To disagree with swimming teacher over girls having top half on show

(138 Posts)
Charlottehere Fri 16-Aug-13 19:00:56

I don't think I am. Dd, age 4 has just had her weekly swimming lesson. I couldn't find her swimming costume so put her 8 year old sister's on her. The costume was obviously big and hung down on her so one nipple was exposed. Shock.

While dd was in her lesson, a member of the admin staff called me into the office. I was told that female swimming teacher was worried that the male teacher would be embarrassed and it wasn't fair that dd swimming costume was too big and could I make sure she had one that fit next time.

I told him I thought that was ridiculous and have no issue with a 4 year old being uncovered at a swimming pool.

What do you think?

NapaCab Fri 16-Aug-13 19:02:58

So the admin staff prioritize the needs of adult male staff over children, do they? I couldn't give a hoot if an adult male is uncomfortable. All that matters is whether your daughter was embarrassed or uncomfortable. If she felt fine wearing a too-big swimsuit then there's no issue.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Fri 16-Aug-13 19:04:18

YANBU. It is fucking madness with stuff like this. DS has to wear a vest under his judo kit even in the height of summer for "safeguarding reasons". Load of bollocks. I can understand the girls in his judo class wanting to do that (aged 7 -11), but boys? FFS.

Same comment applies to the swimming instructor: FFS!

SirChenjin Fri 16-Aug-13 19:04:29

He feels uncomfortable about seeing a 4 year old's nipple? I think he's the one with the problem tbh.

gordyslovesheep Fri 16-Aug-13 19:04:48

yabu - it's not about YOU minding is it? For whatever reason the staff where not happy about it

It's a lesson - she should have been wearing the correct clothing

mine often go topless or naked on the beach ...but not for a swimming lesson

JustBecauseICan Fri 16-Aug-13 19:05:16

Of course it's silly, but the male instructor, sadly has to cover his back here.

The paedo-noics could have a field day sadly with a little girl being "seen" by a male instructor.

Sad indictment of the way some people feel today.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Fri 16-Aug-13 19:05:32

Yes, that's the other thing - what the fuck is an adult male getting uncomfortable about seeing the chest of a 4 yr old girl????? Jesus Christ! HE is the one with the problem!!

Charlottehere Fri 16-Aug-13 19:05:32

Thanks for replies, thought so. Dd wasn't bothered.

defineme Fri 16-Aug-13 19:05:33

I would email management company and ask what their policy is because that's ridiculous. I would be fine if my dd went in in just pants-she often does at the beach. On the continent little girls just wear bottoms like the boys do. I can't see why a 4 yrolds nipples would offend anyone.

FannyFifer Fri 16-Aug-13 19:06:27

Wtf, my 3 and a half year old DD usually just wears swim shorts in the pool, was just in a swim nappy previous to being toilet trained.

gordyslovesheep Fri 16-Aug-13 19:08:19

but if, as with out lessons, the staff are IN THE POOL and handling the children I can see why he may worry about accusations = staff have to protect themselves

Squitten Fri 16-Aug-13 19:09:23

YANBU. Bear in mind, the admin told you this, NOT the teacher. I doubt the male teacher would think twice about it.

What they really meant, but couldn't say, was that they are terrified of being accused of all sorts by some utterly paranoid parent.

Charlottehere Fri 16-Aug-13 19:09:34

Define me, seriously considering that.

JustBecauseICan Fri 16-Aug-13 19:09:57

OP says it was a female member of staff who thought the bloke might be embarrassed so let's not prove our own points here by having him hung drawn and castrated shall we?

They will have been through rigorous child protection training (as I did myself a month ago) and sadly, will have been told that a naked/exposed child is not something to be allowed. The same would be said if it were a boy with no trunks and a male or female instructor.

Think of this scenario...what would the paedo-noics make of "my 4 yr old's cozzie top slipped and the instructor didn't say anything! He was clearly looking at her nipples!" Same scenario- different viewpoint.

No harm done and all that.

Charlottehere Fri 16-Aug-13 19:10:26

Squitten, the femail teacher told the admin staff to tell me

gordyslovesheep Fri 16-Aug-13 19:10:55

yes this What they really meant, but couldn't say, was that they are terrified of being accused of all sorts by some utterly paranoid parent sadly

Charlottehere Fri 16-Aug-13 19:11:55

What's the difference in a 4 year old boy having his top half exposed and a 4 year old girl? confused

froken Fri 16-Aug-13 19:11:57

yanbu! I think you should point out that the boys have exactly the same sort of nipples as yuor dd so they should be in some sort of victorian chest covering get up!

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Fri 16-Aug-13 19:12:34

People need to show they have safeguarding in place though. Isn't 'embarrassed' code for 'fears accusation of inappropriate touching'?

I once saw a male instructor go into a panic when a little girl (3ish) got out of the pool and stripped. Parents were on a balcony and he called over a female instructor to help her get dressed again. I don't think he was embarrassed by her nipples, I think he was worried that he would be accused of something. I think men working with kids do need to to err on the side of caution to protect themselves, as do the institutions they work for, and saying that they have a problem isn't really helpful.

Squitten Fri 16-Aug-13 19:12:46

Yeah, I know. I meant that the man himself hasn't actually expressed this opinion. All you've heard is a load of paranoia from other people so don't blame him!

frogspoon Fri 16-Aug-13 19:13:22

I think this was probably done more to protect the swimming teacher than your daughter.

Anyone who works with children or other vulnerable people is at risk of being falsely accused of any inappropriate behaviour. Even if these accusations are later proven to be completely false, the long term consequences can be devastating.

Sorry OP, but you'll have to go with it.

Charlottehere Fri 16-Aug-13 19:15:32

Frog spoon, I will making sure dd is wearing a well fitting swim suit from now on -tempted to send dd in bikin bottoms next week--

JustBecauseICan Fri 16-Aug-13 19:15:57

What's the difference? Sadly in our society the same difference that means people might giggle a bit if I got my tits out in Asda, but blokes are free to do so.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Fri 16-Aug-13 19:15:58

Point taken by PPs who have mentioned erring on the side of caution by male (and female) instructors. Still, it makes me very cross. (And I am in a right mood tonight, so even more sweary and ranty than usual).

