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Pool rules - just a vent

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
We have an indoor rec center with a really nice pool. Dd will be having a very small group of girls get together for her birthday, and I thought it would be nice to have it at the rec center. I called to get information about using the rec center pool. It seemed like a great venue... until they told me that all kids under 9 have to have an adult within arms reach of them at all times (including on the slides and other fun stuff).

I really thought that was just excessive... 9 years old??? NO EXCEPTIONS!

They do have lifeguards, after all. These are all girls that are 8 years old and are strong swimmers. I told the woman that it was kind of a ridiculous rule because if my dh was the one to get into the pool with my dd (turning 8), it would be dd saving HIM because she is a great swimmer and he just about drowns every time he gets into a pool that is more than a few feet deep. When I was 8 and 9 years old, I was training year round for, what I guess is now AAU swimming (it wasn't called that back in the 70's). I was also diving competitively. I would have been mortified if my parents (neither who swim) had to be near me in a pool.

Well, it doesn't matter, rules are rules. I just think it's really ridiculous that they don't trust the parents to have the best judgment about their child's ability. At the summer pool where we swim, dd has been in the pool by herself for a couple of summers now - of course with my eyes on her all the time, but still, by herself, as she's a very strong swimmer. She's been through all but the highest level of the Red Cross swimming classes. Moreover, as her mother, there's no way I would EVER let her in a pool by herself if I didn't feel that my eyes, along with the attention of the lifeguards is sufficient monitoring.

Needless to say, we're not going to have the pool party. Anyway, I doubt the parents would want to stick around just to stand in a pool with their girls that are all really good swimmers. I'm sure it has something to do with liability. They don't want to pay more insurance or something. Just makes me frustrated that I thought I'd found a great party place for dd's bday and it turns out this way.
post #2 of 39
That's definitely excessive. Our Y's rule is that parents must be in the pool (not arms reach) with kids under 6. My oldest son is a very good swimmer and was jumping off the high dive and swimming to the ladder (in the deep end) at 3.
post #3 of 39
That's ridiculous.
post #4 of 39
Not just ridiculous. It's stupid. My kids are 5 and 3 and have been swimming since 18 months. Literally, they are both better and safer swimmers than my own mother. What an asinine rule.
post #5 of 39
wow! within arm's reach? How much fun would that be?
post #6 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
wow! within arm's reach? How much fun would that be?
Yeah... and what do you do if you have more than one child? Make them all play together within your arm's reach even if they want to play off a ways by themselves or with a friend?
post #7 of 39
Sounds like they probably had an incident with a child that age and made a blanket CYA rule is response, maybe to avoid being sued. Who knows... that is crazy, though.
post #8 of 39
Just remember, while most parents are willing and able to judge their kids swimming ability, there is always one who just dumps their 8 year old non-swimmer off at the pool to fend for him/her self leaving the pool open to a liability if something happens. Like Snuzzmom said, they probably had an incident and now feel the need to cover themselves.
post #9 of 39
It sounds excessive to me & I've worked at many rec centres as a lifeguard. In fact I preferred to do birthday party groups without the parents 'cause they tended to just get in the way - lol.
post #10 of 39
Our pool has no more than 2 under-4s to one adult, and everyone under 8 has to be accompanied. (Although not necessarily within arms reach.)
dd1 is chomping at the bit to hit her 8th birthday so she can go on her own and I certainly share your frustration with the pool not trusting parent's judgment.
We were actually asked to leave the baby swim class when she was four months, because they had a six months and over rule, contradicting the guidance the health visitors were giving out at the time.
post #11 of 39
I wonder if it might be an insurance thing because the Y here kids under 8 have to have an adult within arms reach. You might want to go to free swim and see how strongly they enforce the within arms reach. I have taken all four of mine to the pool alone and the only one I literally stand within arm's reach of is my 2 year old (other than when they go over their head in the main pool (vs the family pool which is only 3 feet deep) when I insist they are all within arms' reach or we have to go back to the family pool).
post #12 of 39
This is one of those ridiculous scenarios where everyone is treated the exact same way... like complete idiots who have no ability to discern things for themselves.

This is exactly one of the major things wrong with society today... and is more than likely directed by an insurance agency and complied with due to fear.

