Resort pool etiquette: other parents unsafe children

Bryan Burmeister

Mouseketeer
Joined
Nov 28, 2018
I had an unfortunate expirence at the Disney resort pool this afternoon. I'm curious if anyone else has expierenced something similar and/ or knows what Disney's policy on the matter is.

I have a 2 year old daughter who was having a great time In the splash pad at the Riviera resort. This area is indicated to be reserved for children 48 inches and under. There is no dedicated lifeguard on duty. 99% of the kids are supervised and playing safely.

We had been enjoying the area for around 2 hours, with no issue and many great interactions with other guests. At this point, 3 boys enter the area. 2 appear be over 48 inches. The other is borderline. I had no issue with this until they started behaving in an unsafe manner. Running at full speed, jumping around/over my daughter, sitting in the slide exit, climbing UP the slide, riding the slide 3 at a time and stopping themselves IN the tube slide and sitting there for minutes on end.

Their cousin was making a small effort to control their behavior but quickly gave up. It appeared they had long tuned her out. My wife gently asked them to behave at least once. Eventually, my daughter climbed the stairs to go down the tube slide (having seen no one enter recently). She almost ended up sliding down while the 3 boys were still inside. ( Because they had purposely gotten themselves stuck in there again). Luckily I stopped her before going down, but there was definitely a risk there. Maybe I have an over protective outlook, but I can imagine all types of issues in that scenario.

At this point, I told the boys "either your done here, or I'm going to have to get the life guard". Unsurprisingly, I was ignored. I raised my voice and repeated myself. This time they knew I meant business. They high tailed it out of there, and I figured they opted to learn a valuable lesson instead of being embarrassed by a life guard.

Sadly, I was sorely mistaken. About 10 minutes later, an angry mother comes along with a very Junior life guard and her smallest boy. (Lord knows what story the boy concocted for her benefit). She asked me why I had "threatened" her son. I explained the situation. In my mind, I gave the boys an option. I didn't threaten them. In any case, obviously the mom and I had it out, but that's not why I'm posting. I was most surprised by the life gaurd's response. He said, "come get a life guard. Don't do anything." I responded, "even if I believe the behavior is unsafe? There was no lifeguard around, surely I need to act in that situation." From there he kept repeating the same line about getting a lifeguard. And even asked if I knew CPR, as if that would be a requirement to be involved in pool safety. My wife declined to speak with a manager. I was getting no where.

Can this possibly be the company policy? Surely there are many scenarios where a guest needs to discipline other kids? If this is in fact the actual policy, unsupervised pool areas seem like a bad idea.

Maybe this is a cultural shift, but I remember when I was young. Adults were considered authority figures. Is the best answer to alert lifeguards to kids over 48 inches as soon as they enter a height restricted area? Obviously, larger kids pose a much bigger risk to my daughter than smaller. But kids would be given No benefit of the doubt.

*edit*
Link to a photo of the splash pad for folks who haven't seen it.

*2nd edit*
A lot of the same questions/comments keep coming up and it appears my responses are now buried. To summarize.

  • Based on what I've learned from this thread, I'll just get a lifeguard next time. I don't believe it's strictly wrong to discipline other kinds who are behaving unsafely. (in other words, illegal or unethical, immoral, etc.) However, in this case it definitely wasn't the best option either.
  • I'm not certain how old the boys are. Though, it's clear to me that initially I over-estimated their ages.
  • It's not appropriate to get a lifeguard simply if a child is over 48 in. Especially true when they have younger siblings.
  • The splash pad does have standing water and a covered tube slide. It is not patrolled by lifeguards very often at all. (perhaps every 30 mins or so.) This came up a lot.
  • I plan to contact the riviera to suggest change to the above.
  • I acknowledge that a cultural shift has probably occurred. Parents are far more likely to believe their kids a victim than to be ashamed that a stranger ha to act to prevent harm to either themselves or other children.
  • Many people have indicated that Disney wants to avoid any and all confrontation between guests. This makes sense and I agree. I do note the possibility that getting a lifeguard also could incite a confrontation. However, it would be less likely.
  • I believe the behavior posed a real risk to my daughter. Some people have posted that isn't the case. Regardless, I won't change my mind on that and it seems reasonable people can disagree on that point.
  • Others have agreed with the boy's mother than I did indeed threaten the boys. I disagree with that assessment. However, the mere fact that it's possible to misinterpret language so egregiously adds further merit to "simply getting the lifeguard."
  • The consensus threshold for acting directly in scenarios like these appears to be "clear and present" danger. I.E. a child who is being bullied, is already injured, is about to be injured with near certainty, etc. Merely presenting a relatively small risk doesn't reach that threshold
 
