Lifeguard Shortage

Speaking of swimming, seasonal pools in Tallahassee are now open for the summer, but as kids are diving into the popular pastime, city officials say they are in need of lifeguards.

Here's more on the shortage as well as some tips for parents.

Mother of three Michele Burkhead leaves little to chance when her family heads to pools in Tallahassee.

Michele says, “You can't rely on lifeguards. It's good their here, but ultimately it's your responsibility.”

Burkhead says she's with them every step of the way, trying always to stay within arms reach. Aquatics officials say unfortunately many parents do the opposite.

Barbara Law, Tallahassee Aquatics Supervisor, says, “It’s really the parents responsibility. You should never assume they're fine just because they've had swimming lessons or are comfortable in the water.”

But passive parents aren't the city's only problem. Right now Tallahassee pools are operating with 100 lifeguards. They need at least 20 more.

Amy Coburn, a lifeguard for six years, says, “It impacts lifeguards because we have to work long hours hope to get more because it hurts morale, it’s a fun job.”

For information on upcoming lifeguard certification classes call 891-3865. Candidates should be responsible, motivated, enjoy the sun and people-oriented. Extended Web Coverage

Children and Swimming Pool Safety

Never leave a child unattended in the water or pool area for any reason.

Don't be distracted by doors, phone calls, chores or conversations.
If you must leave the pool area, take the child with you, making sure the pool gate latches securely when it closes.

Always keep your eyes on the child or children. Designate a child watcher, whether you or someone else, when you attend a party or have friends or family over.

Talk with baby-sitters and other caretakers about pool safety, supervision and drowning prevention. Post rules such as "No running," "No pushing," "No dunking" and "Never swim alone." and enforce the rules.

Don't depend on swimming lessons or "floating toys" to protect children in the water.

Don't assume that drowning couldn't happen to you or your family.
Don't get a false sense of security just because you think your pool area and home are secure.

Always watch your children, whether in the house or outside.

Attend a CPR class. Make sure your baby-sitter knows CPR. Post CPR instructions and the 9-1-1 emergency number in the pool area.

Keep lifesaving equipment, such as a pole, life preserver and rope in the pool area. Hang them from the fence so people won't trip on them.
Don't allow children to play in the pool area.

Remove all toys, or anything a child might want to go in after from the pool area.

Have a phone handy to the pool area. Do not use the phone while your children are in the pool; use the phone only to call 9-1-1 should a problem occur.

Encourage your neighbors to follow pool safety guidelines, including keeping their gates and doors locked, and their pool gates securely closed and latched.

Make sure they don't have lumber or other things stacked against a pool fence. A kid could easily use those things to gain access to a locked pool.

Here are some startling statistics:

  • 60% are children ages 6 months - 4 years old.
  • 75% drown in their own swimming pools.
  • 85% drown at the victim's or a friend's home.
  • 75% of the time the attributed cause is poor supervision & no pool barrier.
  • In 77% of child drownings, the child was out of sight for 5 minutes or less.
  • Most Kids under 6 were being supervised by one or both parents.
  • Most Kids are found in their own pool with their clothes on.
  • This summer have fun, but please don't let your kids become another statistic.

Source: Contributed to these safety tips.