By Rachel Hoeing
Summer is here and no doubt many of you will be spending long days at the pool. If you have never been a lifeguard, you may be surprised to find out that there is much more to the job than just getting a tan. I asked local lifeguards the most important things they would tell parents and kids this summer. Enjoy the helpful, funny and sarcastic replies below.
1. We love to watch you keep trying to coax Little Johnny into putting his face & hair under the water, while you sit on the side with a completely dry head. Monkey See, Monkey Do. If momma is afraid to get her hair wet, why in the world would Johnny put his head under water?
2. When we implement the rule of no floats in the pool, it is not to be mean. We often cannot see around the float or under the float where a small child may be in trouble. Children can also get caught under a float very easily.
3. We can see everything from the top of that lifeguard chair. And we mean everything .. PDA in the water, pulling out wedgies, sneaking food & drink into restricted areas … you name it.
4. Please don’t talk to us while we are in the lifeguard chair. A simple question or comment is one thing, but hanging out for fifteen minutes telling us about your recent trip to Florida is very distracting while we are trying to literally save lives.
5. Stop running!!!
6. Only one bounce on the diving board. More than one bounce means loss of balance and a fall from the side of the board. This can result in broken bones if landing on the pavement and many scraped and bruised body parts that hit the diving board itself. One bounce.
7. When dropping off your child for swim lessons, rub that sunscreen in way before they jump in the pool. Trying to hold a slippery little kid who is wet and coated with fresh sunscreen is tough!
8. Feel free to discipline your own children. Lifeguards have many jobs at the pool, but disciplinarian should first be the job of the parent.
9. When you eat or drink by the pool, please clean up your mess and throw your trash away. Ants and bees don’t just happen to show up toward the end of the summer for no reason. They are attracted to the junk that has been left for the past month. We will do our best to clean up, but simply throwing away a cracker bag or candy wrapper helps tremendously.
10. We are sorry the lounge chairs are wet after last night’s rain, but we are unable to dry off each chair before you take your seat. We’ve got a pool to watch!
11. Drowning is not loud. There are not a bunch of panicked splashes. Drowning is quiet. Children entering a pool with a gradual incline in depth can easily bounce or walk to an area that suddenly becomes too deep. They will simply stand or float there with their mouth and nose submerged, unable to breathe.
12. Stop sneaking in guests! You are only hurting yourselves by taking away income from our facility where we are saving up for improvements. Is it fair that you pay to be a member while others come in for free?
13. Please, please, please do not let your little kids jump backward off the wall into the pool. This almost always results in them banging their chin on the pavement. We have seen many injuries and stitches because of this.
14. When you see us out in public, please don’t say “Oh, I didn’t recognize you with your clothes on!”
15. Lifeguards love treats … cookies, muffins, snacks … just sayin.