Ideas for safety at Aquatic Center worth looking into

During Tuesday’s Marietta City Council meeting, Councilwoman Cindy Oxender said she was looking into potential federal funding for better and increased signage and other safety measures at the Aquatic Center. If such funding is available, she should, by all means pursue the improvements.

But Susan Joyce, public facilities office manager for the city, hit on something important in reviewing safety policies and training for those working at the water park. She suggested a policy change that would increase the minimum age for a supervisor of children at the facility. She noted a child who nearly drowned there last week had been under the care of a teenaged babysitter.

It is possible increasing the minimum age for those accompanying young children to the center will lead to better monitoring and make it safer –and the change should be considered.

But the bottom line is age makes no difference if those charged with providing supervision to children are simply not paying attention. Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce found the lack of supervision to be such a problem at that city’s pool and Splash Pad that he was forced to add a dedicated — paid — supervisor to the area “because of a lack of parental supervision.”

Lifeguards at the Aquatic Center do a fantastic job. In fact, it was a 16-year-old lifeguard who had pulled the young boy out of the water and begun CPR before doing as training dictated and turning the effort over to a person who had identified herself as a nurse (and therefore someone with a higher level of training that likely saved the boy’s life).

But they do that job with the hope that parents and other guardians who have brought young children to the pool are keeping an eye on those kids — as they should be.

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