Spending time at the local pool is a tradition for many neighborhoods. Whether your kids take a few dollars and their bicycle to the local pool or you go with the whole family on weekends, you trust the pool management and lifeguards to have rules and a routine to make sure everyone stays safe both in and out of the water. But every now and then, something really bad happens. A child slips on the slick pavement, someone tumbles over the deck chairs or, worse, a child nearly drowns and the lifeguard is slow to respond. If you, your child, or someone you know has been seriously injured or was in a life-threatening situation at a local pool, it’s natural to want to get to the bottom of the issue and seek compensation for any medical costs that resulted.
However, it’s very important to understand whether you should be looking into the lifeguard who was on duty or the pool management itself who made the policies for both swimmers and lifeguards. There are situations where an adult professional lifeguard really was negligent and that can be the cause of poolside injuries and trauma but all too often, the blame really lies with pool management and the policies they set for their teen summer lifeguards.
Being a lifeguard is one of the classic jobs that teens can get over the summer and is one of the few ways younger teens can earn money at all. Inexperience, lack of physical strength, and insufficient training can make it difficult for teens to perform their lifeguard duties even if they are vigilant and respond quickly. However, not every teen lifeguard is in peak condition, is paying attention, and many don’t even want to be lifeguarding. When parents force their kids to get summer jobs or when teens are desperate for cash, they become subject to the whims of pool management and you might be surprised how abusive this can become. In many cases, the faults of a teen lifeguard can be directly blamed on exploitative policies that actively get in the way of their ability to be good lifeguards.
For a lifeguard to be alert and able to properly do their job, they need to stay hydrated, keep their head in the shade, and take more frequent breaks than most occupations because they are out in the sun. A properly run pool should have lifeguards switching out every 15 to 30 minutes with cool water delivered to an active lifeguard every five to ten minutes. However, when pool management cuts corners, your teen lifeguards could be suffering from heat stroke and exhaustion far worse than any kid playing in the water. Bad pool management practices are notorious for denying lifeguard breaks and lengthening shifts beyond advisable lengths, especially when they understaff to safe money or even one lifeguard calls in sick.
This is especially dangerous for teen lifeguards who may not feel they have the right to stand up for their rights and personal safety. Most teens, especially those who have summer jobs, are still inclined to obey authority and do what they’re told, even if what they’re told is bad for them and their swimmers.
If a lifeguard was slow to respond to the needs of you or your child, or if their efforts seemed feeble in response to the emergency, it might be because they are victims of bad pool management as well. When lifeguards are forced to become dehydrated and overheated up there on their platform chairs, everyone is at risk. If you are conflicted by the prospect of suing a teen or their family, make sure to look closely at the faults of the pool management as well. Reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer and they can help you investigate the pool’s history of lifeguard treatment and other injuries they have allowed to happen. For more information about how to move forward with pool injury and drowing compensation or to consult on your unique experience, contact us today.