by Rob Cox July 2, 2014
Anybody that is responsible for children around a swimming pool should know a few important supervision skills to keep the kids safe. Pool owners have an inherent responsibility to practice lifeguarding at home.
Active Adult Supervision is a term we have used on this blog before, and refers to being watchful and attentive, as a lifeguard should be.
Here's a rundown of skills and methods of supervising swimmers - that may save a life!
- CPR: If you've never taken a class, or if it was years ago, time to learn best practices. CPR is useful not only around the pool to resusitate drowning victims, but for those who are in cardiac distress, anywhere you are!
The American Red Cross and the American Heart Assn have local CPR classes in most metro areas, you can even take an online course. There are also many good videos online, demonstrating proper CPR methods. CPR has changed in recent years, so brush up on this valuable lifesaving skill!
- RESCUE: How to pull someone safety - seems easy, but there are skills necessary to prevent being pulled under. Having and using rescue equipment, like a ring buoy, or reaching pole is preferable to jumping in, especially in open water. Children can also be hurt by a heavy adult jumping on them.
Have a plan of action for giving aid to injured swimmers, or assisting struggling swimmers. How will you get them out, and where will you lay them? Who will call 911?
- FIRST AID: I'm not talking about putting on a band-aid, nor the kind of pool first-aid that comes in a bottle. But what should you do if a guest dives head first and sustains a neck or spinal cord injury? Broken collarbones or dislocated shoulders are not uncommon injuries among unsafe swimmers. Scrapes and burns on the body can result from sudden impact with rough plaster.
Having some first aid skills and supplies handy can prevent further injury and speed recovery. Knowing when to call 911, without delay, is another valuable skill for first responders.
SCANNING: Constant scanning of the pool while supervising is an obvious lifeguard practice. And obviously, scanning would preclude things like reading, sleeping, texting and general inattention. Like driving your car, if you take your eyes of the road for one second, tragedy can strike.
- BREAKS: Lifeguards don't watch the pool for hours on end, or most don't anyway. A busy pool rotates the guards in shifts of being in the chair, manning the desk, or doing other maintenance tasks. Make sure that you also take a break, by pulling swimmers out of the pool every hour for 15 minutes. Take care of tasks that need attention, relax and recharge for a few minutes, with all young swimmers out of the water.
- RISK PATTERNS: Recognizing risk patterns is a term describing the behavior of a struggling swimmer. It's not like in the movies. Drowning is often silent, especially with young people, or injured persons. If under water for longer than 15 seconds, or if body movements are frantic (or very still), be ready for rescue.
- POOL RULES: Set safe and reasonable rules for all users to abide by.
- No extreme jumping into the pool (off the slide, fence, roof or tree).
- No diving into the shallow end.
- No hyperventilating, which could cause shallow water blackout.
- No dunking or holding people under water.
- No running.
- No glass.
- No alcohol.
- No swimming alone.