I have visited a few pools this summer. One thing that always strikes me as odd is how often there is no lifeguard presence during rest breaks. I firmly believe this is a HUGE mistake. When customers are told the facility provides lifeguards, that means the whole time-not 45-50 minutes of an hour.
Over the past few weeks (during rest breaks), I have observed small children swimming on their own and people throwing each other into the pool. All while there is no lifeguard on the pool deck to intervene. A good practice is to have a supervisor observe the pool during rest breaks.
While on the topic, are rest breaks required? The simple answer is not in most areas. We cannot figure out where or how rest breaks started. It is one of those things that are now legend and nobody can remember how rest breaks came to be. Some reasons we have heard include:
- Allow time for kids to use the restroom and prevent water borne illnesses
- Gives small children time to rest
- A chance for kids to re-hydrate and not drink the pool water
- To give lifeguards a break
- Present a time to put on sun screen.
- So pools can sell concessions
Whatever the reason you choose to have rest breaks, a lifeguard still should be watching the pool at all times!