ChippingInHopHopHop Fri 16-Aug-13 19:16:03

I was told that female swimming teacher was worried that the male teacher would be embarrassed

So, let's not drag the male teacher into this... he quite possibly wouldn't have even noticed.

Next week, I'd take her in bottoms only and if anyone says anything - I'd ask them to define the difference in a male and female torso at that age.

Fucking idiots.

Boy with no trunks is not the same as a girl with a loose top.

Charlottehere Fri 16-Aug-13 19:16:51

Just because, your tits are different to a mans body...4 year olds the same

Smartiepants79 Fri 16-Aug-13 19:24:11

Can I point out that the male teacher has actually neither said nor done anything.
His colleague has chosen to raise the issue. We have no way of knowing if he is uncomfortable with this or not.
I have no problem with small girls wearing whatever they choose but I have read threads on here with many people pulling this shock face at small children running about on the beach with just pants on so everyone feels differently about these things.
The swimming instructor is just covering themselves. One stupid accusation from one hysterical parent can end their career.

MollyBerry Fri 16-Aug-13 19:36:43

I don't understand at 4 why girls can't wear just trunks like boys.

FannyFifer Fri 16-Aug-13 19:37:58

My DD does just wear shorts, likes being the same as her brothers

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Fri 16-Aug-13 19:42:44

Maybe the pool doesn't want to get involved in setting an age whereby girls should cover their chests so they have a blanket rule, esp for lessons.

Iamsparklyknickers Fri 16-Aug-13 19:46:45

Are you sure the swimming costume actually covered her torso completely?

If it was big enough to hang down when she was dry I can well imagine the legs moving around in the water, getting in and out etc. In general public pools aren't beaches and they have dress codes usually, so as well as a colleague pointing out that the instructor may be uncomfortable (doubt he'd want a little boy wearing too-big trunks that kept falling down either) she was right to point out an ill-fitting suit wasn't fair either.

Not to mention kids are silly - bum flashers could cause no end of giggling distractions which you don't want to deal with when you're trying to control a group of kids in the pool.

mayorquimby Fri 16-Aug-13 19:46:54

Was ready to weigh in against those berating the lad who's done nothing but see its been covered

Emilythornesbff Fri 16-Aug-13 19:58:55

I agree with Ithinkofhappy that this seems like a (quite understandable imho) way of avoiding having to set an age limit for "nipple exposure"

A bit confused that a woman would worry about a man being embarrassed though. Projecting??

Emilythornesbff Fri 16-Aug-13 20:00:34

OK for teachers to make us (at school in the 70s) wear vest and knickers though when we forgot our PE kit grin

pianodoodle Fri 16-Aug-13 20:03:33

Better wearing the too-big cossie and having chest on show than putting them in a bikini which simply draws attention to something that isn't even there yet.

Turniptwirl Fri 16-Aug-13 21:33:28

4 year old nipples are the same whether their owner is male or female surely?

I could understand if it was an older girl edging towards puberty but not old enough to be conscious of these things, but a four year old?

I suspect the male teacher had no problem and the female staff member was just weird.

As long as she could move freely, wasn't in danger if catching any loose fabric on anything and was comfortable then I don't see what the problem is

x2boys Fri 16-Aug-13 21:39:10

male staff probably would not be embarrased but with the whole safeguarding /paedophilia worries [very overated in my opinion ]he may be concerned ?

meditrina Fri 16-Aug-13 21:39:36

And perhaps they were also concerned that a too-big swimsuit will not stay put on the body, and at the instructor (whether male or female) wants to teach swimming, not deal with clothing malfunctions?

VikingVagine Fri 16-Aug-13 21:42:16

DD is almost four, when she goes swimming with the school (we're in France) costumes are optional, the little ones who don't go naked, only ever wear bikini bottoms. Girls here often don't cover their nipples until they hit puberty. No one bats an eyelid.

BrokenSunglasses Fri 16-Aug-13 21:59:31

They didn't say the male teacher was uncomfortable, they were said they were worried he might be. There's a difference. Hopefully the teacher was a normal human being who wouldn't have thought twice about the size of your dds costume and someone was just taking their safeguarding responsibilities a bit over the top.

It's crazy, but I'd just give your daughter a swimming costume that fits.

candycoatedwaterdrops Fri 16-Aug-13 22:22:26

Are you sure it was just her nipple she was flashing? I imagine it would have been big around the crotch too. That said, YANBU.

KissMeHardy Fri 16-Aug-13 22:25:38

A bit confused that a woman would worry about a man being embarrassed though. Projecting??

Got the wrong letter there...........proTecting, more like, Emily

namechangesforthehardstuff Fri 16-Aug-13 22:34:51

DD always just wears the bottom half of a two piece. She's 3. I can't see why she would wear the top half until she gets close to puberty or she decided to change it. Think this is absolutely bizarre confused

Actually though it's probably just what happens when you put stupid people in charge of safeguarding...

Fairyegg Fri 16-Aug-13 23:15:34

Surely a costume for an 8 year old put on a 4 year old it too big all over? I imagine she was displaying more than a nipple whilst swimming which mainly isn't fair on her, but it also puts the swimming instructors, male and female, in a very vulnerable position. I think you are missing the point that they were politely trying to make.

x2boys Fri 16-Aug-13 23:16:03

I do agree namechange I mean how can any prepubescent child be offensive my last comment was realy about the hysteria oversafe garding

namechangesforthehardstuff Fri 16-Aug-13 23:21:46

Fairyegg have you missed the fact that she's 4?

DD spends most of her life stark.bollock naked standing on her head with her legs in horizontal splits. But that's OK, nothing is being 'displayed' 'cos she's a baby

Fairyegg Fri 16-Aug-13 23:32:20

No I haven't. My point Is she's in a swimming pool with presumely other children, parents and instructors being able to see her. Sadly nowadays the instructors have to protect themselves and the public against potential allegations. Besides anything else it can't of been comfortable or easy for her to swim in a costume that is far to big for her.

