By USA Management
We have all seen the cliché of the lifeguard sitting in the stand with dark sunglasses, relaxed, a rescue tube nearby and twirling their whistle. The chances are strong that you may believe that is the job of a lifeguard. Well, the times have changed. Newton’s First Law of Motion states that a body at rest will remain at rest, unless an outside force acts on it, and a body in motion will remain in motion. Our understanding of the physiological impact of motion as it relates to water safety and lifeguards has evolved. We believe that lifeguards can help drastically change the drowning statistics using three primary tools.
- Active lifeguarding
- Parents Supervising their children
- Risk management – (Who can/cannot swim)
The overwhelming reality is that nearly 3,600 people unintentionally drown annually in the United States alone. One in five drownings are children under the age of 14. Children between the ages of 1-4 years old are the second leading cause of death. The lifeguard industry must adapt and get Serious On Safety™ (SOS). Research and training enhancements are leading aquatic professionals to embrace a new lifeguarding mantra that is called ”Active Lifeguarding”. What is Active Lifeguarding? A certified swimmer who constantly is in a state of motion enforcing water safety rules and ready to assist patrons that have a need.
A lifeguard’s main responsibility is to enforce water safety rules by encouraging parents to be responsible for their child’s safety. If an incident were to occur around water or at an aquatic facility a lifeguard training is in proving first response to a victim. Parents Supervise – Lifeguards Save Lives! A lifeguards success deeply depends on having a fresh mind and a constant awareness of who can and cannot swim. Children are not the only high risks around water. Many adults are non-swimmers or have poor swimming abilities. Understanding that a lifeguards focus is observing swimmers within their zone requires regular awareness and parental supervision. Historically lifeguards sit in a chair and watch. Now Active Lifeguarding relies on the physical movement of a lifeguard as well as the changing of body position while moving their eyes along every square foot of their zone to maintain focus on each swimmer as well as identifying their highest risk. Each lifeguard should take measured deliberate paces from their station, 20 paces to the left and 20 paces to the right, while scanning their zone. Most importantly a lifeguard must always identify their highest risks and address each risk in a proactive manner. EXAMPLE: If a lifeguard is actively scanning their zone and identifies a non-swimmer without a parent or a guardian providing touch-supervision than that lifeguard would take action by having the identified non-swimmer removed from the water until proper touch-supervision is provided. Lifeguards are NOT “water-sitters”. Active lifeguarding techniques help to keep lifeguards in an alert and ready position allowing them a quicker response time should an incident arise. As the lifeguard actively moves within their station while scanning their zone with full body motion of pacing, counting swimmers, identifying who can swim and locate their highest risk water users breaks up the monotony of a rotation and allows their mind to remain focused on task of enforcing water safety rules. It is imperative for children that cannot swim or are poor swimmers to be properly supervised by their parents at all times! This active approach has drastically reduced the need for lifeguard stands and, in most cases, eliminates the need for one.
Parental supervision and identifying non-swimmers are critical to drowning reduction. As research has shown the majority of drowning victims cannot swim. When patrons enter a swimming facility a lifeguard team cannot assume that patrons will make safe decisions. Furthermore, lifeguards cannot assume that everyone can swim. Due to the aforementioned facts and statistics, it is recommended that all children under 14 years old must be tested to identify their swimming skills. After each child is tested for their swimming skills then each child should be “tagged” and recorded. A red or yellow armband tag usually denotes non-swimmers and therefore must have proper parental or guardian supervision. A green armband tag usually denotes unrestricted swimming and then should be within their parents or guardians site and swim with a buddy (the buddy system). This mandatory screening allows the lifeguard staff to manage the water responsibly by enforcing touch-supervision for non-swimmers. Equally important to incident response is incident prevention. This process of screening and identifying risk empowers lifeguards to be more effective in doing their duty.
These techniques allow lifeguards to make overall risk management decisions on how to safely protect swimmers and non-swimmers in and around water. Facility operators when equipped with these basic principles will be able to structure various areas to allow everyone to enjoy water safely. In order to assist facilities and promote water safety awareness in communities signage and literature should be visual posted and engaging to help explain these important methods. To help promote water safety awareness aquatic facilities should have proper signage and literature to help explain the importance of these methods. Educating children and making parents aware of the dangers in and around water will help empower your lifeguard staff. Watch Around Water™ (WAW) is a good resource to use in helping raise awareness for the safety of children in and around water. Understanding that the solution to attacking the drowning statistics starts with awareness and compelling parents to be accountable for their children, especially around water. The old adage that “Safety starts at home” is very true. The undeniable solution for risk management is to test all children under 14, properly identify swimmer and non-swimmer, label them properly to allow for easy identification, mandate parental supervision by enforcing touch-supervision, support the buddy system (no swimming alone), and finally implement Active Lifeguarding practices for your lifeguards/first responders to manage swim zones in an alert, focused, motion driven, actively engaging water scanning routine.
by Eun Kyung Kim and Molly Palmer / Jul.30.2018 / 4:29 AM ET / Source: TODAY
Bode Miller and his wife, Morgan, continue to grieve over the drowning of their 19-month-old daughter, but the couple have opened up about the tragedy’s painful details to prevent similar heartbreak from striking other parents.”There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t pray for the opportunity to go back to that day and make it different. But now we have this opportunity to make other parents’ days different,” an emotional Morgan Miller told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie in the couple’s first public interview since the accident.
Nicole Hughes lost her 3-year-old son on the same day as Morgan Miller lost her 19-month old daughter. Now, the two moms have teamed up to help raise awareness of drowning risks. They hope to get the American Academy of Pediatrics to launch a campaign to increase parent awareness about how and when drowning occurs.
