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#1 of 39 Old 02-04-2010, 03:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#2 of 39 Old 02-04-2010, 03:42 PM
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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.
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#3 of 39 Old 02-04-2010, 03:56 PM
 
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That's ridiculous.
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#4 of 39 Old 02-04-2010, 04:25 PM
 
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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.
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#5 of 39 Old 02-04-2010, 04:29 PM
 
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wow! within arm's reach? How much fun would that be?

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#6 of 39 Old 02-04-2010, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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?
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#7 of 39 Old 02-04-2010, 04:56 PM
 
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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.
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#8 of 39 Old 02-04-2010, 05:01 PM
 
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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.

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#9 of 39 Old 02-04-2010, 05:38 PM
 
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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.

Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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#10 of 39 Old 02-04-2010, 05:49 PM
 
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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.
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#11 of 39 Old 02-04-2010, 06:22 PM
 
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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).
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#12 of 39 Old 02-04-2010, 06:23 PM
 
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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?

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#13 of 39 Old 02-04-2010, 06:24 PM
 
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I'm trying to figure out how you can even make that work?
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#14 of 39 Old 02-04-2010, 07:30 PM
 
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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.

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#15 of 39 Old 02-04-2010, 07:56 PM
 
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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!

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#16 of 39 Old 02-04-2010, 09:04 PM
 
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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.
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#17 of 39 Old 02-04-2010, 09:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#18 of 39 Old 02-04-2010, 10:03 PM
 
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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.
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#19 of 39 Old 02-04-2010, 11:32 PM
 
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The majority of adults are well aware of their own limitations. Children can be a lot less cautious - especially the younger ones.

Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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#20 of 39 Old 02-04-2010, 11:43 PM
 
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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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#21 of 39 Old 02-05-2010, 12:19 AM
 
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The majority of adults are well aware of their own limitations. Children can be a lot less cautious - especially the younger ones.
At 2, sure, but at 8?

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#22 of 39 Old 02-05-2010, 12:33 AM
 
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What happened to the days when you got to go in the deep end alone when you could swim the length of the pool twice?
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#23 of 39 Old 02-05-2010, 12:42 AM
 
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Our local pool has the 8yo rule. No more than 3 children under age 8 to each adult and they are given wrist bands when you pay and have to be within arm's reach.

They give 1 warning when they catch a child not near their parent and then kick people out.

I have no issue with this. While there are plenty of kids that age (we go on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons) they are well supervised and it makes for a really pleasant pool atmosphere.
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#24 of 39 Old 02-05-2010, 01:07 AM
 
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We had our son's b-day party at the Y in the pool. The kids had to take a test. If you didn't pass, you got issued either an adult or a coast-guard approved floatation device. This actually worked perfectly well. My son and his BF could swim and passed the test. Everyone else donned a life jacket.
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#25 of 39 Old 02-05-2010, 01:14 AM
 
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I think this rule sucks.

What about hotel pools?? I've never seen a hotel pool (like your average Holiday Inn- not a resort) with a lifeguard. Why is a hotel not fearful of liability with a much-less supervised pool than a rec center??

I'm all for requiring an adult to be on premises, and even restricting the adult-child ratio allowed. But staying within arm's reach?? What's the fun of that??? For some reason this really has me

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#26 of 39 Old 02-05-2010, 01:20 AM
 
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I think this rule sucks.

What about hotel pools?? I've never seen a hotel pool (like your average Holiday Inn- not a resort) with a lifeguard. Why is a hotel not fearful of liability with a much-less supervised pool than a rec center??

I'm all for requiring an adult to be on premises, and even restricting the adult-child ratio allowed. But staying within arm's reach?? What's the fun of that??? For some reason this really has me

Most hotel pools require adult supervision for children under 12 or 16 (I've seen both). That means an adult in the room. And those pools are generally really tiny. Most of the pool is within "arm's reach" of any adult sitting around it.
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#27 of 39 Old 02-05-2010, 01:22 AM
 
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The rule at our local Y for kids that age is that they would have to an adult with them in the pool area, but the adult could be dressed and sitting next to the pool. I'm not sure if there is a limit to how many kids per adult.

They have to pass a swim test to go to the deep end.

Once they are over a certain age (may be 10) they can be in the pool area without an adult if they have passed a swim test.

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#28 of 39 Old 02-05-2010, 02:13 AM
 
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I think this rule sucks.

What about hotel pools?? I've never seen a hotel pool (like your average Holiday Inn- not a resort) with a lifeguard. Why is a hotel not fearful of liability with a much-less supervised pool than a rec center??

I'm all for requiring an adult to be on premises, and even restricting the adult-child ratio allowed. But staying within arm's reach?? What's the fun of that??? For some reason this really has me
Hotels also have signs posted that there is no lifeguard on duty and that no one under 16 is allowed in the pool without adult supervision. Usually the sign also states that you swim at your own risk.
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#29 of 39 Old 02-05-2010, 07:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think that having a test is fine. But just because you are over a certain age (an adult, for example), doesn't mean you should be swimming unsupervised. I guess that is my point. My dh can't swim, but because he's "old" enough, he can go into the pool unsupervised? My dd is a strong swimmer, so it's just very backwards to have HIM watching HER... it makes no sense to me. Where dd wants to swim, dh would not be able to go. She likes to frolick in the deeper parts, go on the water slides (that spill into the deep water), and the diving boards (into deep water). Dh can't even tread water... he'd drown trying to keep up with her. It.just.doesn't.make.sense. I'm sure there are many families where the parent is the weaker swimmer.

Needless to say, we won't be going to this rec center... probably ever even for general swimming... and keep our swimming activity to the summer at our favorite pool where they have lifejackets available for the less able swimmers and trust the parents to put one on their kids if it warrants it and not if it doesn't.

Luckily, I have learned my lesson LOOOOONG ago and didn't mention this idea to dd until I checked it out, so she is unaware that I was even thinking of having her party at the rec pool.
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#30 of 39 Old 02-05-2010, 11:48 AM
 
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I think the age thing for tests is based on who can be held responsible if someone can't swim. If you're obviously old enough to travel to the pool yourself, you should know if you can swim or not. 15 is generally old enough that you can definitely yell at someone for going into the deep end when they can't swim.
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