Pool Safety, the Importance of Lifeguards, and What to Do in the Event of an Accident3Feb
The summer months are a great time to get out of the house and down to the local pool, beach, or waterpark. However, families must not forget to keep health and safety at the forefront. Water activities put adults and children at risk for drownings, near drownings, and water-related accidents and injuries.
Florida consistently ranks #1 in the nation for drowning incidents among children under five. Further, medical costs for near-drowning accidents range from $8,000 to $250,000. Near-drowning accidents can harm internal organs, cause brain damage, impair memory, reduce cognitive function, and create lifetime handicaps for victims. Serious brain damage caused by a near-drowning accident can cost millions of dollars in medical treatments and overall quality of life impairments throughout one’s lifetime. These are just some reasons why safety must be a top priority at the pool, beach, or water park.
A silver lining that every parent should consider is this: children who participate in formal swimming lessons are 88% less likely to drown than children who do not. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that children should start swimming lessons as early as age 1 to reduce their risk of drowning.
In addition to making sure kids get their swimming lessons in, parents should only take their children to swimming pools, water parks, and beaches that have lifeguards. Lifeguards make a substantial difference in public safety, as they are trained to respond rapidly to near-drowning incidents and prevent fatal drownings. Many have compared the presence of a lifeguard at a pool to wearing a seatbelt while in a vehicle.
Who is Responsible When There is No Lifeguard?
If someone sustains an injury or life-threatening event at a pool, water park, or beach, who is responsible when there is no lifeguard on duty? That depends on a few factors, and one should always consult his or her attorney for more information, as every liability case is unique.
First, parks, beaches, and hotels should post warning signs when no lifeguard is on duty. If they do not, they can be held liable for negligence. But even if warning signs are in place, owners and operators of a location where people are engaging in water activities may still be held liable due to someone, perhaps an employee, carrying out a task around the pool that increases health risks for patrons. (An example could be washing the pool deck with slippery soap and then not setting up a caution sign, or a pool having a lifeguard on duty but not being stocked with necessary life-saving first-aid equipment).
Lifeguards improve safety and overall peace of mind in any water environment. Any place where people gather to enjoy water activities, be it a public beach or a private establishment, lifeguards should be in place to protect people. However, if an accident or injury does occur, families should always speak with an expert attorney whether a lifeguard was present during the accident or not.
Water parks and Beaches
Private waterparks almost always have lifeguards on duty. The best waterparks are those that employ Red Cross-certified lifeguards who can ensure guests enjoy water park activities while staying safe.
Some beaches have lifeguards on duty, but not all. It’s important to check with the city that manages the beach to see if it has a lifeguard on duty before traveling to that beach. For example, Clearwater Beach has lifeguards on duty 365 days per year, but Honeymoon Island State Park, a popular beach destination in Dunedin, does not.
Local Pools, Waterparks, and Resorts that Have Lifeguards
The Greater Tampa Bay area is known for its pools, water parks, and beaches. When choosing a pool for a weekend afternoon with the family in Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, or Hillsborough Counties, choose pools with lifeguards. Several such pools include:
- Skyview Pool. Located in Pinellas Park and just a short drive from St. Petersburg, FL, Skyview Pool is a great place to cool off and recreate with the family on the weekends.
- North Shore Aquatic Complex. The crown jewel of St. Petersburg water parks, the North Shore Aquatic Complex is open daily and offers a wide range of activities for all interests.
- Highlander Park & Aquatic Complex. A Dunedin favorite, the Highlander Park & Aquatic Complex offers an array of activities, water sports, and educational opportunities, all in a comfortable, clean environment.
- Clearwater Beach Pool. Clearwater Beach has been voted the Best Beach in America numerous times, but when the ocean is choppy or cold, the Clearwater Beach Pool is an excellent backup plan. This pool is also located near the Clearwater Beach Library and a set of basketball courts.
- New Port Richey Recreation & Aquatic Center. Built in 2007, The New Port Richey Recreation & Aquatic Center offers various amenities for Pasco County residents and visitors.
- Hernando County YMCA. Located in the heart of Spring Hill, the Hernando County YMCA is a focal point for community support and youth programs, including swim lessons, water aerobics, and swim practice for local swim teams.
- Adventure Island. Located in Tampa, Adventure Island is one of the best-known water parks in the state. The park features dozens of rides, pools, swimming activities, games, and eateries.
In the Event of an Accident
While proper preparation can prevent most accidents and injuries, families should still be prepared if a personal injury occurs at the pool, beach, or waterpark.
In the event of an accident, call 911, ensure those injured receive medical attention, and carefully document everything that occurs. Once the emergency has been properly addressed, seek legal advice for information on damages, liabilities, negligence, medical costs, and other factors related to a water injury, drowning, or near-drowning incident. Call Magazine Law Group today at 727-499-9900 to learn more.
 FDOH. “Drowning Prevention.” Florida Department of Health, 2021. floridahealth.gov
 WP. “New Guidelines Say Kids Should Start Swim Lessons Around Age 1.” Washington Post, 2019. washingtonpost.com
 Red Cross. “Lifeguard & Water Safety Training.” The American Red Cross, 2022. redcross.org
 City of Clearwater. “Beach Patrol.” Department of Parks & Recreation, 2022. myclearwaterparks.com