to let ds swim by himself?

(104 Posts)
whethergirl Sat 06-Apr-13 12:44:43

Ds, just turned 8, went swimming with his friend and friend's dad. I sat in the cafe, waving. Much of the time, the boys would separate and the dad & son would end up together, with ds playing with other kids.

There was a sign saying "children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult" which got me thinking, as I just presumed that you'd have to be older than that.

Anyway, time to leave the pool, with DS in tears, begging me if he can go again tomorrow.

I don't enjoy swimming. I have an enchanged forest down there that needs sorting out, and a spotty bum. I am really concious of my weight at the moment and on top of that, bloated with PMT. And I don't have a swimsuit. Only an attention grabbing pink polka dot bikini (and god knows where that is).

AIBU to take ds there tomorrow and sit out? He is not a particularly strong swimmer (has had a few terms of swimming lessons). He only plays in the shallow pool where there are fountains etc. and doesn't go in the deep end, he is not a daredevil, more cautious than necessary if anything. There are always plenty of lifeguards about there, blowing their whistles at the merest hint of breaking any rule. I would obviously also be watching from the cafe (which has quick access to the pool, should I need to do a pamela anderson). Having said that, I can lose sight of him as all wet kids look much alike.

exoticfruits Sat 06-Apr-13 13:34:50

If you are actually right by the pool side without even glass I can't see why there would be a problem.

Fairylea Sat 06-Apr-13 13:35:17

True exotic but in a busy pool a lone childcan often slip under the water unseen .. if they have friends with them at least the friend knows something has happened. That's what I meant by raising the alarm ! smile

exoticfruits Sat 06-Apr-13 13:37:38

Only if the friend is with him at all times. I would say that if you are talking about pure safety he is better without a friend who may well encourage things outside his capabilities, duck underwater etc etc.

CecilyP Sat 06-Apr-13 13:39:25

YANBU. At 9, I as a non-swimmer went to the pool with a non-swimming friend the same age. No parent watching poolside or anything like that. I was not so foolhardy to jump in the deep end or so clumsy that I accidentally fell in.

As your son sounds sensible, can swim a bit and you will be watching anyway, I really can't see a problem.

5eggstremelychocaletymadeggs Sat 06-Apr-13 13:44:00

Everything exotic has said.

As we have five children we can't be near all of ours the whole time when swimming, we stay with the little two and the elder three often go off and do their own thing, we keep an eye on them and keep tabs on what they are doing but they go in the main pool rather than the baby pool or down the slide etc.

So we are in the vicinity but not with them, same as you sitting in the cafe, its fine.

They are 13, 10 and 8.

RedHelenB Sat 06-Apr-13 13:49:02

A lifeguard is responsible for the whole pool though, they can't have one child under constant supervsion!

My ds 5 was swimming in the holiday pool out of his depth but i was on a lounger at the side & could easily save him, it wasn't a huge pool. Bit diffretn to a swimming baths.

MammaMedusa Sat 06-Apr-13 13:49:40

Is the pool's policy eight years old or eight years and some kind of competency criteria?

All the pools near me you have to be both over eight and able to swim 25 metres confidently. You have to show the life guard every time that you can do it and then they give you a band to show you've passed and can swim without an adult.

exoticfruits Sat 06-Apr-13 13:52:48

Your child is 5 yrs RedHelen-he isn't allowed in unaccompanied -you have to change what you allow as they get older.They also get more sensible-if the parent lets them. It isn't good for them to be made so scared that they can't do anything without mother glued to their side. As soon as you have more than one child you have to let go. I had a 10 year old, a 2 yr old and a baby-of course the 10 year old went off into the bigger pool-he had progressed beyond the baby pool.

exoticfruits Sat 06-Apr-13 13:55:08

8 yrs in my area-no one ever asked about swimming abilities. It is highly unlikely a non swimmer is going to go in the deep end, try and dive etc.

If they can't swim by 8yrs then I would say they are naturally cautious anyway.

ReallyTired Sat 06-Apr-13 14:00:20

I think that its fine for an eight year old to go in a swimming pool once he is level 4 ASA swimming standard. Ie. he can comfortably swim 25 metres, front crawl, breaststroke and back stroke.

RedHelenB I think you need to be in the pool with your son. You are playing russian roulette with his life if he is five years olds and cannot swim without floats. Drowning is a silent death and happens surprisingly quickly.

BackforGood Sat 06-Apr-13 14:01:59

In our area it's always been 8 too. No questions about swimming abilities. My dc were all allowed to go at 8 (with each other though generally, it's not that much fun on your own).

Startail Sat 06-Apr-13 14:02:41

As long as its a pool with a clearly defined shallow end and no waves he should have fun. If you keep it to about half an hours mess about so he doesn't get bored and adventurous you should be ok.

I'm the exact opposite of you, I don't want to sit on the side, I want to do lengths of the big pool, so my two got left the second they looked 8. In fact the DDs have been loosing me in swimming pools since they were 5 or 6, but they swim like fish and parents are boring.