Smartiepants79 Fri 16-Aug-13 23:33:58

This is not about whether a 4 year old body is offensive.
fairyegg is right.
This is about a teacher protecting themselves from accusations.
It is unfair to put them in that position.
What yr 4 year old does whilst they are with you or in your home is irrelevant.
If your child was allowed to strip naked and stand on her head while at preschool/nursery/childminders you would (probably) be upset.
It is not appropriate whilst they are in someone else's (non-family) care.

5madthings Fri 16-Aug-13 23:39:43

Yanbu, my dd only wears bottoms, I just bought her swim pants as she is newly potty trained and a costume is a pita. She will just wear swim pants until she wants a costume or is old enough to need a top.

pigletmania Fri 16-Aug-13 23:43:07

Yanbu at all madness!

NoComet Fri 16-Aug-13 23:44:41

It's one thing to state all girls wear full costumes for lessons and hence not have to set an arbitrary age for wearing a top.

But complaining about a clearly accidental one off wearing of big sisters costume is down right stupid.

We have, new complicated safe guarding rules for going to the loo in gym classes, DD2 and her DF think they are insane. I very much doubt they obey them.

ICBINEG Sat 17-Aug-13 00:17:43

yup top half covering only 'necessary' after onset of puberty. Presumably 4 is a little young for that even in this day and age....

On the other hand my DH had some sort of 'incident' in Sburys recently because an approx 4 year old was wearing a low cut sparkly, supposed-to-look 'sexy' top that was hanging so low you could see her nipples. This appears to have very nearly caused DH to puke. He said it set up a painful feedback loop involving her being far to young to wear that type of 'revealing/provocative' clothing the fact you could see things you shouldn't be able to if she had had anything to show and the fact that she didn't have anything to show meant the clothing was all wrong....and loop.

Nipples showing from above/below a bikini top is possibly substantially worse than not wearing a top at all. I know that isn't what was going on here...I think it is possible that inadvertent nipple appearance is more of a problem than planned nipple appearance...

good grief really not sure I am making sense.

Emilythornesbff Sat 17-Aug-13 05:58:50

Yes starballbunny that's true. It seems a bit inappropriate to have to mention it at all tbh.

Emilythornesbff Sat 17-Aug-13 06:03:34

kissmehardy no, not the wrong letter. I think it's entirely possible she was projecting her own issues. She may, of course, also have been attempting to protect a colleague from embarrassment / fear of false accusation.

Buddhagirl Sat 17-Aug-13 06:03:59

Ugh since when do we sexualise children so much. She is 4! Who gives a shit!? Lots of people apparently.

Rosa Sat 17-Aug-13 07:09:29

Both mine have spent the past month in bikinipants only ... We are in Italy and this is the norm ...they are 7&4 and nobody blinks an eye.... In dds swimming lessons there have been a few girls in shorts/ pants as well . In shops up to age 7/8 its normal for them only to sell bottoms. We are going to a water parks today and they will probably wear bottoms only .Its up to them.
Think its OTT and babies have to be covered as well...worlds gone mad.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sat 17-Aug-13 07:30:35

The issue is safeguarding and anyone who works with children is naturally concerned about accusations. It doesn't matter whether it is true or not the "no smoke without fire" brigade will always voice their opinions and a career can be destroyed. I worked with a wonderful man who comforted a child during a thunder storm, the child had taken off his t-shirt because he was hot, accusations were made and although he was totally exonerated the investigation was on-going when he killed himself. Perhaps the OP should just buy a spare swimsuit.

Ilovemyself Sat 17-Aug-13 08:19:10

Well said ilovegeorgeclooney

I feel uncomfortable even with friends children about helping them on slides/ swings/etc and whilst I would love to give them a hug if they are upset I am very concerned about it so don't.

Not because I would ever think about anything inappropriate but because these days people fear the worst and I would hate to be accused of something.

Could it be that what was said was just a poor way of saying he was worried about being accused of things ( or his colleague was worried foR join)

waltzingmathilda Sat 17-Aug-13 08:21:46

For a forum that takes the H&S belts and braces approach to ridiculous limits at times; the reputation and professional reputation of the instructor is paramount in this instance.

Agree with georgecloony

meditrina Sat 17-Aug-13 08:28:17

Notice that Op says two things

a) instructor concerned about causing embarrassment, and
b) it wasn't fair that dd swimming costume was too big

Of course it's not fair - it would impede movement and cause chafing.

You can't assume there would be any comment had the 4year old been in properly fitting trunks, as it's not straightforward toplessness at issue here. And instructors might well find it embarrassing and intrusive of the lesson to be dealing with inappropriately clad pupils.

I hope her own swimsuit has turned up now.

MistressDeeCee Sat 17-Aug-13 08:31:41

I doubt the male teacher said a damn thing. Its just the other teacher being over-zealous here. All Im hoping OP is that your DD wasnt made to feel uncomfortable in any way at all by anybody involved in this scenario.

Gracie990 Sat 17-Aug-13 08:41:38

Haven't read whole thread but...
Have to say if it was exposing her nipple her bottom must have been exposed.

I think this is one of those "oh yes, sorry your right, it was a one off" sort of smile and nod things.

Our pool doesn't allow children to strip in the open plan showers. I have been told off for my three year old stripping. I always do the " oh right, thanks" then ignore them

JustBecauseICan Sat 17-Aug-13 09:16:04

I am also guessing that the posters going on about "shops selling bottoms only" are actually aware that that is the norm for some ranges, and if they move around the stand they will, shock horror, find only tops as well. It's to do with sizing not to do with it being acceptable in some places to run around half nekkid.

