An alarming number of drownings occur in lifeguarded swimming areas, where one might presume swimmers are protected from injury. One reason drownings occur in lifeguarded swimming areas is because lifeguard surveillance is a highly difficult task. Observational research suggests lifeguards are usually alert, but researchers also report egregious examples of inattention. We offer three strategies that have initial empirical support to reduce risk of drowning at lifeguarded swimming areas: (a) regular training to help lifeguards recognize they are vulnerable to drowning events and to raise their confidence; (b) regular practice via simulated emergency responses, and (c) addressing staff schedules so lifeguards can devote full attention to protecting swimmer safety while on duty.
J Inj Violence Res. 2010 Jan; 2(1): 1-3. doi:10.5249/jivr.v2i1.32
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