by Rob Cox, June 1, 2011
Lifeguard! Put down the Phone and No One Gets Hurt!
We recently had to fire one of our pool lifeguards this year, only 2 days into the summer. She could not sit in the lifeguard stand without the comfort of her cell phone. She knew the rules, but could not resist the device connecting her to a world outside of the pool.
Lifeguards or any person supervising the swimming of others ~ texting, talking, loading apps or surfing sites while supervising is NOT proper swimmer supervision.
Just as these wonderful devices have created tragedy on the highways and parking lots of America, young swimmers have drowned beneath the diverted eyes of a lifeguard who could not disconnect from their device.
In a pool in Ireland last year, a Dublin boy drowned beneath a lifeguard who later admitted texting in a hearing. The family of the victim welcomed a suggestion banning life-guards from using mobile devices while on duty.
Also last year, Willie Batee, a swimmer at Holiday Shores Club House in Wisconsin drowned while lifeguards were distracted by their cell phones. Batee’s body was not pulled out for over an hour. Large judgments were awarded for negligence in both cases.
Let’s watch our lifeguards – any seen using a cell phone, for any purpose, other than dialing 911, should be immediately reprimanded – if not discharged and replaced. Texting lifeguards have caused only a small number of drowning thus far, but a preventable drowning is a preventable drowning.
Help spread the word to your congressman, city council member or pool board member to ban the use of cell phones while in the guard chair or while on duty. And remember this at your own backyard swimming pool -
PROPER ADULT SUPERVISION OF SWIMMERS DOES NOT INCLUDE: