because you send them in the pool with floaties, doesn’t mean something bad won’t happen. They could fall off,  the child could get stuck in a current, or the child could be abducted. Why would anyone want to risk that? If you wouldn’t send your 3-year-old to a park alone, why would you send them into a pool alone? Drowning is more common than people like to believe. Most of the time an accidental drowning could be prevented had there been an arm to pick them up nearby.

Let me tell you about the two different facilities I work at.

At the one that I seem to have all the above problems with, most of the parents send their child off on their own while they suntan or check their phones. How do I know this? because after the 1- 3 saves at this facility daily, that’s where we find the parents most of the time. They don;t even know that they were drowning because they are paying no attention at all.

At my other facility, we have 1-3 saves yearly. How is this so?  The parents take responsibility for their young children. They enter the water with them, life jacket or not. They sit on the edge of the pool, to make sure the kids stay in the shallow end. When my co-workers and I yell at a kid, the parent listens and then yells at the kids next time, preventing us from repeating ourselves.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and I do it very well, but oftentimes people make it harder than it needs to be. When you enter the facility, you and your family become part of my responsibility.  I’ll do my part to keep you safe, but you need to do your part as well. Overall, your kids are YOUR responsibility and should be your number one priority. I have 150 number one priorities which spreads me a lot thinner.

I know I don’t often complain, but this needed to be said. I want everyone to be able to have a fun, safe summer. I would hate for tragedy to strike when it easily could have been prevented.  A near drowning is traumatizing to young children.

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