5madthings Sat 17-Aug-13 09:30:27

actually dome shops and retailers do sell just bottom half if swimsuits for young children. my daughter has one.

h&m had them in their toddler section, boots did them recently and many online retailers such as boden and jojomamambebe etc.

of course its perfectly acceptable for little children to be half naked ie bottoms covered but not tops.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sat 17-Aug-13 10:03:35

The fact is not so much the nipple is being revealed but that the instructor was put in the position it might appear that the nipple had been 'uncovered'. People either want strong child protection legislation or not. If, as everyone should, you do then don't get arsey if it requires some effort on the parent as well. How difficult is it to put your child into their own swimsuit! It seems to all be about rights not responsibilities. The instructor should not have been put in this situation by the OP, she made him vulnerable to accusations yet objected to being reminded that her child should be dressed appropriately for an activity.

GangstersLoveToDance Sat 17-Aug-13 10:23:55

I would say the issue was probably more the fact that they expect children to be in properly fitting swimwear.

I have seen both extremes at dcs lessons - girls in costumes that are far too small, showing the nipples at one end and cutting it at the other. Then some kids who blatantly have on costumes far, far too big which are flapping around all over the place - straps coming down etc.

Neither is fair on the child. They are impractical. Take it on the chin and next time make sure your dc have costumes that fit.

BoffinMum Sat 17-Aug-13 10:26:11

YANBU. It's the nudity nazis out in force. What planet are they on?? Embarrassed, FFS? It's not 1910.

extracrunchy Sat 17-Aug-13 10:34:13

That is just WEIRD. As if a male swim teacher would be any more aware of a little girl in a sexual way than he would a little boy! Why would he be embarrassed?!? The female teacher sounds a bit warped tbh.

extracrunchy Sat 17-Aug-13 10:36:32

Honestly... Uncovered little girl chests are no less decent than uncovered little boy chests! It's the same weirdness with bikinis for little girls - they're not boobs ffs! They're just nipples like boys have and they are in no way sexual.

TheProsAndConsOfHitchhiking Sat 17-Aug-13 10:47:22

I completely understand the pool covering their backs with this one. The male teacher didnt say anything it was a female who brought it to your attention.

I think you have to accept that it is not suitable for a 4 yr old wearing a 8 year old costume whilst having a lesson, I'm sure it would have been baggy all over and not just the upper half.

What will be next? A flash mob taking over the pool with half dressed 4 year olds? grin

Fakebook Sat 17-Aug-13 10:49:29

So what age do we start teaching our children to keep their private bits private?

I was talking about this to a friend yesterday and both our daughters are 5 and know that you don't show/flash your bottom to strangers and they knew this from age 4 when they started school.

I don't think the issue is the male swimming instructor here, the issue is that it's not fair on your daughter and I bet more than her nipples were showing whilst swimming if the costume hung down.

extracrunchy Sat 17-Aug-13 10:50:45

Bottom half definitely not ok - were her bottoms also baggy?

JustBecauseICan Sat 17-Aug-13 10:57:44

Any swimming instructor would be aware because he/she will have been made to do a rigorous child protection course/training where he/she will have been warned against finding himself accused of maybe even "looking" by the paedo-noics.

No-one is saying that it's not a sad thing that a little girl can't run around in the nuddy, or swim in half a top, they are just saying, as IloveGeorgeClooney is, that you can't have it both ways. Either child protection issues are enforced or it's a free for all. It's the same guidelines covering no photography in swimming pools etc. (only last week my Aunt was moaning that she had gone with her friend to have cuppa in the pool cafe and watch her grandson's swimming lesson, but found she couldn't see because the cafe, open to the general public, but sharing a glass wall with the pool, has fitted blinds against the glass wall so people can't come in and sit in the cafe watching the pool- ridiculous, yes, safeguarding abso-fucking-lutely)

Ilovemyself Sat 17-Aug-13 10:58:08

I bet all the people saying the. Instructor was in the wrong would be the first to complain if they thought the male instructor was looking at the little girl in a funny way.

Ilovegeorgeclooney you are 100% right. If people want strict child protraction laws they also need to take responsibility for their children and the way they are dressed.

bigbluebus Sat 17-Aug-13 11:03:07

If it's anything like our local pool where DS learned to swim, most of the swimming instructors are 6th formers from the local Secondary school. It is possible that if this was a teenage male swimming instructor, then the female instructor was just 'looking out' for him.

My DS (who is now 16) was at the beach with us the other day (we live inland so don't haven't been to the beach much in recent years). There were a group of children in the sea naked. DS asked me if that was allowed or even considered decent. I explained that as the children all looked under 5, then I couldn't see a problem with it at all, and in the good old days we would all have done it at that age.

So I think it is the perception of what is considered acceptable that has changed now - and not necessarily always for the better.

Solari Sat 17-Aug-13 12:12:15

I do think child protection has swung too far into paranoia, but honestly, I'd rather have it that way than the rather lax attitudes I encountered as a small child, which enabled my molesters (plural) to target me rather easily.

I do think this particular incident is a rather silly one to be raised by the swimming instructors, but if that's the price we pay for a more watchful eye... so be it, I say.

Solari Sat 17-Aug-13 12:16:34

<scrubs the word "rather" from brain, far too much of it in that comment!>

hackmum Sat 17-Aug-13 12:21:59

I don't really understand this business about protecting the male teacher against allegations of impropriety. Who's going to make the allegations, exactly? And why would they be more likely to make the allegations just because the girl was showing a bit of nipple?

Smartiepants79 Sat 17-Aug-13 14:19:07

Sadly ANYONE can make allegations.
Several other people have already explained why this poor swimming teacher should not have been put in this position.
This is a very dodgy area for anyone involved in child care/teaching.
One allegation = his life in tatters.

BoffinMum Sun 18-Aug-13 08:15:07

If people think dressing children in a particular way will somehow eradicate paedophilia then they are not only wrong but incredibly stupid.

And screening windows off just makes it harder for bystanders to keep extra pairs of eyes out for swimmers having potential problems.


Emilythornesbff Sun 18-Aug-13 08:26:12

True boffin.

