Tag Archives: Tom Griffiths

Hotel Pool Parties Present a Problem

Indoor Pool

Tom Griffiths, Ed.D., Aquatic Safety Expert

Recently, a rash of lawsuits have been filed against hotels because of drownings occurring to paying and non-paying guests.

Most of these lawsuits claimed that a major cause of the incident drownings were related to swimming pool parties. Statistically speaking, more than half of all drownings in the United States occur when a group of patrons visit an aquatic facility. These swimming groups are typically comprised of birthday parties, family reunions, Fourth of July parties, and the like. Hotel swimming pools tend to be significantly smaller than municipal pools, YMCA pools, school pools, etc. Additionally, the vast majority of hotel pools are “Swim at Your Own Risk, NO LIFEGUARD ON DUTY.” Parties at hotel pools quickly inundate these small vessels with too many people. This creates hazardous situations that can quickly turn deadly; therefore, hotel pools should ban swimming pool parties, unless the hotel provides a lifeguard and creates a pool party policy that is enforceable.

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The Mindful Lifeguard


Enjoy this free audio file by Tom Griffiths, Ed.D., Aquatic Safety Expert with DJS Associates, Inc. The short, alternating mindfulness segments assist with mental training to encourage training and development in becoming better students, athletes, professionals, and lifeguards. For more information on lifeguard training or aquatic safety, contact Tom Griffiths, Ed.D., via email at experts@forensicDJS.com or via phone at 215-659-2010.

“Supervision” v. “Passive Supervision” in Child Drownings


Tom Griffiths, Ed.D., Aquatic Safety Expert

An extended family met at a popular resort hotel in a sunbelt state. The hotel had multiple, well maintained pools located throughout their property.

According to an independent inspection of the facilities, no health code violations or standards of care for resort pools were committed. Fencing, self-closing self-latching gates, rescue equipment, and emergency phone were all in place.

As is customary for these types of pools, swimming is: “At your Own Risk” and “No Lifeguard is on Duty.” These signs were also prominently displayed around the pool. Bar staff, waiters, and recreation directors were also stationed at the pools, but no lifeguards were on duty. The adults in this family decided to rest in their rooms on the third floor, but not before dropping their two young sons off at the pool. Not long after the boys were left, without parental supervision, the youngest boy fell unconscious beneath the “shallow water” pool surface; a depth of less than five feet. The older boy frantically attempted to reach his brother until pool patrons noticed the commotion and responded by pulling the child out of the pool and beginning

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Cloudy Pools Prevent Drowning Detection

Tom Griffiths, Ed.D., Aquatic Safety Expert

Recently, a rash of drownings have occurred in cloudy swimming pools which should have been closed to the public. The most recent settlement involved an eleven year old boy who had just finished playing basketball in a nearby park.

In the late afternoon following the game, the victim and his friends went to their apartment complex pool to cool off. The swimming pool was so cloudy that the bottom could not be seen; yet, the pool remained open to residents. Although no lifeguards were on duty, pool attendants were there to maintain water chemistry, check pool passes, and maintain order. The boy, who was the drowning victim, was a weak swimmer yet he asked to borrow goggles from a friend, and with the goggles in place, let go of the side of the pool, disappearing in the deep end.

While his friends soon discovered that he was missing, they were unsure whether he was in the swimming pool or if he had gone back to his apartment. After much confusion, a search of the deep end of the swimming pool was made with long extensions poles, but the boy was not found. No one entered the deep end to look for the boy because of the zero visibility. This eventually became a missing persons case because the boy did not return home by his 8 PM curfew, which he rarely missed.

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The Water Floatie Fallacy

Water Floating Devices

Floaties, such as water wings, floatation suits, noodles, and inflatable rafts or tubes are not advised for use with children if they cannot swim. Foam and inflatables are typically associated with floating; however, many can deflate, or fall off, leading a child on the surface to sink down. U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) approved life jackets are the recommended approach for children that cannot swim. To read more about how the variations in vests can be life or death, follow the link to the Aquatic Safety Newsletter, written by Tom Griffiths, Ed.D., Aquatic Safety Expert with DJS Associates Inc., reachable by email at experts@forensicdjs.com or via phone at 215-659-2010.

Many Fitness Clubs Ill Prepared to Deal with Swimming Pool Drownings

Swimming Pool Drownings

Tom Griffiths, Ed.D., Aquatic Safety Expert ::::

Membership Fitness Clubs have become extremely popular in America during the last couple of decades, offering all types of workouts and fitness activities during all hours of the day. But a recent case highlights the many and varied problems Fitness Clubs face when it comes to their swimming pools.

Swimming pools in most Fitness Clubs are not required to have lifeguards on duty and therefore become “Swim at Your Own Risk” pools. The problem with this approach is that when an emergency does arise in the swimming pool, there is no trained professional available in the pool area to respond in a timely fashion. It should be strongly stated that older populations are now the only age group experiencing an increase in drowning deaths.

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