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As pools begin to open, lifeguards share tips to keep your kids safe

Indy Parks lifeguard
Posted at 2:36 AM, May 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-18 11:39:25-04

INDIANAPOLIS — As splash pads and pools across Marion County begin to open to the public, the city's aquatic director is offering some tips to make sure you're ready for fun and to keep your kids safe.

Indy Parks and Recreation splash pads open this weekend and pools across the city will open to the public over Memorial Day weekend.

"You need to be aware of a lot of things," Indy Parks and Recreation Aquatic Director Jess Hart said. "The first thing I would say is always be aware of is your guards. If your guards are not watching the water, then it's not a safe pool. also, lifeguards are not glorified babysitters. Make sure that you're also watching the water and watching your child and not absorbed on your phone or with a book or just suntanning. It should be a family experience."

Hart says a person drowning often looks like they're trying to climb an invisible ladder.

"Their eyes are gonna be really big, they're gonna be like kind of climbing up," she said. "They're gonna be vertical in the water, they might not yell for help. A lot of times we think arms flailing and people going, oh, let me help me, that's really very rare more often than not, they're going to be quietly going down, which is why it happens. You can have someone right next to you drown, and you don't even realize it."

Hart says hypothermia in younger children is more common in the early months of summer. Heat strokes as it warms up, but be on the lookout for anything abnormal.

"Sometimes you'll see them trying to like quickly move to the side of the pool, their color is gonna be off. So they might be gray or ashy, they could be a little bit green, if it's a if it's a diabetic emergency. more often than not, they might get a glass and look in their eyes," she said.

Indy Parks and Rec says more than 200 lifeguards have been hired and they have even more in training.

Jordan Elder says last year, lifeguard shortages were a struggle, but not this year.

"This year, my team and I, we thought strategically, and we planned ahead," Elder said. "We started back early, early way back in 2022. Honestly, getting the hiring out there efforts out jobs posted. and we honestly have seen the fruits of our labor pay off their numbers wise are looking way better than they did in last year and the year before."

Greenwood Parks and Rec says it's fully staffed with 80 lifeguards, Noblesville with 50 an Carmel Clay says they have nearly 100 lifeguards on their staff - but they're still hiring more.

Indy Parks and Recreation still has approximately 50-60 positions still open.

"Submit an application, we'll have a park manager reach out to you. We'll get you into a little testing class to see if you can swim. If not, we'll get you in a train up session, and then we'll get you enrolled into a CPR class," said Elder.

The YMCA says it's also short lifeguards.

  • It has a $250 sign-on bonus for hourly aquatics positions.
  • Lifeguards (age 16+) $13.25+ an hour.
  • Swim instructors (age 15+)
  • Assistant swim instructors (age 14+)
  • Free Y membership
  • 20 hr/week free child care while working
  • Flexible hours
  • Free lifeguard training provided

The city of Indianapolis is offering $15 an hour for lifeguards.
You can apply by visiting the city's website