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If you've found your way to this blog space you're probably interested in all things waterpark resort and you've come to the right place! Check back regularly for weekly updates from me and don't be shy about sharing your thoughts. To see what our former editor Rin-Rin Yu had to say, vist our Archive (2007 and earlier).

Monday, June 25, 2007

Drowning in Blame

Children dying is one of the most tragic events to ever occur.

Children dying while having fun is even more tragic.

Children dying while having fun, in front of someone whose job is to make sure they don’t die, is probably the worst.

And this is exactly what’s happened in recent weeks. A four-year-old at the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, Va. drowned. An 11-year-old girl on a school trip drowned in a wave pool at Bingemans Big Splash in Kitchener, Ontario. And another four-year-old at the Wilderness Resort in the Wisconsin Dells also drowned.

More disturbingly about the Wilderness incident is that, according to police reports, the lifeguard asked her supervisor, twice, if she should go in after the child, to which the supervisor declined because “guests get angry when lifeguards enter the pool for non-emergency situations.”

Now I’m sure that the Wilderness and other waterpark resorts may have gotten complaints after a lifeguard disrupted guests when he or she went raging across the water to save a child who was actually just playing.

Well, guess what. Some guests are pret-ty angry now that the lifeguard didn’t enter the pool at all until it was too late.

I partially blame the supervisor. Perhaps the supervisor had received lectures about the one-too many exuberant lifeguards racing across the pool to a false alarm. But he should have realized his job, first and foremost, is to maintain a safe environment, not a “fun” environment. That’s up to the other resort staff to do.

I also partially blame the lifeguard. If she had any doubt, as she did, she should have jumped right in. That’s her job.

I then have to blame the parents, who are probably already blaming themselves over and over. But if the child was within an arm’s reach, as is usually recommended or required, they would have noticed something was wrong within ten seconds – enough time to pull their child out and save him.