Tatiana Hernandez introduced her son to swimming when he was just three months old because she didn’t want him to become another drowning statistic. “In South Florida it should be mandatory that all children should learn how to swim,” she said. Florida routinely leads the nation with the number of drowning deaths among children aged 5 and younger, so the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the Baby Otter Swim School co-hosted an event Saturday at the Pompano Beach Aquatic Center to teach kids how to stay safe in the water. Marlene Bloom started teaching very young children how to swim over 40 years ago when she was told her 2-year-old daughter was too young to learn. Read more….
STAMFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – An unprecedented criminal case is unfolding in Fairfield County, Connecticut.A lifeguard, credited with saving a young boy’s life, is now being charged for putting him in danger. Read More
FALMOUTH – A heartbreaking scene in Falmouth early Saturday afternoon after a child reportedly nearly drowned in a swimming pool. Rescuers rushed to the Cape Cod Campresort & Cabins at 17…
Dutch swimming union KNZB is calling for obligatory swimming lessons for asylum seekers, following the drowning of a 16-year-old Syrian boy in a swimming pool in Venlo on Monday. The union doesn’t necessarily want every asylum seekers to get a swimming diploma, but “every child must get compulsory experience with water and swimming”, Alice Schols of the KNZB said to RTL Nieuws.The boy who drowned yesterday was a refugee from Syria. According to the broadcaster, pool staff warned him to get out of the water several times. He died after being taken out of the water in critical condition.He isn’t the first young refugee to drown in the Netherlands. In June a 13-year-old boy drowned while swimming in the Waal. And two years ago a 9-year-old Syrian girl drowned shortly after a swimming lesson at a pool in Rhenen. Read more…
The federal government is making 15,000 more foreign workers available to employers, but pool managers likely won’t benefit.
By Nate Traylor
The Dept. of Homeland Security recently raised the number of H-2B visas from 66,000 to 81,000 this fiscal year, deepening the talent pool for U.S. employers in need of seasonal workers. But with swim season winding down, pool management firms say it’s too late in the game to benefit.“There wouldn’t be any employees who’d want to come here for just a month,” said the representative of a pool management company who wished to remain anonymous. (These firms often speak on the condition of anonymity, citing concerns about competition.)That echoes the sentiments of many other seasonal industries that feel the expansion is well intended but ill-timed. The program permits non-skilled, non-agricultural foreign laborers to work short-term in seasonal industries, and it can take up to 90 days for applications to be approved. Read More…
Twin brothers Torrence and Thurman Thomas have turned their marketing savvy and music connections into a nonprofit that has funded swimming lessons for nearly 1,000 children over the past six years.In 2011, the 27-year-old brothers, who are musicians as well as digital content producers, wanted to contribute to society in a positive way. They formed Tank Proof, an organization that relies on corporate sponsorships and private donations.“We are musicians by trade, but we wanted to give back,” Torrence Thomas said. “We thought of swimming lessons, and we have more and more kids sign up each year.”Tank Proof focuses on children who may not otherwise have the opportunity to receive swimming lessons. According to the YMCA, 70 percent of minority children do not know how to swim.“We wouldn’t have started Tank Proof if it weren’t for being in the music industry,” Thurman Thomas said. “We saw other musicians giving back, and we wanted to have qualitative and quantitative results. First we thought maybe we’d do something like a music clinic, but then we thought about swimming lessons.” READ MORE…
Nico Payne Posted: Jul 25, 2017 11:50 AM MST Updated: Jul 25, 2017 12:16 PM MST EL CENTRO, Calif. – The city of El Centro received funds to help provide free or reduced cost swim lessons for children.
The USA Swimming foundation awarded the grant as part of the Make a Splash Grant Foundation.During the hot summer months many people take to the pool to keep cool, but if you don’t take the proper safety precautions swimming can be very dangerous.News 11 spoke to city officials and a swim coach on why swim safety is so important in the desert southwest.
(CNN)Five teenagers who taunted a drowning man while recording his death from afar may face criminal charges, a Florida police chief said Friday.Cocoa Police Chief Michael Cantaloupe said Friday he will recommend the state attorney prosecute the teens under a statute that requires a person with knowledge of a death to notify a medical examiner. The state attorney will decide whether to file the charges, which would be a misdemeanor under that statute.The chief’s statement was a shift. Authorities previously said the teens wouldn’t be charged because Florida does not have a law that obligates a citizen to render aid or call for help for anyone in distress. Read more…
Teaching children to be safe around water is a necessity, not a luxury. That’s why Florida Blue plans to donate a significant grant to YMCA of Florida’s First Coast in support of its drowning prevention program– ‘Safety Around Water.’ The support will allow the YMCA to provide free swim lessons to more than 800 additional children on the First Coast. At a state-wide level, Florida Blue’s assistance will benefit more than 5,000 children. Drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1 to 4-years-old and is the second leading cause of death for children from 5 to 14-years-old. Florida Blue will make the official grant announcement Tuesday, July 18, at the Winston Family YMCA. As new details are released, WOKV will update this story.
This summer, swim safelyCOMMENTARY /// Water safety
Cooling off in a pool, lake or ocean is a great way to beat the heat—but there can be danger.Drowning is a leading cause of death in children under 14. One reason is that 70 percent of African American and 60 percent of Hispanic children don’t know how to swim, the USA Swimming Foundation reports. Minority children are also less involved in competitive swimming when compared to their white peers, comprising only 1 percent of USA Swimming membership.Some of the reasons include: