A story we ran on WHOI-TV this week has been very upsetting. A 13-year-old boy drowned in the central Illinois city of Bloomington. He was found at the bottom of the deep end and the coroner says he was there for several minutes before anyone saw him. There were 46 kids in the pool for a Boys and Girl's Club event and one lifeguard.
I have no idea the circumstances surrounding this case and would never pass judgement, but I was surprised to learn this fact: According to the Department of Public Health in Illinois, the state only requires one lifeguard per 100 kids. Is that reasonable? It sounds like a lot of kids for one person to watch. What if more than one of them drowns at the same time? What do you think about the requirements? What would be a reasonable ratio if your child was at a pool party?
According to the Drowning Prevention Foundation, 19% of drowning deaths occur at public pools where lifeguards are present.
In 2004, an average of nine people per day died by drowning according the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.