The thread's veering off a bit. The male teacher apparently I'd that the male teacher might be embarrassed (ok, still [confised]) not that he was afraid of being accused of being a pedophile.
And false allegations are much less common that seems to be being suggested.

Emilythornesbff Sun 18-Aug-13 08:28:36

Doh. male teacher i'd = female teacher said.

BoffinMum Sun 18-Aug-13 08:57:03

If I was the male/female swimming teacher's line manager and he/she said something like this, I would tell them not to be so silly. But it sounds to me like the female swimming teacher decided to take it upon herself to act as a nudity Nazi, with the administrator colluding, and the male teacher may not even know she had done this.

Nothing gives petty bureaucrats more of a buzz than accusing people of some imagined infraction and the other person having to kow tow to their views. (I note she didn't have the courage to say anything to you directly at the time, which could have been done in a lighthearted and friendly way, but effectively hid behind the administrator).

Leisure centres are particularly excellent at making the public feel as unwelcome and as naughty as possible IME, with their stupid ratios, impractical changing areas, prison style security and unsmiling, gossiping staff. The Brittas Empire has nothing on the modern leisure centre.

In this case, the only reason for a new swimsuit would be if the child was having trouble swimming in the old one. And this was not given as a reason.

Knowing me, if some pipsqueak nudity nazi had tried backfooting me like this, I would probably make a formal complaint in writing to the head of the leisure centre. The female swimming teacher and the male administrator are supposed to be friendly and welcoming to children and their parents and this was very heavy handed and unnecessary.

<and breathe>

BoffinMum Sun 18-Aug-13 08:59:13

How good it would be to get someone like Alex Polizzi to address the customer service side of leisure centres.

OctopusPete8 Sun 18-Aug-13 09:00:03

In your sit I would probably think, right time to get a more fitted swimsuit, and thats it.

Ilovemyself Sun 18-Aug-13 09:13:11

Oh come on boffinmum.

Whatever you think about leisure centre customer service, you can't complain that she was covering her colleagues arse. As I said earlier, people are quick to want to ensure that their children are protected, but then complain when staff do so, or cover their own backside to ensure they are not accused of any impropriety.

If ONE person makes an allegation against a staff member, no matter what the outcome the mud sticks. If you are accused of something as wrong as being a pedo it can be life changing ( and as others have said potentially life ending).

It's not about dressing children to eradicate pedophila (although the age they are sexualised by the way some are dressed IS wrong) - its about being appropriate, dressing your child correctly for the occasion, and remembering the YOU as a parent have a responsibility to ensure those that have your children in their care, whether you are there or not, are not put in a position where anyone can accuse them. ( sorry - lots of you's there. They are general, not aimed at you in particular)

Ilovemyself Sun 18-Aug-13 09:14:53

Emily. Are false allegations not as prevalent because of these " stupid" rules.

sydlexic Sun 18-Aug-13 09:25:34

Yes it is utterly ridiculous to have all of these silly child protection rules, much better in the days of Jimmy Saville and his cronies.

BoffinMum Sun 18-Aug-13 09:28:23

But look at the context here. It was a swimming class and presumably all the parents were there, as well as two teachers. One of the kids wore a floppy swimsuit. What the hell could you make an allegation about? Nothing, presumably. Which is why the petty bureaucrat invoked 'embarrassment' instead. They wanted to feel they had a sense of control and the right to wrong foot parents when they felt like it.

This is all about getting members of the public under the thumb and using a rhetoric of morality to justify it.

BoffinMum Sun 18-Aug-13 09:30:33

The proper way to do it would have been to have a laugh with the parent about the floppiness of the swimsuit and hint nicely that it was maybe time for a different one if the child was going to stand any chance of getting into the 2022 Olympics. It's called being friendly and diplomatic.

BoffinMum Sun 18-Aug-13 09:39:01

Syd, some of the child protection 'rules' are actually detrimental to children's wellbeing and overall development, such as not putting sun cream on them, not giving them doses of medicines they need, not cuddling them when they have fallen over, and possibly the practice of making them overly self conscious about their bodies.

Which is why when I last wrote a safeguarding policy with my professional hat on, I emphasised the need for having a sense of proportion.

If people scream 'abuse' and 'paedo' all the time, in relation to trivia, it just has the effect of making the haystack bigger, making those needles harder to find. We have to use our judgement rather better than that if we want to tackle the problem.

BoffinMum Sun 18-Aug-13 09:43:14

The Savile thing was much more complex than this. It was about males abusing power, and the worship of celebrities, btw.

hackmum Sun 18-Aug-13 09:55:15

BoffinMum: "It was a swimming class and presumably all the parents were there, as well as two teachers. One of the kids wore a floppy swimsuit. What the hell could you make an allegation about? Nothing, presumably."

Yes, that was the point I was trying to make, really. Also that if anyone was going to make an allegation (which seems unlikely) the fact that a child was wearing a loose swimming suit wouldn't really be an extra inducement. I find it hard to work out what kind of scenario people are envisaging here.

JustBecauseICan Sun 18-Aug-13 10:29:09

But try this........Our OP goes home and has a laugh with the next door neighbour about how MiniOP's cozzie was too loose and her nipples were on show in the door neighbour says "what! And the male instructor didn't say anything?!!! Oooh, he must have been getting off on seeing that 4 yr old's that's why he became a swimming instructor in the first place!" And so the seeds are sown.

Emilythornesbff Sun 18-Aug-13 10:41:10

No Ilovemyself the reason that false allegations are uncommon is because small children don't make false allegations of abuse.
Not because all the little girls' non existent boobies are covered up in a public pool.

Emilythornesbff Sun 18-Aug-13 10:42:46

Who the fuck says shit like that? justbecauseican?

Emilythornesbff Sun 18-Aug-13 10:44:03

boffinmum I'm afraid I think you're right.

