This Ain’t No Safety Dance

Hello swimmers, sunbathers and water balletists,

The pool opens this weekend. And the first pool weekend of the year always brings with it a few familiar things: your first pair of lost goggles, delicious hot dogs at the pool BBQ and a bunch of reminders from the LFSC Board. This note, though, is not the average list of safety reminders that we send out each year. Why? Because this is the one that you all actually need to read. We ‘re not going to dance around this issue. We all need to be focused on safety. Not just the lifeguards. Not just the board members. All of us. Following are a few points we would like to emphasize:

Code word “Rabid Raccoon”
We all play an important role in keeping each other safe and well at the pool. Yes, we have lifeguards. But we also have each other. Please speak up or take action if you see something unsafe. If you saw a rabid raccoon lurching out of the bushes, you would never worry about “interfering” or “speaking up” or being “too busy to mention it.” So, if you see an accident waiting to happen, if you see a tired swimmer, if you see dehydration or a bad sunburn in progress—whatever it is—don’t be shy. Speak up. Its SAFETY FIRST and everything else second at LFSC.

Our precious darling perfect children
Of course, we all have precious perfect darling children who never, ever misbehave. But on the rare occasion that your child is momentarily possessed by an alien life form and misbehaves at the pool, the lifeguards have the full backing and support of the LFSC Board in the case that they need to discipline your child. If you would like to discuss the disciplinary choices made by the lifeguards, please direct your comments to a member of the board. The lifeguards need to know that they have the discretion to speak to a kid or pull a kid out the pool without a parent becoming all “angry birds” on them. The board has asked the lifeguards to check in with kids and pull them out if they think that a kid might be getting tired or just need a break. The lifeguards may hit the “pause” button on a fun and rowdy game just as a way to check in and make sure everyone is OK. This does not necessarily mean that kids are being punished. Please talk to your kids about keeping themselves and their friends safe in the water and please remind them to listen to and respect the lifeguards at all times.

It is OK to bring the helicopter on at the pool
There is something about the pool that turns the most obsessively attentive, hovering helicopter parents into, well, the parents we all grew up with. I blame the sun. And the chlorine. And how cute we all look in our bathing suits. I am the first to admit that it is so easy to get distracted, have a chat, answer a phone call, and lose track of where my kid is at the pool. Even if your kids are strong swimmers, keep an eye on them. This is always important but particularly so in the first few weeks back in the water. For those of us who haven’t been swimming since Labor Day 2014, we do not have a lot of stamina in the water.

If your children are not strong swimmers, they are allowed to wear a USCG-approved flotation device. They are NOT allowed to wear water wings. Water wings are never, ever allowed. Your arms are not the part of the your body responsible for respiration so we are not really concerned about them. It is the head and neck we care about. If your child requires a flotation aid, you must be within arm’s reach of them at all times. If your novice swimmer is practicing with a kick-board, you must be in the pool with them.

She’s gone off the deep-end now!
Well, that happened a long time ago. What can I say? If your children or your guests want to join me in the deep end of the pool, they must pass a swimming test. No one is saying they have to be Katie Ledecky, or even look pretty doing it, but guests need to check in with the lifeguard and they may be asked to demonstrate their swimming ability. If you feel weird asking your guests to check in with the lifeguard, well, then, OK, I see your point. We wouldn’t want you to feel weird now, would we? JUST CHECKING TO SEE IF YOU ARE PAYING ATTENTION! We don’t care if you feel weird! We don’t care if you actually are weird. What we really care about it that everyone is safe. So, to be clear: all kids have to pass the tadpole test and all guests need to check in with the lifeguard before going into the diving well.

We are looking forward to a wonderful summer season at the pool. If you have any questions, or need any assistance, please feel free to contact me or any member of the pool board. All board member contact info is on the pool website, which can be found at: www.littlefallsswimmingclub.com.

Safe swimming,

Cathy Stocker
LFSC Board