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Summer Safety: Parents Should Take Extra Precautions at the Pool

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FAYETTEVILLE — Another hot, humid day means another day in the water for thousands of children and their parents. But the day can end in tragedy if parents are not careful.

Pools and water parks are favorite summer spots for many families; they can also be dangerous. Who is responsible for your children's safety in private pools and parks?

Parents and lifeguards are responsible for a child's safety at most pools. Other than watching your child like a hawk, the best thing a parent can do is make sure there are enough lifeguards around.

Lifeguards are paying close attention to what's going on. They say first and foremost, parents should keep an eye on their children -- especially the younger ones -- atalltimes.

"Lifeguards don't care about my kids as much as I do and they have a lot of kids to watch and I just have mine," says parent Jill Fietsam. "I'm very aware of what my kids are going to do, their limits and so I'm just a lot more comfortable watching my own."

"We sit right on the side with them the whole time," says parent Dawn Bryant. "They are here because you see how many children are here today. It's hard for them to watch everybody at the same time."

Most city, county and private pools followAmerican Red Crossstandards and hire only certified lifeguards.

Those lifeguards are trained in infant, child and adult CPR, first aid, drowning prevention, rescue and spinal injury management.

Even the most highly trained lifeguard is not necessarily a good one.

"Go to the pool and just look around at the lifeguards and see how they're doing their job, if they're really paying attention or if they're just relaxing," says pool manager Mike Sublett.

As far as how many lifeguards should be on duty at any given pool or lake, there is no standard ratio for swimmers to guards.

Pool managers say the size, shape and depth of the pool should determine how many lifeguards are on duty.

Pools do have a capacity limit and it is up to the owner to make sure there are not too many swimmers in the pool at one time.

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John McDonnell, Reporter
Doug Bricker, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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