As we prepare for the surge of summer pool party bookings it is customary for our staff to search the web to see what others are doing and recently we stumbled onto something that caught our eyes and attention. The particular item that we found raised some very serious safety concerns that need to be addressed and pool party hosts/planners need to be aware of.
So what was it that caught our attention? A few local lifeguard providers are offering what is being called “Fun Guards” or “Game Guards” which is a lifeguard who will jump into a pool and swim with the kids as well as play pool games with the kids. Sounds great huh? Not so fast! Please allow us to educate you on why this not a good idea.
First of all, the role of lifeguard is to ensure the safety of swimmers and guests through proactive monitoring and surveillance in and around the pool to prevent injuries or drowning. This requires the lifeguard to be attentive and undistracted while on the deck. It takes a great deal of focus to accomplish this at all times while on the job.
We understand that having a lifeguard jump in a pool with kids to interact with them and even play games with them sounds like a great idea but the truth of the matter is that it is never a good idea for a lifeguard to do this. There are several reasons for this:
- If the lifeguard is in the pool or playing games with the kids. There is a good chance he/she may not be able to see a child in distress or drowning. It is very hard to see the entire pool from the water and many pools have blind spots depending on the time of day and weather conditions.
- If the lifeguard is in the pool or playing games with the kids and a child is injured/drowns, the lifeguard and homeowner could be civilly or criminally liable for death/injury. Remember that it only takes seconds to minutes for a child to drown and often times goes unnoticed.
If you find a company that offers this, run! This will put you in a difficult spot and if something should happen, you will be caught up in years of litigation. You would be better off hiring a separate company for kid’s games either in the water or outside the pool area.
As a general rule, a lifeguard should never play games with the kids however there are alternatives available. We frequently get asked if our lifeguards can run games or play with the kids in the pool which our answer is no. Instead we offer separate pool party game coaches that allow them to work independently apart from the lifeguard on the deck. This means the lifeguard can do his/her job without leaving the deck and being distracted. Our game coaches know how to run safe pool games and proactively work with the lifeguard to ensure total safety but also making sure the kids have fun.
Our policy here at Golden State Lifeguards is that all lifeguards must be on the deck at all times and walking around the perimeter of the pool to ensure he/she has eyes on all activities. Our lifeguards are prohibited from sitting in a chair. As a result of this policy, we have been able to prevent injuries and to monitor swimmers more effectively.
We all know how easy it is for a child to drown and we work very hard with our entire staff to mitigate any injuries at pool parties.