Distracted parents a growing problem at Cleveland-area pools

Lifeguards warn parents to pay attention

INDEPENDENCE, OH (WOIO) - We've had a few nice steamy summer days already and nothing beats a dip in the local pool to cool yourself and the kids off. But, safety at the pool is becoming a bigger and bigger issue as as parents become more and more distracted by technology. 

In Independence, the community pool does not lack any of the bells and whistles. There seems to be water shooting everywhere and anywhere, and the big curvy slide is a big hit.  It's a great place to spend a day, and lifeguards here are hoping you spend it paying very close attention to your kids.

Pool manager Cynthia Lusk  said she is seeing the problem grow.

"Just like texting and driving, you take your eyes off the road, your eyes off your child, within one second something can happen," she said.

A call to about a dozen pools in the area told the same story, cell phones and iPads, reading and taking pictures is causing major distractions and more pressure on the lifeguards.

"A lot of parents depend truly on the guards, yes, the guards see them and yes the guards can react but ultimately it's their child," Lusk said.

In Independence, over the course of a summer day, about 600 people will come to the pool.  There are 18 life guards working and 14 on duty at one time.

Lusk is quick to point out that most parents she has meet are committed to safety but she feels it's a good safety reminder, to stay distraction free, especially, she says, with the really young ones.

"We always ask [parents stay] within arm's reach if they're 3 and under and a lot of parents seem to think the guards going to take care of that," she said.

Rocky River pool officials tell us they are considering a cell phone policy at the pool but it was just in the discussion stages.

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