Young Boy Drowns at Guarded Pond

In this case study, an Aquatics Expert was requested to determine if the certified lifeguard on duty was properly supervising a local swimming pond.

A church group held a picnic at a local swimming pond owned and operated by a municipality. While the group gathered in the picnic pavilion, children went to the nearby pond to swim. A young boy wanted to swim with his playmates and an older youth in the group offered to watch the young boy for his parents.

Although there was a certified lifeguard on duty, he was ill-prepared to protect these children of tender years. Adults in attendance noticed that the lifeguard talked and texted on his cell phone while on duty. Testimony indicated he was not supervised during the summer. When the child was reported missing, he was reluctant to perform a water search and incapable of organizing the adults to conduct the same. The child was eventually found submerged in shallow water, in close proximity to the lifeguard on duty.

This case settled with a significant amount being awarded to the family of the deceased.

Two lessons that were learned in this case:

  1. Just because a lifeguard is certified, doesn’t mean the lifeguard is qualified. Lifeguards today need constant supervision and on-going, in-service training while employed as a lifeguard.
  2. Life jackets should be worn by non-swimmers in ALL bodies of water including swimming pools, ponds, and lakes. There has yet to be any evidence of a child drowning while wearing a proper fitting life jacket

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