Hooray for 8-Year-Old Lifeguards!

Here’s a story to cheer us all up! Who says 8-year-olds are too young to do anything “real”? And by the way, with all the talk about how to protect our kids — isn’t one of the best things we can do: Teach them to swim? — L.

12 Responses

  1. Great story! I also notice that it looks like they worked as a team–I wonder if that’s something that’s key to the training program for that age group.

    And, yes, swimming lessons are essential! My mother had me in water and swim classes from the time I was a baby. That’s not why I’m now a triathlete, but it can’t have hurt!

  2. That program is an excellent idea! Youngsters can perform many life saving actions. Sometimes water saving can be as simple as throwing a life-ring to a struggling swimmer. Good on those boys!

    I can’t stress strongly enough how important swimming lessons are in this day and age. If there aren’t a lot of natural bodies of water near where you live, there probably ARE a lot of pools. Either way, possible tragedy can be so simply averted by teaching children to swim at an early age. It’s also the BEST time to teach swimming, before children learn a fear of water.

    Babies just spent 9 months swimming…nothing could be more natural than to introduce them to swimming at a very early age. Which is why we NEVER employed those little sit up bathtubs for infants with the 2 tablespoons of water that’s supposed to be sufficient for bathing a dirty baby. My son would grab my thumbs, lay completely back in the water, and close his eyes blissfully when it was bath time. Beautiful to see!

  3. Fantastic story. I’m not a great swimmer and I want my kids to at least be better swimmers than me. A program like that is almost unimaginably cool.

  4. I was just writing in my blog about young lifeguards. I took my kids to the pool and was struck by how young the lifeguards were. It wasn’t about them being “too young” but more about me getting old …er. (ahem)

    We so often underestimate children and even young adults for that matter. Great story.

  5. Junior lifeguards are called Nippers.

    I live in New Zealand, and spent my Christmas and New Years at the beach. I would run along the beach each day at low tide, and there would be about 80 kids in little black caps being taught their paces by the grown-up life guards in red and yellow.
    Lifeguarding is a real sport here, as in having competitions and stuff, but those little nippers grow up to teenagers who man the beaches over summer saving lives. If I lived in a beach community I would encourage my (as yet unborn) kids to get involved.

  6. I’m not too keen on the danger aspect of the rescue. Riptides are dangerous and it could easily have turned into a 3-person rescue.

    That said, this story cheered me up very much. It once again proves kids are underestimated far too often.

    There’s nothing a determined youngster can’t do!

  7. Hi Ben,

    I can understand your concern about rips.

    Being Nippers, the young lifeguards would have been swimming between the warning flags which are put out on major public beaches each day to designate the safest parts of the water to swim in. “Swimming Between The Flags” is a major beach safety message drummed into beach users and they would have known all about that.

    One of the really good thing about Nippers is that it teaches beach safety to youngsters, That is probably why there were three swimming together.

  8. Why does he think we need someone to give us a viable parenting style? Isn’t the point of free range that people aren’t telling you how to parent?

  9. I agree with the above comments on the “free range is not a viable parenting style” blog- I don’t need any prescriptions for “how to be a good parent”. Every child, every parent, every home is different. We all just have to use our common sense, our instincts and our reasoning, and do what feels right for our family at this point in time, instead of waiting for someone else to tell us what to do. There is no one-size-fits-all parenting style.

  10. KateNonymous:
    This is why the Boy Scouts of America encourage the youth to “always go with a buddy”. Whether it be a stroll to the corner store or a lifesaving situation, a team of two or more is called for.

  11. I agree that kids need swimming lessons as early as possible. My inlaws have a pool so each summer our kids get swimming lessons in a class if they’re old enough. My youngest is too little for anything but Mommy & Me classes, so we handle her on our own.

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