Sunday, March 31, 2013
Parental Responsibility at Disney Destinations
Parental Responsibility at Disney Destinations
It seems to me that as soon as people arrive at a Disney Destination they assume their children are 100% safe. Sadly, this is not true. I guess the Disney Brand Name gives people a false sense of security. This seems to be especially true when it comes to the pools.
Just last month there were two incredibly sad events involving Disney pools. Early in March a 13-year-old boy drowned at the Pop Century Resort. His family was there but not totally paying attention when he went under in the pool and drowned. Sadly, four days after he was pulled out of the pool and CPR administered he died in the hospital.
Yesterday a four year-old boy drowned in the Donald pool on the Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship. Thankfully the ship was still in the port and there was no delay in getting him to medical care.
The Fantasy was in port getting ready to depart for a week long cruise in the Caribbean when the accident happened. As people began to wonder why the ship did not leave port on time, as they watched various WebCams around the Internet the Disney chat rooms and message boards got busy with information. Those on the ship that saw the incident were calling friends and family onshore and telling them what happened. Some were even posting on message boards from the ship.
The general sequence of events was something to the effect of the parents with three children boarded the Disney Fantasy for their cruise. They all got into their swimsuits and headed to the pools for a swim before the Sail Away Party. What happened next can only be assumed or guest at. It seems that the parents let their four-year-old son in the splash water play area and took the other two children to do something. They may have gone to get something to eat or drink or to show the other children the arcade they could play at nearby. It doesn’t matter the facts are the four-year-old was left unattended.
The four-year-old was seen running over to the Donald Pool, the 4 foot deep family pool. He quickly jumped into the deep pool. Other children were roughhousing in the pool. According to some reports another child jumped into the pool and landed on top of the four-year-old boy causing him to drown.
Guests pulled a child out of the pool and immediately started CPR. Within moments ship’s crew was there to assist and ships medical staff was also quick to arrive on scene. It took some time to locate the parents of the child as they were not in proximity. Someone recognize the child and told crew members the parent’s name. The parents were page by the crew while the person who recognized the child went to look for the parents. The parents arrived on the scene and saw their little boy’s condition they almost collapsed.
After CPR was administered on the ship the boy and his family were taken to a local hospital for further care. The little boy’s condition was quickly assessed and he was airlifted to another facility were more advanced care could be given. As of the time of this post the little boy is still alive but his condition is not being discussed publicly.
Now at this point you might say, “Where were the Disney lifeguards!” There are no lifeguards either at the hotel or cruise ship pools. Multiple signs are posted in the area stating there is no lifeguard on duty and children should not be left unsupervised in the pool area. There are lifeguards at the water slides, including the massive AquaDuck. Their job is to maintain a safe distance between slide riders so that they do not pile up on each other. They are there for the safety of the riders of the slides and cannot be responsible for the pools in their area.
What I’m going to say next may sound harsh but in my opinion it is reality. The responsibility for both of these horrible incidences lies completely with the parents. It is up to them to pay attention to their children in the pool. Rules are clearly stated saying that is the parent’s responsibility. That said I believe there are other people responsible for the little four-year-olds injury. Where were the parents of the children that were jumping in the pool? I know on the Magic and the Wonder there are signs that clearly state no diving or jumping into the pool. Parents of the children that were being overly rambunctious and rowdy are responsible for not controlling their children. My heart goes out to the child who landed on this little four-year-old boy. Just think how they must feel! They were just having fun, being a kid, laughing, jumping and not comprehending the consequences of their actions. They were not bad there were just being a child, they don’t understand.
I do not feel Disney has any responsibility in this matter! Do I think Disney is perfect and never makes a mistake or puts people in harms way? No! It is just they clearly stated there were no lifeguards. They clearly stated reasonable safety rules, no running, no diving, No Jumping and more importantly it states do not leave your children unattended. These rules were clearly ignored by multiple families.
So the next time you stay at a Disney hotel or go on a Disney cruise and decide to spend time in the pool please be responsible! Watch your children! Your child may not be the one that gets hurt but they may inadvertently hurt someone else. I also suggest that you do not just tell your child don’t jumped in the pool. Explain to them you don’t jump into the pool because you might not see someone in the water and land on them and hurt them. That is how a child can learn to be responsible for their actions and understand the reason for the rules.
Here’s a thought. Whenever you see a set of rules, whether it be at a pool at the hotel/ship or the safety rules for a ride in a park read them with your child. Don’t just say these are the rules but talk about why the rules are there. Why can’t we put our hands and feet outside of the car when riding on a roller coaster? Why can’t we stand up on the monorail or the Omni bus? Why can’t we run around the pool? When you discuss the rules and not just tell your child the rules you are teaching your child critical thinking. You are teaching your child to think of their safety and the safety of others. In short you are teaching them to be responsible adults. I’ll be honest I do not believe any parent is raising a child. Parents are simply raising future adults. It is our job to teach them the responsibilities of life. Disney can be a safe, fun and enjoyable way to learn the realities of life. So take the time to keep your child safe.