Preparing for pool season

Lifeguards at the Eldon Aquatic Center make around 20-25 saves each year.

Many pools across mid-Missouri are now open for the season, which means both parents and lifeguards should be alert around children at the pool.

At the Eldon Aquatic Center, lifeguard candidates have to undergo interviews, reference checks and a three-day training with the Red Cross before being officially hired.

The lifeguards then go through training before the pool opens for the season.

"We discuss everything at every [lifeguard] stand. What they're looking for, what they're doing...and we also practice saves in the deep end, by the slide..." Pool Manager Cloyce "Coach" Klein.

The guards repeat that training periodically throughout the summer.

One Eldon poolgoer told KRCG 13 she notices the preparedness of the pool's lifeguards.

"The lifeguards are always on their toes. They always watch every 'P's and Q's' of the children. If anything happens, boom, they're there," Michelle Zevenbergen said.

Coach Klein says the Eldon lifeguards make about 20-25 saves each year. He says the biggest pool dangers stem from children wandering into the deep end of the pool or running on the slippery concrete around the pool.

But safety isn't only up to the lifeguards; parents taking children to pools should constantly be on alert.

"It only takes an instant for [children] to go down, so be close...keep your eyes focused, make sure they follow the rules. We ask the parents to try to enforce the rules to their kids also," Klein said.

"Make sure the you keep an eye on them, not just the lifeguards. Make sure they have floaties if they're little, bitty babies. You know, you can turn your back and then boom, it's over," Zevenbergen said.