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xipotec

Grinning Ghosts
Joined
Feb 16, 2011
You are fine. I have done the same in the past and would have done the same thing in your situation. Those kids should not be unattended anyway.

If the parents are too lazy, stupid or absent to control their kids behavior, they should not be surprised when someone else to correct their “little angels”.

It takes a village to raise a child, especially when the child has lazy parents.
 

ClapYourHands

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 2, 2018
Maybe this is a cultural shift, but I remember when I was young. Adults were considered authority figures. Is the best answer to alert lifeguards to kids over 48 inches as soon as they enter a height restricted area?
I think it is a cultural shift that many parents allow their kids to run wild, and then get mad at anyone who dares to interfere with their (non) parenting. I don't think you did anything wrong by speaking to the kids, and too bad for the butthurt parent who wasn't supervising. However, I would prefer to avoid drama on my vacation, so if there's a way to get kids to be safe without me confronting them, I'd go that route.

I'd probably get a lifeguard when I witnessed unsafe behavior, not merely at the arrival of a bigger kid. There are lots of kids over 48 inches who can play nicely with smaller kids. My 11-year-old, for example, is perfectly capable of playing nicely with his four-year-old sister, and I'd hate to have someone call the lifeguard on him before he actually does anything wrong. My husband does not care for theme parks, so my last Florida trip had me going solo with three kids - 11, 9, and 3. I can't be in two places at once, and I'm not comfortable with my kids being in a different area from me, so in the situation you describe, the older kids would have to be in the younger area when my daughter got her turn on the splash pad.
 

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  • kaytieeldr

    Post hoc, ergo propter hoc
    Joined
    Jun 11, 2005
    OP, still go talk to a manager. Or at least, if it happens again, call the resort number and tell them you need a manager and security at the pool immediately. It won't be instantaneous, because the Call Center has to contact the resort. I think the lifeguard misunderstood. Or understood the one side he was told.

    Or, get the manager's business card and call her/him directly.

    eta: and while actual CPR training is best:

     
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    MamaBelle4

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 29, 2016
    I had an unfortunate expirence at the Disney resort pool this afternoon. I'm curious if anyone else has expierenced something similar and/ or knows what Disney's policy on the matter is.

    I have a 2 year old daughter who was having a great time In the splash pad at the Riviera resort. This area is indicated to be reserved for children 48 inches and under. There is no dedicated lifeguard on duty. 99% of the kids are supervised and playing safely.

    We had been enjoying the area for around 2 hours, with no issue and many great interactions with other guests. At this point, 3 boys enter the area. 2 appear be over 48 inches. The other is borderline. I had no issue with this until they started behaving in an unsafe manner. Running at full speed, jumping around/over my daughter, sitting in the slide exit, climbing UP the slide, riding the slide 3 at a time and stopping themselves IN the tube slide and sitting there for minutes on end.

    Their cousin was making a small effort to control their behavior but quickly gave up. It appeared they had long tuned her out. My wife gently asked them to behave at least once. Eventually, my daughter climbed the stairs to go down the tube slide (having seen no one enter recently). She almost ended up sliding down while the 3 boys were still inside. ( Because they had purposely gotten themselves stuck in there again). Luckily I stopped her before going down, but there was definitely a risk there. Maybe I have an over protective outlook, but I can imagine all types of issues in that scenario.