Also I'm very short sighted and my prescription googles steam up so it's not very difficult to 'get' lost.

Personally I'd let him splash about this holiday and make sure he learns to be confident in deep water by the summer.

Most 8 year olds round here and all my old Brownies were happy to go in the deepens and on the water shoot by 8/9 so he is liable to want to be more adventurous very soon.

Also our local pool does sensibly priced birthday parties with a big inflatable from 8 and that has to be in deep water to be safe to fall off.

exoticfruits Sat 06-Apr-13 14:05:42

I can't believe MN sometimes!

Here you have one sensible child who has never shown himself to be a dare devil near water. He simply wants to play around near the shallow end. His mother is going to be sitting watching him, there isn't even glass between them. It will be a family session and there will be lifeguards who are responsible for everyone in the pool. It is hardly as if she is dropping him off with a friend (who might lead him on) and going off shopping.
OP can make the simple rule that if he wants to do it he needs to stay in her sight.

I can't get my head around the fact that a child who isn't a strong swimmer is suddenly going to fall in the deep end, the lifeguard, other swimmers and mother are not going to notice.
I would suggest that OP has a nice coffee, relaxes, DS will most likely come and talk to her quite a lot, he will play happily in her sight and the lifeguard will have a regular boring session and the most he/she will have to do is make people stick to the rules. She will be happy, he will be happy so a good time will be had by all!

exoticfruits Sat 06-Apr-13 14:08:07

Good point with the eye sight. I am very short sighted in the pool, so much more likely to spot him if in the cafe with my glasses on!

SkiBumMum Sat 06-Apr-13 14:14:46

50m? I can't swim that far I don't think! Why so far? Even in a 50m (Olympic) pool you'd only be 25m max from one end and unless it was square, closer to a side sounds like a gcse maths problem!

I'd go for it OP.

RosemaryandThyme Sat 06-Apr-13 14:19:47

Rather than have a knee-jerk reaction to your lad being upset at leaving the pool today, maybe plot a longer term strategy.

He is 8, able to swim a bit but not particularly confident or strong, probably of poorish technique to battle waves and sea tides etc, mum is not wanting to get in the pool everyday and teach him.
Cost of one child, coffees for mum, parking petrol, choccie bar after etc, probably about £10.

So - where do you want him to be by age nine ?
Strong confident swimmer, able to battle against a small tidal current, able to right himself if he tips a canoe, happy to join in with sports and clubs that have a bit of swimming / water based activity.

So how to get him there - swim lessons, more the merrier, intensive courses and one to ones are available, you'd see a great improvement by August and need never be anxious again.

BackforGood Sat 06-Apr-13 14:20:00

Excellent post Exotic

RosemaryandThyme Sat 06-Apr-13 14:23:57

With the 50m requirement its a broad way of determining strength, should you need to rescue a child in trouble in a swimming pool, which I've had to do four times in the last six months, to get to them, go under and get them up, move them into back and chin grip position, get them to the side and then yank them and yourself out, takes a certain amount of both co-ordination and upper body strength.

bigTillyMint Sat 06-Apr-13 14:33:27

DS used to walk round to the local pool with his mate every Saturday when he was 8. They were both strong swimmers and loved the independence. We relished the peace and quietwink

merrymouse Sat 06-Apr-13 14:43:43

Follow the guidelines of the pool surely?

trinity0097 Sat 06-Apr-13 14:52:55

I would have thought that the lifeguards at a family swim will be very vigilant, my experience is that they don't bother paying attention when it's an early morning swim and adults do lengths, I reckon I could slip under and drown without either of the two lifeguards noticing where u swim before work every day, that is because they are bored and tired, but in the middle of the day when there are people doing interesting stuff in the pool far easier to keep focused on your job!

The pool rules say 8, your kid is 8, and you will be in the room anyway, so go for it! (BTW at my local pool the rule is 8 with no mention of competency swimming, but kids with arm bands are only allowed up to the end of the shallow bit)

lljkk Sat 06-Apr-13 15:15:08

If the pool allows it then yes of course I would (and have done). Might mention to the lifeguard. IME they don't mind, they are happy to have something different to think about.

ReallyTired Sat 06-Apr-13 16:56:32

I found the rules frustrating when dd was a baby. Ds was seven years old and could swim 200 metres easily both front and back. We were told we both had to be in the baby pool. My son was not allowed to go in the main pool with me sitting at the side with the baby.

In my experience children do not suddenly develop sense. Eight year old boys often do stupid things when egged on by their friends. I know another sensible 8 year old boy who was dared to jump of the diving board and would have drowned if it had not been for the lifeguards.

I feel that swimming competency is as important as age.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Sat 06-Apr-13 16:56:43

True exotic but in a busy pool a lone childcan often slip under the water unseen

Any pool where children are often slipping under the water unseen by the trained and paid lifeguards needs closing down.

50m is at least two lengths of most pools - Olympic sized are really few and far between!

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