Bit tiresome as I'm Bout to take several children swimming at our local public pool. grin

Iamsparklyknickers Sun 18-Aug-13 10:51:30

As this thread is still going I would like to point out that swimming in ill fitting clothes is actually really hard, there's a reason we didn't all don our pj's day one to get that stupid brick off the bottom of the pool grin

Really OP's DD would have been better off completely in her birthday suit, but as we all seem accept that wearing something is better than nothing at a public pool then it seems to me that it's petty to be arguing over whether a bit of 4-year-old chest on show is an issue. Clearly the need for a costume isn't an issue so why is it wrong to offer up reasons why badly fitting costumes shouldn't be worn?

I can't quite pinpoint the reasoning if I'm honest.

PrincessFlirtyPants Sun 18-Aug-13 11:30:03

Apologies in advance for the Daily Fail link...

Some people seem to be under the impression that a man = a paedophile. It's not a view I hold and I doubt it's one the vast majority on this thread hold.

The sad fact is, men have been mad to feel that they need to be careful about their behaviour around children. Yes it's ridiculous. The swimming instructor may have been told by a colleague that he needed to be careful in case anyone thought nothing sinister was going on.

I think it says more about our society that we can't just allow a 4yr old go swimming with a costume that maybe a bit big. If the girl is comfortable why should anyone be uncomfortable?!

BoffinMum Sun 18-Aug-13 13:25:07

Exactly my point.

Here are some examples of how lazy group thinking can actually turn evil, from history.

First that comes to mind is witchcraft hysteria, with people pointing the finger because being a bit different or doing something the church didn't approve of (like healing people with herbs rather than prayer) was considered evil. And it was an easy way for people to do down others they didn't like, or to get rid of people so they could grab their possessions, status or whatever. It was also a very useful device for putting witchfinders in positions of power, and getting the public so worried about something that they failed to see bad government/justice/management happening elsewhere. Mob justice, and something we still occasionally see, when it gets around someone may be a paedophile (or in one unfortunate case, a paediatrician).

Another example might be the East German Stasi and the KGB in Russia spying on people and incarcerating anyone who seemed 'undesirable' or 'difficult', apparently on a whim. Imagine them sending for your DH or father and interrogating him for hours, for no reason, or because someone at work had intimated he was somehow disloyal to the regime. During the interrogation, the scent of his fear hormones would be impregnated within the fabric of the seat he was sitting on. The fabric would then be bottled so in case the state ever wished to hunt him down, the dogs would have something to follow. I am sure there were people in East Germany arguing that this was not a problem if people had nothing to hide. I would suggest interrogating random members of the public on the say-so of someone who might have a vested interest in their demise is very much a problem (and of course even easier these days with DNA testing and samples being kept apparently indefinitely in some cases). I can imagine this type of scenario (albeit without the dogs) in our own society in relation to accusations of paedophilia, can't you? Perhaps this is why people go to extreme ends to look 'right'. But do you really think paedophiles are incapable of also looking 'right'?? More 'right', even??Wouldn't it be better if we took a rounded view of all of this rather than panicking all the time and living irrationally in fear of accusations?

So we have paedophilia as the new witchcraft. It gives lazy thinkers a lot of scope for feeling self-righteous, for example the argument 'If you care about children you won't criticise any measure taken to protect them, no matter how bonkers or hysterical or inappropriate'. And for petty bureaucrats it's a complete golden ticket. It means that they can pull rank regularly and keep clients/parents/the public in their place, because NOBODY EVER DARES ARGUE WHEN ANY OF THESE MEASURES ARE STUPID. For example, parents being prevented from photographing their kids at school shows. Little girls being forced to cover up their tops when boys don't have to. Kids not being 'allowed' to walk to and from school by themselves. Teachers not being allowed to put a bit of suncream on small children. I am sure everyone reading this can think of lots more. Making parents obey these spurious rules conditions them to feel they have to do anything else bureaucrats tell them do, and there are a lot of vested interests there too.

The DM and similar publications fuel this stupid hysteria. It provides easy copy, and shortcut to an article. The same papers fuel the hysteria as regularly build up celebrity figures such as Savile in the eyes of the public. That's easy copy for them as well. They have their cake and eat it.

But while millions of people are fretting about the visibility of nipples, children globally are getting trafficked and raped and murdered, and we simply aren't doing enough about that. Why? You can't make money out of stopping trafficking/child rape/child murder. You can, however, make money out of flogging CCTV, surveillance systems, running endless CPD courses inventing new thought crimes such as nipple viewing, and perpetuating a public hysteria about safety and security.

I wish we could all take a proper stand on this and hold up the hysteria for what it is.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sun 18-Aug-13 14:11:47

I completely understand why people feel it is ridiculous but this is the world we live in. It would only take one parent to comment on the child's nipple being exposed to another saying she was being taught by the young man to his life being ruined. The hysteria is wrong but it happens and every week people in childcare/teachers are being accused so don't object to the innocent wanting to protect themselves. Society's attitudes need to change first then we can all relax until then parents need to put their children in a swimsuit that fits. The most ridiculous thing about this post is that the OP couldn't find her child's swimsuit, ffs just remember where you put it!

edam Sun 18-Aug-13 14:38:42

Boffin, the no photos at school thing is sometimes because there is a child who would be endangered. Domestic violence, in care, some other reason why the child's location should not be shared. Which it would be if parents of other children went and stuck their pictures on Facebook and shared it with friends and family, who might share it with other friends and family...

Otherwise i'm with you on paedophile hysteria. As for the receptionist in the OP - the only issue I can see is that the OP's dd's costume didn't fit, which is not great when you are swimming.

edam Sun 18-Aug-13 14:39:21

(Obviously the school can't tell parents 'there's a child at risk if photos are taken' as that would lead to gossip.)

Emilythornesbff Sun 18-Aug-13 16:42:00

I don't think it's ridiculous ilovegeorgeclooney I think it's inappropriate and a distraction from real risks, in much the way that boffin (more eloquently) has said.

Our fear of ppl being falsely accused is out of proportion with the reality of its likelihood.

I do think that the incident speaks more about the need for municipal services to exert control over patrons than concern over anyone's safety.

