Written By Sam Mackay
It never leaves you, once a lifeguard always a lifeguard! I started my teaching career as a lifeguard trainer. In fact its what led me to starting KeepaBeat all those years ago! Even though I no longer work as a lifeguard I can not sit by a pool and switch off, it doesn’t matter if its lifeguarded or not I am always in lifeguard mode, holidays, trips to the local pool for a fun session you name it I always have that awareness that water is not your friend. Just a few seconds is all it takes to change a life, a families life forever. So the RLSS (Royal Life Saving Society) Drowning Prevention week is something that really resonates with me.
My daughter is 9 now and unfortunately, for medical reasons she was unable to learn to swim until recently. As a former swim teacher and lifeguard this made me twitchy. I always wanted her to learn early as its such an important life skill. One that really can help to save your life!
I made it my mission to teach her about water safety (in a way that didn’t scare her into not wanting to learn to swim) and also anyone that looked after her too!
Think like a lifeguard - From now on you are your families lifeguard!
Look for dangers, look for hazards, reduce the risk!
Children can drown in as little as 2cm of water! So its important that you keep your homes and gardens as safe as you can!
- Never leave a child unsupervised around water
- Keep ponds and swimming pools/hot tubs out of reach - either cover them or put a fence with a lockable gate around them
- Once you have finished with water play empty the paddling pool and store upside down so it does not collect water
- Turn hosepipes off so children can not fill pools and vessels up
- Teach children not to run around swimming pools or near to the edge of a pond
- If there is an emergency how will you get help? What is the emergency services number in the country you are in?
- Where possible always swim when a lifeguard is on duty
- Swim with your child and keep them within arms reach
- Never use inflatables in open water as they can easily be swept away by tides and currents
- Check depths of the pool and how/where they change
- Beaches - check when the tide will be high and low, be aware of dangerous rip currents
There is some fantastic recourses to help teach your family on the RLSS website that can be found here