    At this point, I told the boys "either your done here, or I'm going to have to get the life guard". Unsurprisingly, I was ignored. I raised my voice and repeated myself. This time they knew I meant business. They high tailed it out of there, and I figured they opted to learn a valuable lesson instead of being embarrassed by a life guard.

    Sadly, I was sorely mistaken. About 10 minutes later, an angry mother comes along with a very Junior life guard and her smallest boy. (Lord knows what story the boy concocted for her benefit). She asked me why I had "threatened" her son. I explained the situation. In my mind, I gave the boys an option. I didn't threaten them. In any case, obviously the mom and I had it out, but that's not why I'm posting. I was most surprised by the life gaurd's response. He said, "come get a life guard. Don't do anything." I responded, "even if I believe the behavior is unsafe? There was no lifeguard around, surely I need to act in that situation." From there he kept repeating the same line about getting a lifeguard. And even asked if I knew CPR, as if that would be a requirement to be involved in pool safety. My wife declined to speak with a manager. I was getting no where.

    Can this possibly be the company policy? Surely there are many scenarios where a guest needs to discipline other kids? If this is in fact the actual policy, unsupervised pool areas seem like a bad idea.

    Maybe this is a cultural shift, but I remember when I was young. Adults were considered authority figures. Is the best answer to alert lifeguards to kids over 48 inches as soon as they enter a height restricted area? Obviously, larger kids pose a much bigger risk to my daughter than smaller. But kids would be given No benefit of the doubt.
    First, the rule.

    Second, the height isn't the issue. As PP stated, sometimes older siblings are playing with their younger ones. The restriction is there for situations like this.

    In my opinion, if you felt your daughter was in danger, you should have removed her from the equipment temporarily and gotten a lifeguard. The dangers you expressed were not imminent and requiring your immediate intervention (like hitting, pushing or whatever).

    I am definitely not condoning either the children or parents' behavior. I think the issue is "Either you're done here or I get the lifeguard." That is not an appropriate first response to children. Maybe more along the lines of, "Don't sit in the slide like that, you're going to get hurt," or "It's dangerous to run here."

    To those kids, you intervening after your child couldn't come down the slide probably looked like you were trying to kick then out because they were in your daughter's way.
     

    DisneyWishes14

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 21, 2011
    Unfortunately we witnessed the same thing at RIV in December - 3 boys far taller than 48” playing in the splash area. I was surprised actually as we’ve typically seen lifeguards at other WDW splash areas. So I agree with you on one count, having taller children in there is not safe. The equipment is not designed for guests over that height and poses a safety risk to anyone above it and, in your case, due to the children’s behavior, posed a safety risk to others. I, personally, would have alerted a lifeguard immediately and discreetly when the behavior became out of hand, The parents of these children didn’t think they were doing anything wrong and didn’t need discipline. You contradicting them did not go well. If a parent doesn’t think their child needs to be disciplined, getting disciplined by a total stranger is just not going to end well. Disney is the ultimate authority here. Just let them handle it and you’ll avoid possible overblown conflicts with other guests. I’m fairly certain if a lifeguard had walked in and told them to stop or leave, this would have ended very differently. I would speak with a manager about enforcing the height restriction in that area. Otherwise, this is going to continue to happen and, I agree, it’s not safe.
     