Ilovemyself Sun 18-Aug-13 18:29:18

Wmilythornesbff. It's he adults that are being superior or self righteous that are the problem. Of course small children don't make false allegations. But adults do. If you work with children you have to be so careful in what you say or do - I work with children in a sporting environment once a month and we can't even talk to a child on their own in full view of adults without people shouting and complaining

That is mainly about sporting issues, but all you have to do is put your arm round a child to comfort them ( a perfectly harmless thing for a caring adult) and people start thinking and saying all sorts.

Emilythornesbff Sun 18-Aug-13 19:05:57

Yes. It's the adults. I agree.

namechangesforthehardstuff Sun 18-Aug-13 19:19:19

I was going to saywhat EmilyThorne said but I see she's said it...

I used to deal with safeguarding.This scenario is just Bollocks and lots of what's in this thread is actually just people saying 'oh you can't do anything these days' No - it is more difficult for people to abuse children than it used to be. It is still OK for a four year old to have his or her nipples uncovered and anyone who thinks it's not really needs to have a good look at what they're teaching their kids about their bodies.

Ilovemyself Sun 18-Aug-13 19:24:22

Namechanges. It may be harder for abuse to happen, but people are more paranoid and likely to make spurious allegations. As I said, parents in the sport I am involved in can get really funny about things.

Emilythornesbff Sun 18-Aug-13 19:37:32

Tbh I still think the fear of allegations is still far greater the reality.

Besides. This particular scenario is another example of how we hold girls responsible for the behaviour of others by passing judgement on their appearance/ dress / demeanour.
What we should be doing is actually noticing the behaviour of the adults around them. And we should be better at actually listening to children.

TheFallenNinja Sun 18-Aug-13 19:56:51

This is one of the reasons I will never ever work with children, as much as my dream career is as a teacher there is no way I would be put in this type of situation.

Ilovemyself Sun 18-Aug-13 19:57:20

I agree Emily. But if you are afraid of it happening you do whatever is necessary to stop it. Which is why we have over reactions like the person at the pool, or stupid h&s rules.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sun 18-Aug-13 21:10:14

I don't think the risk of accusation is ridiculous, my friend was a wonderful teacher, husband and father and he is dead because of idle gossip developing to malicious slander. I work in education and regularly innocent situations are questioned and it is only by rigorously enforcing safeguarding rules more such incidents are avoided. There are people who would have questioned why the girl's swimsuit was "pulled" down. It is mad, it is hysteria but it could happen and destroy a young man's life.
What I think is ridiculous that the OP cannot see she should put her child in a swimsuit that fits.
I live a stones throw from the beach and small children, including mine once, run around virtually naked which is fine but the adults in charge of them are their parents. It is a completely different situation at a public swimming pool. It is easy to mock H and S but if abandoned children would, and have been in the past, be vulnerable. All the pool asked was for a child to be put in swim wear that fits, how is that unreasonable?

Emilythornesbff Sun 18-Aug-13 22:35:56

Well, I agree that malicious gossip is awful and probably does go on.
Although that's not really the same as an accusation of abuse.
I didn't say that the risk of accusations of abuse were ridiculous btw.
But it isn't anywhere near as common as actual abuse or as common as ppl seem to be suggesting.

I'm very sorry to hear about your friend.
That's awful and tragic.
Sadly, whilst your friend was innocent, there a rafts of ppl who have been justly accused of abuse and whose nearest and dearest would never believe it of them.

I maintain that I think the staff at the pool didn't handle the situation well. And I agree with boffin that it sounds likely to be about beaurocracy rather than anyone's safety.
and that it doesn't really matter if a 4 yo girl's nipples are not covered up.
She is four years old and in a swimming pool in full view of her mother.
To suggest that another teacher might be embarrassed by this is makes ppl wonder about him. Why would he be embarrassed? That's the sort of idle bollocks that leads to tongue wagging. Not what the chld was wearing.

Emilythornesbff Sun 18-Aug-13 22:41:06

And honestly, I am not one to mock H&S or safeguarding measures.

I just think we need to be looking in the right direction to keep children safe, rather than getting caught up with red herrings.

ICBINEG Mon 19-Aug-13 09:53:12

Boffin If I had gold stars to hand out you would have them all!

Absolutely 100% correct.

You also inadvertently highlighted another evil of all of this...that it gets used as a scape goat for things that either don't have a reason or have a different reason, and thus respect is lost for the whole idea.

The photos at sports days thing might also be ridiculous (I understand the reason and believe that it is a worth REASON, just not a worthy response). People will take photos of their kids playing with friends, at birthdays etc. So does it really make a difference to only prevent people taking photos as sports days?

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 19-Aug-13 12:02:07


"The photos at sports days thing might also be ridiculous"

If you new some of the Looked After Children that I do you wouldn't think it ridiculous

JohFlow Mon 19-Aug-13 12:13:28

I thought all swimming teachers would have a clearly defined attitude to how do deal with moments of semi-exposure. After all; the children are minimally clothed as routine and costumes do shift around during movment . Surely embarrassment would only come once children's bodies start developing. At 4 - I would say that what was said is ridiculous. How awkward for you.

TheFantasticFixit Mon 19-Aug-13 12:17:03

What the actual fuck?

They are suggesting that a nipple on a 4 year old is the same as a breast.

That in so unbelievably inappropriate. There is nothing inappropriate about what your daughter was wearing, other than for her own comfort.

I would kick up an obscene fuss about their comment which sexualises my child if I were you.

ICBINEG Mon 19-Aug-13 12:32:53

Boney that is exactly the ridiculous sort of response we are talking about.

If I knew children like this I would think exactly what I think now. That we should protect them in ways that actually work. I don't see how banning photos at schools does this. Hence my problem with it.

SunnyIntervals Mon 19-Aug-13 12:34:24


SunnyIntervals Mon 19-Aug-13 12:34:41

They are stupid and you were fine.

