Backyard Pool Parties – what to do with no lifeguard on duty

Backyard pool parties are a fun way to cool off and enjoy the summer.

However, when you decide to host a pool party, be aware of the risks. Did you know that 15 out of 100 child drownings in Canada are occurring in backyard pools? reports, “In 70 percent of child drownings in backyard pools, the pool has no fence or has a fence that does not adhere to safety bylaws.” They also add, “Sixty per cent of child drownings occur between June and August.”

In 2011–2015, 36% of drowning deaths among children aged 1 – 4 years occurred in private backyard pools according to the 2018 Canadian Drowning Report – Lifesaving Society.

One way to ensure your pool party is both fun and safe is to hire a lifeguard.

Drowning deaths in lifeguard supervised settings such as public pools and waterfronts continue to be few. In 2009-2013 less than 2% of all water related fatalities occurred in a lifeguard supervised setting.

What happens if you can’t hire a lifeguard?

Follow these 5 steps as a Designated Water Watcher!

1. Get a Fox 40 whistler and put it on a wrist band

2. Appoint an adult to take on the role as the Designated Water Watcher (DWW), or 2 or 3

3. Give them the whistle on the wrist band, and some special item (hat, armband, or T-shirt) that signifies that they are the DWW

4. They must only watch the pool.  If/when the pass the responsibilities to someone else, they must pass on the whistle and the DWW item on to the next DWW.

5. Responsibilities are: To supervise, Enforce the rules, Keep the area clear, select a back-up person (someone specific to help if there’s a problem) Respond to an emergency, Know the address of the location.

Now you’re ready to host your fun and safe backyard pool party!