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  • kylenne

    Wakandan-American
    Joined
    Oct 16, 2016
    I think it is a cultural shift that many parents allow their kids to run wild, and then get mad at anyone who dares to interfere with their (non) parenting. I don't think you did anything wrong by speaking to the kids, and too bad for the butthurt parent who wasn't supervising. However, I would prefer to avoid drama on my vacation, so if there's a way to get kids to be safe without me confronting them, I'd go that route..
    All of this right here. It’s not like back in the day when “it takes a village” was the rule, you knew as a kid that the neighbors would step in and tell you to knock it off and if you didn’t listen you’d hear about it from Mom. People get real salty nowadays about any perceived threat to their parental authority. And hilariously it’s the parents who let the kids run wild the most who get the saltiest. Even if you are in the right, it’s just not worth the trouble tbh. I would get a lifeguard or CM. I’ve done that before at resort pools.
     

    mom2rtk

    Invented the term "Characterpalooza"
    Joined
    Aug 23, 2008
    Disciplining someone else’s child almost never goes well. No deed goes on punished and all that.

    Years ago we were swimming in the Hippy Dippy pool at Pop Century. It was after hours but pools remained open back then. Kids were diving off the lifeguard stand in shallow water so seriously dangerous. Had I approached them while they were doing that and they hurt themselves I am quite sure I would have been blamed. Instead I had to drag my daughter out of the water on a very cool evening and go inside and get help. It was a very stressful situation for me.

    Given the same situation again I still would not try to handle it myself.
     
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    Nancyg56

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 17, 2005
    First, the rule.

    Second, the height isn't the issue. As PP stated, sometimes older siblings are playing with their younger ones. The restriction is there for situations like this.

    In my opinion, if you felt your daughter was in danger, you should have removed her from the equipment temporarily and gotten a lifeguard. The dangers you expressed were not imminent and requiring your immediate intervention (like hitting, pushing or whatever).

    I am definitely not condoning either the children or parents' behavior. I think the issue is "Either you're done here or I get the lifeguard." That is not an appropriate first response to children. Maybe more along the lines of, "Don't sit in the slide like that, you're going to get hurt," or "It's dangerous to run here."

    To those kids, you intervening after your child couldn't come down the slide probably looked like you were trying to kick then out because they were in your daughter's way.

    I agree. There may have been a time when an adult could discipline someone else's child but in m experience it never went well even then. I have had this kind if situation occur and have notified someone in authority. I may ask once for the roughhousing to stop, but at that point I am done. I get a lifeguard if one is available, and if not I get a manager to intervene.

    I had a kid in a hot tub using it like a pool. Tried to jump in! Ummmm please stop. He did but had he not I would have asked the lifeguard to remove him. I was not so lucky at a beach resort with an indoor pool. It was rainy and cold, so I know the boys were likely bored, but they were using the area like a basketball court in and out of the pool. My DGD was too young to manage to stay out of their way. I asked once. Then I got the manager. The family was pretty mad when they were told either stay in the area and supervise, or keep the boys out of the pool area.

    When kids are left unsupervised, especially in any area that has water, to me it is a clear indication that the adults in charge have abdicated their responsibility so IMO it is highly unlikely they would be happy to know someone else scolded their kids.
     

    Babsy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 30, 2001
    'Rules' that I live by:

    1. Never get between a mama bear and her cubs.
    2. Never try to supervise or control someone else's children if there is ANY other safe option available.

    I would only try to control either of the two situations described above if trapped and had no way out. Best case scenario for me and mine would be to avoid/leave the area.

    Then, Report unsafe behaviour or situations to those with the authority and training to deal with it.

    N.B. The parent(s) in both situations listed above can almost certainly be counted upon to NOT listen to reason.
     
  • Nancyg56

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 17, 2005
    'Rules' that I live by:

    1. Never get between a mama bear and her cubs.
    2. Never try to supervise or control someone else's children if there is ANY other safe option available.

    I would only try to control either of the two situations described above if trapped and had no way out. Best case scenario for me and mine would be to avoid/leave the area.

    Then, Report unsafe behaviour or situations to those with the authority and training to deal with it.

    N.B. The parent(s) in both situations listed above can almost certainly be counted upon to NOT listen to reason.
    Yep. FWIW, I do not think that much has changed. Parents on vacation checked out years ago too. It may be a shame, but having someone in authority step in has always been the best option.
     