Ilovemyself Mon 19-Aug-13 12:38:23

Thefantasticfixit. No one is saying that a nipple and a breast are the same thing. What is being said, and is true, is that if you work with or have contact with children you cover your arse to make sure NO scurrilous accusation can be made against you.

Emilythornesbff Mon 19-Aug-13 12:45:45

But they are suggesting a 4 yr old's nipple is the same/ similar to a breast. Otherwise they wouldn't be making insane comments about embarrassment.
Who on earth would be embarrassed by a 4 yo girl's nipple?
The staff created the embarrassment and awkwardness.

Ilovemyself Mon 19-Aug-13 12:50:52

How did the staff cause the embarrassment. Thy are covering their arses. In my experience of working with children you have to cover your arse in this sort of situation because there is a risk, no mater who small, that someone will cause you trouble with allegations that are not correct.

I know you are right with the fear is more than it actually happening, but do you want to take the risk? I don't so I am
Doubly careful.

Emilythornesbff Mon 19-Aug-13 13:00:42

This is not being careful. It is misguided.
Ppl who make this kind of suggestion have no understanding of the issues they claim to care about and require appropriate training.

They caused embarrassment by stating that the male teacher might be embarrassed by a small child's naked chest.
Saying that suggests he has some reason to be embarrassed.

If it was a 15y o girl, or a 20 yo woman then he is likely to be embarrassed (or whatever) because it is potentially arousing and embarrassing for a man to be "exposed to" a young woman's breasts.
It is not reasonable to suggest that the same is similar for a man "exposed to" the torso of a four year old.
Only a man who you would not want to be teaching your daughter to swim would be embarrassed. He did not say he was embarrassed. Someone else took it upon themselves to make an inappropriate comment. About him.

Emilythornesbff Mon 19-Aug-13 13:02:59

Children need to be protected from (alarmingly common) abuse and ts should be protected from (extraordinarily rare) false "accusations"
The scenario described in the op does neither.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Mon 19-Aug-13 13:03:25

All the staff did was ask the OP to make sure her child was in correctly fitting clothes next time. If the child was embarrassed it would only be because she was trying to swim in a costume that was too big.

Emilythornesbff Mon 19-Aug-13 13:07:29

I have read nowhere that the OP wishes her dd to continue wearing an ill fitting swimsuit. I assume the correct size will be found / bought before the next lesson.
I doubt the child was embarrassed. But the op might well have been and if someone had suggested to the parent of a 4 yo that I would be embarrassed to see her nipples I would have been livid that they had made such a ridiculous and potentially inflammatory suggestion.

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 19-Aug-13 13:18:34

I can only hope then that you are never in a situation where a child maybe put at risk through the actions of people that "know better" than those that are safeguarding children.

ICBINEG Mon 19-Aug-13 13:26:04

boney err right...whatever. You don't think that people taking photos at home or birthday parties or in towns equally put these children at risk?

I would imagine that since these 'rules' came in there will be less and less school sports day pictures online...but not zero. So if your at risk child does get snapped they will be far far easier to find than before. Or in other words unless you can eliminate the risk of a random photo being taken, you may as well let everyone get on with it and leave the bad guys with billions of pictures to search through.

Of course if you have some evidence that the number of instances of children being found in this way has actually been reduced by this policy then post a link and I will take it all back.

ICBINEG Mon 19-Aug-13 13:29:13

Why don't people care if interventions and rules are actually effective?

People care more about being seen to be 'helping' than if they are actually 'helping' at all confused

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 19-Aug-13 14:00:45

The intervention ICEBERG is more relevant since the social media came in to play, your picture of mini iceberg on facebook could be avaiulable to everyone and anyone.

Its all about calculated risks, would you want someone to be able to take pictures of mini iceberg if there was a chance that an ex partner could kidnap him/her?

Do you know how many LAC are in your children's school?
Or parents in refuges?
Or children that in foster homes?
Or children that are in care homes?
Or have a parent with a restraining order on them?

Gonnabmummy Mon 19-Aug-13 14:15:54

At this age there is no difference between girl and boy chests. It won't have been that long ago she was just in a nappy in the pool.
As for people comparing it to boys with no pants that is nothing like it.

I understand safeguarding rules are strict and people may be scared of being accused but its certain situations this may or may not happen. A little girl in the pool doesn't pose a threat IMO.
He hasn't exposed the child or taken her to the loo/out of sight. Where someone may feel worried.
OP I can understand how you feel I would feel the exact same. I would just breathe and remember it was a one off dd being in that and next time it'll be fine, even if nothing was wrong!

BoffinMum Mon 19-Aug-13 16:36:33

BoneyBack, schools usually ask people not to post pictures of other people's children up on the internet in such situations. That's more rational and sensible than completely depriving looked after children and their classmates of recording their social histories with a photo, on the off-chance someone's ex partner will decide to break the law.

(And before you kick off, I have worked with looked after children, children involved in custody disputes, domestic abuse cases, etc).

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has provided guidance on photography in schools, if anyone is interested.

ICO guidance

jacks365 Mon 19-Aug-13 16:44:48

Boffin that link is solely about data protection and nothing to do with safe guarding vulnerable children.

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 19-Aug-13 17:40:58

"And before you kick off," LOL

Most schools will find away around the issue, I have taken multiple pictures with and without children so that the school has a nice photo for the website, letter and pupils have a record of fun times with mates.

Any school policy is based on risk, this is why when we have its time for the nativity there is always a "why can't I take pictures of my children" thread

Ilovemyself Mon 19-Aug-13 19:06:18

Emilythornesbff. You cannot say that asking the girl to cover up will not protect the people at the pool. By asking to cover up they are ensuring that no adult can complain that nothing was done to cover up the child in question and they are also ensuring that no one can suggest any impropriety on the part of the staff. Just because they are in full view it doesn't mean some one will make an allegation - no matter how small or spurious.

Emilythornesbff Mon 19-Aug-13 19:49:05

I disagree ilovemyself and I would be very surprised if their safeguarding policiy state that a 4 yo girl should have her nipples covered.
In fact, I can be pretty certain that it says no such thing.

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