Will A Nationwide Lifeguard Shortage Affect the Safety Of Your Children For Years To Come?

Empty Lifeguard Chair

There is a lifeguard shortage in the United States that is affecting us now and it could continue long into the future. The safety and well-being of the children and young people in our families is paramount above all things. There are no limits a person won’t go to protect their children. Everyone who has children or supervises children should be aware of the lifeguard shortage and recognize it for the major safety concern that it brings. 

A national lifeguard shortage has left pools and beaches across the country understaffed and, in some cases, shuttered. In New York City, the summer season has been marked by reduced capacity, unannounced pool closures, long lines to get in and the cancellation of free swim lessons. As an example, in late August the pool in McCarren Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn had only half the usual space, as the other side sat empty, blocked by traffic cones and caution tape, according to the New York Times.

Drowning is a serious hazard to all young children and it unfortunately statistically affects children of color at a higher rate. According to the CDC, drowning is the leading cause of injury and death for children age 1-4 years. Drowning death rates were almost 3 times higher among Black children age 5–9 years and almost 4 times higher among Black children age 10–14 years, when compared with White children of the same age. That is why the lifeguard shortage this summer should raise alarm bells for parents to children of all ages for this year and the years to come. 

Because of the Lifeguard shortage, it is imperative that children in New York City Day, School and Summer programs be supervised by employees that are certified or licensed to supervise children. Employees that have experience in education, social work or daycare. The problem is that these individuals aren’t always easy to find and the children attending these programs can suffer for it. If you believe that your child was the victim of some form of negligence at a public pool or a school, daycare or summer program then you shouldn’t hesitate to contact a qualified school negligence attorney today.

What Is The Problem with Our Lifeguard Shortage And How Did We Get Here?

The pandemic is a big part of the blame for the issue. According to the Guardian, the problem is that “a nationwide shortage of lifeguards is forcing local pools across the US to close for the summer, according to reports. In major cities such as New York, Chicago, New Orleans, and elsewhere, public pools are reducing their hours of operation, or shutting down entirely amid an apparent shortage of lifeguards.” The pandemic has really hit the available pool of lifeguarding talent hard. After two straight summers of lockdowns, slowdowns and social distancing, many of the people that were set to take lifeguarding certification classes didn’t get a chance to attend the classes. The pandemic didn’t just shut down the pools and beaches, it shut down the mechanism in which the pools and beaches find and train available personnel. So now we are in a shortage of qualified personnel that can be lifeguards and the summer is too short to train enough people in time.

This has been a long time coming. There has been a decline in the summer workforce for years even before the pandemic. The fact is that there is a lack of available workforce. Lifeguarding was traditionally a summer job for teenagers and college students. There were always professional career lifeguards that worked year-round, but they were typically in middle and upper management. The Gig Economy is a culprit that many experts usually blame for this. According to the World Economic Forum, “Experts believe that teen labor force participation has plummeted for a variety of reasons, including more participation in school activities, working gig jobs not tracked by federal data, rising minimum wages, and an increase in older and foreign workers taking jobs traditionally filled by younger and less-experienced employees.” What this means to the general public is that if teenagers are now spending their summers doing short projects like creating a social media ad for their aunt’s business, then they aren’t going to be working at the local pool. It also means that since the foreign workers haven’t returned because of the pandemic, then we have a shortage in our workforce and it affects the safety of all of our children in New York City.

The biggest issue is that it is predicted that there will be a lifeguard shortage again for next year and maybe the years to come. The problems that led us to this point have not been solved and every parent and those supervising children should be vigilant. There may be no one coming to help your child if they need a water rescue.

Teach your child the following 4 water safety rules:

  1. Reach or throw, don’t go. This rule applies when someone else is in trouble in the water and you need to help them.
  2. If you see something, say something. If you see somebody in trouble, tell a grown-up right away
  3. Stop, look, and listen. Before going near the water, stop and look to see if it is safe. Listen for any unusual sounds
  4. Be a buddy, not a bully. Never push or grab somebody in the water. Be nice to others in and around the water

These are Rules that Every Adult Supervising Children Should Follow:

  • Never leave a child unattended around water, not even for a second
  • If you are at the beach, stay in shallow water where you can still touch the ground
  • Swim lessons save children’s lives
  • Always wear life jackets when on a boat or near open water

Here Is An Example of How Drowning Can Happen to Any Child:

Children must always be supervised around water because even if they can swim, they can still drown. There are many tragic examples of this, but here is one especially poignant case of negligence involving the wrongful death of a child while on a school trip. While on an overnight trip, elementary school aged students were left alone in a motel while the chaperones got together for coffee.  There was a pool at the motel and two of the boys decided to go out and play tag by the pool. They were laughing and rough-housing and one of the boys accidentally fell into the pool.The boy couldn’t swim. His friend could swim and he decided to jump in to help his friend to safety, but since he had no training in any rescue techniques he was quickly dragged down by his friend. Both children drowned. If they had been properly supervised then this heart-breaking incident would never have occurred.

The School Negligence Attorneys at the Law Office of Ross & Hill represented the child who jumped in the pool to save his classmate.  They were able to prove negligence through an investigation with the chaperones, the staff at the hotel and with security camera footage. Nothing and no amount of money can replace the loss of a child, but they were able to recover $2,250,000 for the family.

The School Negligence Attorneys at Ross & Hill believe children injured in any type of accident and their families deserve compensation for their pain and suffering. If your son or daughter drowned or was hurt while enjoying a swimming pool or beach due to the negligence of another, our personal injury law firm is ready to help you pursue a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible.

Please don’t hesitate to call 718-855-2324 for a free consultation over the phone or to make an appointment with a personal injury lawyer in new york who specializes in child neglect cases. Our offices are conveniently located in  in Downtown Brooklyn or Lower Manhattan and our child neglect lawyers can schedule a virtual meeting at your convenience. 

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