    ClapYourHands

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 2, 2018
    Actually I’m 100% sure being certified in CPR *is* a requirement to be a lifeguard.
    Well, yes, but OP wasn't trying to be a lifeguard. Pool safety is largely a matter of ordinary, non-trained people using common sense regarding behaviors that are likely to lead to injury. If the only people who were "involved in pool safety" were lifeguards, a pool would be a seriously scary place. In most cases, once CPR is involved, you've passed the "safety" part of lifeguarding, and you're into last-ditch damage control.

    My job requires I be CPR certified (RN here). A huge part of my job is to notice smaller changes that indicate a person might be deteriorating and intervening BEFORE he or she codes on me. I've been first on the scene multiple times, and been the one to start compressions and break ribs, but afterwards I always second guess myself wondering if we could have averted it in the first place. If the lifeguards are doing CPR regularly, they're not very good lifeguards.
     

    wdwmom3

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 16, 2012
    Agree with the other poster that the CM has no idea who to believe. They can’t really address the bad behaviour because they didn’t see it. They also want to avoid guests getting into confrontations themselves.

    Honestly what the life guard told you to do was the best solution. You should have politely said to the other kids “hey guys can you try and be more careful so the little kids don’t get hurt”. Then if the behaviour continues remove your daughter and talk to a life guard.

    Who knows what the kids told their mom. And the CM has no idea who to believe.
     

    PollyannaMom

    I was a click-clack champ!!
    Joined
    May 16, 2006
    It's a tricky situation. I wouldn't ruin it for older kids who were behaving by complaining just based on size, but the behavior was a different story. - I might have started by giving the "teacher look" and reminding the boys to watch out for the little ones. But if that didn't work, I wouldn't have threatened to get a lifeguard, I'd just have gotten one.

    And how does one differentiate a “junior“ lifeguard from a senior lifeguard? I’m not sure this matters.
    I took that to mean the non-supervising parent looked for the youngest, most inexperienced looking lifeguard she could find, so she could bully him into siding with her.

    P.S. to the OP - The lifeguard probably did agree with you, but "official position" is to tell you to let them handle it. They do not want fights between guests!
     

    MickeyWaffles

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2010
    I personally would have removed my child from the splash pad and approached a Disney CM.

    This happened to us in the Nemo’s Reef splash pad on the Disney Dream. I think there it is an age limit, not height. 3 older kids were flying down the the tiny slide to see how far they could go, knocking over toddlers, skipping the toddlers in line. 2 of them were definitely older than 8, one was probably pretty close. I moved my son to another area of the splash pad, but he wanted to go back to the slide. I was about to go notify a lifeguard, but their mother saw what they were doing and she was HORRIFIED. She gave her own kids a piece of her mind and I didn’t need to do anything.

    My instinct is to not involve myself, but to approach a CM. Many people do not react well to this kind of thing.
     

    DisLiss

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 2, 2018
    Since you asked.....you put the lifeguard in an situation of not knowing who to believe. I would have temporarily removed my child and let a lifeguard or CM handle it.

    Exactly this. In fact, I would have done that when the children over the height limit first started acting up.

    I just do not think it's a good idea to get yourself involved in what could (and did) turn into a confrontation with another guest. From the very beginning of your story I kept thinking to myself "Alert a CM or lifeguard."

    And this is not something I think has to do with the way things are "these days" as people like to say. Because I recall my own father getting a hotel employee involved in a situation about 40 years ago when a bunch of kids from a neighboring hotel with no pool decided to come swim and cause trouble in the pool at the resort where we were staying. My Dad never said one word to them, and he instructed us not to either. He simply quietly walked out of the pool area and then came back and settled back into his chaise as if he had merely gone off to use the restroom.

    10 minutes later two resort employees came out asking everyone in the pool are to show them their room key and had those without a key leave. It solved the problem and the boys never even knew that someone had reported their behavior. They just thought they caught an unlucky break with the resort employee coming to perform a check.
     

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