I would be livid and write a really long letter of complaint to the rec center. Is i privately owned, or city owned?
post #13 of 39
I'm trying to figure out how you can even make that work?
post #14 of 39
At our local rec centre kids 6 and under must be within arms reach... although they don't strictly enforce that. As long as you are in the pool with the child and watching them they don't say anything (this would be in the kiddie pool where even my 2 year old is never over her head).

For kids 7 and up they can take a "test" and if they pass they can swim on their own. I think the test is just swimming a lap or two for the lifeguard. To me that seems like a fair compromise.

Also they won't let you in the pool with more then 2 kids (it used to be three). I have seen some mom's show up with a 6, 3 and baby and not be allowed in the very swallow preschool pool. A couple times I offered to watch one of them so that they could have their swim.
post #15 of 39
Like a couple past posters - I think there should be some sort of test..........if you pass, you get a certificate or something (they could even put some sort of band on their wrists so the lifegaurds could tell the difference at a glance).
I don't even see how me staying within arms reach of my 8 year old would work! She would probably ask ME if we could leave because she wouldn't be having any fun!
post #16 of 39
They should have a swim test and base it off of that for children. At our Y you have to be able to pass a swim test if you are under 15, if you don't pass it then you have to have your parent within arms reach regardless of your height. They implemented this rule after they had two kids almost drown during two seperate visits and they are also very strict about it.
post #17 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
They should have a swim test and base it off of that for children. At our Y you have to be able to pass a swim test if you are under 15, if you don't pass it then you have to have your parent within arms reach regardless of your height. They implemented this rule after they had two kids almost drown during two seperate visits and they are also very strict about it.
But what if your parent is a worse swimmer than you? If you're 53 and you can't swim, do they require you to have your (deceased) parent with you? Of course not. That's simply ridiculous. It's equally ridiculous if you are any age. What makes any age the magic "cutoff" age to "test" people? 15, 9, 6, 4? I think it makes more sense that the lifeguards do their job and let the parents make their own judgments on their child's ability.

The problem with an arbitrary cutoff "age" is that the lifeguards then ASSUME that the younger kids are being attended to by the parents, when in actuality, they could be at MORE risk. They likely pay less attention to the child and parent that is together in the pool and more attention to the 10 year old kid playing around elsewhere. But, in our case, my dh and dd could both drown because he can't swim and she's trying to save him. She's much safer all by herself. It's just a really, really stupid rule.
post #18 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
But what if your parent is a worse swimmer than you? If you're 53 and you can't swim, do they require you to have your (deceased) parent with you? Of course not. That's simply ridiculous. It's equally ridiculous if you are any age. What makes any age the magic "cutoff" age to "test" people? 15, 9, 6, 4? I think it makes more sense that the lifeguards do their job and let the parents make their own judgments on their child's ability.

The problem with an arbitrary cutoff "age" is that the lifeguards then ASSUME that the younger kids are being attended to by the parents, when in actuality, they could be at MORE risk. They likely pay less attention to the child and parent that is together in the pool and more attention to the 10 year old kid playing around elsewhere. But, in our case, my dh and dd could both drown because he can't swim and she's trying to save him. She's much safer all by herself. It's just a really, really stupid rule.
I am not sure why they have the arbitrary cut off, I would be fine proving that I can swim if they decided to implement a swim test for adults to. I would far rather pass a test than see young children drown even with life guards present. Adults also drown sometime so it does make sense to not have an arbitrary cut off. The two children that almost drowned were unattended, one was a toddler, they both required CPR and hospitalization. I haven't heard of attended children drowning here though they may have had cases like that. I think pools and fitness centers make rules to help keep everyone safe to the best of their ability because they are liable if someone drowns at their pool and because parents don't always keep their kids safe. It is sad that your child's ideal party place won't work out. I hope you are able to find a place that is better than the pool so your child can have a happy birthday with her friends.
post #19 of 39
The majority of adults are well aware of their own limitations. Children can be a lot less cautious - especially the younger ones.
post #20 of 39
At our local leisure pool, the limit is 48" . It says something about water comfort, but I don't think requires actual swimming ability. The leisure pool is big, but shallow, so I'm guessing anyone over 48" tall could stand with their head above water anywhere in it.
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