Absentee parents will be in hot water at swimming pools

WITH temperatures set to soar across the region this summer, managers of public swimming pools have confirmed they will be enforcing safety policies which require active supervision of children up to 14 years old.

"We've found that we have an increasing number of children that are being dropped off by themselves with no adult on hand, Mullumbimby Pool manager Craig Davidson said.

"If children are under 14 years, they must be accompanied by someone over 16 years old."

Mr Davidson said the only exception to the rule was if the child was taking part in a swimming class or squad.

The edict is part of the Keep Watch @ Public Pool policy promoted by the Royal Life Saving association.

The association has revealed that a lack of direct parental supervision is believed to be a contributing factor in 70% of all drowning deaths at public pools.

Lismore Memorial Baths manager Dave Gallpen said they had a similar policy in place.

"We enforce this rule at the gate so we don't get much of a problem," he said.

Lee Fitzgerald has been managing the Ballina Memorial Olympic Pool and Waterslide for 20 years and said as many as 600 children would attend the pool on hot days.

He said most parents remained on hand to supervise their children but said there had been exceptions.

"We have to let them in, we don't really have a choice because we can't leave them outside," he said.

Mr Davidson said "having fun at the local pool with your friends" was a fond part of growing up.

"If your children are under 14 years, be a part of those memories and join them at the pool," he said.

"Don't drop and run."

Pool Rules

Children are not allowed entry unless under active supervision of a person 16 years or older.

Parents and guardians should actively supervise their children at all times and be dressed ready to enter a pool.

For 0-5 year olds and non-swimmers, a parent or guardian needs to be in the water at all times and within arms' reach of the child.

Constant active supervision is required for children aged 6-10 years old.

For 11-14 year olds it is recommended that parents regularly check on their child by physically going to where they are in or around the water.

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