What to Expect

What to Expect . . . and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I hire a private lifeguard?

Generally, you should consider lifeguard services any time children will be swimming and you cannot provide constant uninterrupted active supervision of the pool.  Lapses in supervision that occur when adults are distracted are linked to 70% of pool deaths.  An estimated half of these occur during pool parties.  Here are some other factors that cause many customers to engage our services:

The host has other obligations besides watching the pool.
Responsibilities to meet and greet guests, serve food, care for an infant, work, or do any other activity that results in mental disengagement from the pool create lapses in supervision during which an accident can occur.

There will be many adults present.
Contrary to popular belief, more adult presence often results in less supervision, because many adults presume “someone” is watching.  If invited guests expect to enjoy a party and not watch the pool, then professional lifeguard services are recommended.

The group is larger than what the host is accustomed to watching.
The more children present, the more skillful surveillance required.  Lifeguards are adept at supervising multiple children at a time.

The host does not know the swimming capabilities of all children present.
Children and parents tend to over-estimate swimming ability.   Pool owners often presume a higher skill level of their guests, which they equate with the skills of their own children (who generally have more swimming exposure).  Furthermore, children become more exhausted and more adventurous as swimming continues.

The host does not know how to swim and/or does not know CPR.
The minimum recommendation of the American Red Cross for the supervision of children in or near water is constant attention by a swimming adult.  Early recognition of distress and early CPR have been shown to improve outcomes in near-drowning victims.

What will a private lifeguard do?

Backyard Lifeguards will arrive thirty minutes before supervision is scheduled to begin and do the following (in order):

Perform an on-site evaluation
Complete a safety checklist
Set up equipment
Consult with the host on special requests, activities, or rules to be enforced
Conduct a brief on-site orientation to the pool rules
Evaluate the swimming skills of all youth guests and assign wristbands and/or life vests
Supervise the pool and deck area

How will a private lifeguard maintain safety but still let the kids have fun?

Backyard Lifeguards is no party pooper!  Lifeguards enforce only three rules, all designed to prevent activity associated with the majority of pool injuries.  Additional rules may be created or enforced at the host’s request.  Most of the time, the lifeguard can maintain safety by addressing children individually and without blowing a whistle.  In the event whistle notice becomes necessary, Backyard Lifeguards uses one short blast to get the attention of a swimmer, and one long blast to alert the host of an emergency.

How often will the lifeguard/s need a break?

Backyard Lifeguards are experienced professionals that can work long hours without breaks.  If swimming is suspended for a meal, celebration ritual, or other activity, a single lifeguard may notify the host before taking a short break to use the bathroom or get a drink of water.  During long engagements, the lifeguard may be relieved by a supervisor.  When two or more lifeguards are on duty, they will coordinate breaks with one another during times of low participant volume so that the pool is always available for swimming and adequately supervised.

How much should I expect to pay for private lifeguard services?

For youth events, the number of participants, their age and skill level, and the length of service determine the number of lifeguards to be posted and therefore the cost.  Assuming a minimum of 10 children, hosts should budget between $5 and $8 per child per hour.  This is consistent with the admission fees of other popular party venues, and with rental fees for use of community pools.

Should I plan to provide food or drink to the lifeguard?
Lifeguards do not expect to be fed.  Many will bring their own water and may ask to refill their container.

Is it customary to tip the lifeguard?
Lifeguards do not expect gratuity, but may graciously accept any reasonable amount offered.  All tips must be in cash.