Do Wading Pools Need Lifeguards?

Filed under: Opinions

Regular swimming pools always have lifeguards on duty. We like to mock them for their small red shorts, white noses (due to the zinc oxide) and general resemblance to the characters on Baywatch. But, as we all know, lifeguards, well, save lives. Yep, that kid with the pimples and whistle has actual training and could one day save your life or that of someone you love. Now a council in the UK wants to put lifeguards on wading pools, too, or have the pools -- known as paddling pools in UK-speak -- shut down.

Most wading pools are eighteen inches deep or less. As we all know, however, an unattended child can drown in an inch of water from a bath. Mixing kids with water is no laughing matter. Officials in South Wales would agree, and are asking that eight paddling pools in Carmarthenshire be given lifeguards or drained. Parents and counselors are criticizing the move. I guess they think eighteen inches is safe enough or that the kids will be supervised well enough to not need addition pairs of (trained) eyes. Attendants have always been on duty at these wading pools, but they are not trained in life-saving techniques as the proposed guards would be.

Practically speaking, I assume money plays a role in whether or not this rule gets passed. Who will pay for these additional lifeguards? There may be no budget for it, in which case the pools would close. I assume the taxpayers would not support the salaries either. As a parent of small children, however, I would want lifeguards at the wading pools and would be willing to pay additional money for them. Of course, I would still be watching my kids like a hawk but it would be nice to think there were extra eyes on my baby. Most drowning accidents involving children seem to result from the caregiver becoming distracted, so I'd rather err on the side of caution -- or over-caution! -- and have the guards on duty.

What do you think? Is it going too far to require wading or paddling pools to have trained lifeguards on duty?

Should wading pools have lifeguards?
Yes - water is dangerous!111 (50.9%)
Maybe - it depends on the situation.70 (32.1%)
No - wading pools are perfectly safe.37 (17.0%)

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.