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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 17:03:42

It would also be a top news story-it is so rare.
It is hardly news that goodness knows how many thousands of 8yr olds went swimming today and went home in one piece- and most of them were not attached to their mothers!

exoticfruits Sat 06-Apr-13 17:04:23

Sorry-in reply to hellhasnofury.

ChippingInIsEggceptional Sat 06-Apr-13 17:17:27

OP - if you can sit pool side, watch him every minute and would be prepared to jump in fully clothed if anything happened, then I'd do it.

It is the lifeguards job BUT I have read far too much about silent drowning to trust a couple of generally bored teens lifeguards to watch an entire pool full of people.

Silent drowning is bloody scary and people should be better informed about it.

Most/many/we did's are all fine - but it's not fine if yours is the one that didn't go home is it? sad and I am not a helicoptering adult at all, but swimming alone - the risk of silent drowning is not to be ignored, in a good swimmer - let alone a non swimmer.

But as I said, if you are prepared to sit pool side, get soaked, watch him every minute and be prepared to jump in fully dressed then do it - but frankly as someone built like a wobbly sherman tank that still takes the kids swimming, I think you should stop whittering about your body, put the fecking bikini on and go and have a good time with your DS - or swap bodies with me - I hate to see 'good ones' go to waste! grin

exoticfruits Sat 06-Apr-13 17:37:59

I think she will be able to stay dry ChippingIn. grin
I know someone who has been a lifeguard for years and he has never had to get wet. (and he hasn't had anyone drown either)

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Sat 06-Apr-13 17:43:48

You're more likely to die on your way to the pool as the result of a road traffic collision than you are to drown in the pool.

WeAllHaveWings Sat 06-Apr-13 17:48:35

ds(9) was desperate to reach 8 years old so he could go into the pool by himself. By the time he reached 8 he could comfortably swim 10 lengths (but couldn't master treading water for more than 20-30 seconds and panicked if he lost his goggles). I let him go and tried to keep a close eye on him which is, as you say, difficult to keep track of which wet short haired boy is yours.

Had a few scary moments when he lost his goggles in a dive and an instructor had to help him to the side, or I lost sight of him at the deep end (he'd swam under water to another part of the pool), or a lane swimmer crashed into him. I banned him from diving/jumping in out of his depth until he could swim a length without goggles in his lessons.

I wouldn't go in with ds as I'm huge/can't swim/hate swimming/chloride makes me feel awful for hours later, but I made sure he was competent enough to be relatively safe before he was allowed in himself.

I don't think your ds is anywhere near competent enough to be safe on his own yet, confidence without ability is a scary combination.

While he is so keen he would probably do really well with more regular swimming lessons and/or sessions with you. The prize at the end for him will be being able to go into the pool himself.

heronsfly Sat 06-Apr-13 17:55:08

worked at a pool/leisure centre for years, and we have never had a child underwater and unseen, life guards are very well trained and extra staff will be on poolside during family sessions.
Only incident i have ever known was when a child slipped under an inflatable obstacle course during fun time, he was seen, fished out and thought it was all part of the fun, but parents had signed a permission slip stating that he could swim the required distance to attend the session, turned out he could hardly swim at all, we were not happy.

thermalsinapril Sat 06-Apr-13 17:55:22

It's sad to think of you missing out just because you only have the bikini to opt for. (I wouldn't be comfortable either!) I'd suggest you treat yourself to a nice shapely swimsuit ASAP and get in there smile Why not order a few swimsuits from online high street stores? Then you get to try them on in the privacy of your own home and can send back any that don't fit. You can get tummy/bust control swimsuits in dark colours with slimming stripes and whatever else makes you feel better, but really no-one is going to be remotely interested in other people's shape at the swimming pool!

VerySmallSqueak Sat 06-Apr-13 18:04:02

If the rules are that he can go in at his age then it is up to you to decide whether he will either stay within his capabilities or swims well enough to be able to deal with all aspects of the pool. Although he meets the age guidelines,you wouldn't sent him in alone as a complete non swimmer so there has to be an element of your own judgement there.If you are unsure don't do it.
The lifeguards are there to watch everyone - the only thing I would caution on is if it is an extremely busy public session.Of course there will be extra lifeguards in that circumstance and they will still be vigilant but the job becomes that bit harder.

stressyBessy22 Sat 06-Apr-13 21:31:56

I have an 8 yo who is a strong swimmer-she could pretty much swim forever.I don't think I would send her in alone though .Not sure why it just doesn't feel right to me

wisemanscamel Sat 06-Apr-13 21:49:36

Both of mine celebrated being 8 by going in the pool by themselves with their mates - and I celebrated in the cafe not having to anymore with their mums. It's like a right of passage.

DS currently goes with his mate who is not a good swimmer. They just don't go out of their depth. This has never been a problem.

I don't think he'd want to go in by himself though - he'd be bored in minutes.

This is an interesting thread - I thought mums bowed out when they got to 8 and sat in the cafe (apart from the proper swimming mums)

bruffin Sat 06-Apr-13 21:55:12

My DS is a lifeguard.
He would tell him to keep in shallow end but if he thought he wasnt acting safely he would tell him to leave.
The rule is 8 plus and a competent swimmer.

RedHelenB Sat 06-Apr-13 22:17:49

Really tired - he could swim without floats(albeit doggy paddle rather than a recognised stroke)& it was a smaller pool than hence I could get straight to him as I was in my costume on a lounger. The point I was making was I wouldn't have let him do it in a busy public swimming pool. I really wouldn't expect a lifeguard to know that a child without armbands wasn't competent to be in the deep end though which is what OP is risking by allowing her son who is a weak swimmer to go in alone. DS aged 6 has now done his 25m but i won't let him in the deep end cos the pool rules say you have to swim 50m before you can.

whethergirl Sat 06-Apr-13 22:53:59

Ok so just to be clear, there are two pools, one pool with deeper water for proper swimmers, and a much smaller family pool. DS only ever goes in the family pool, which is mainly shallow getting deeper very gradually (however can check at what point is it out of his depth, and forbid him to go past that point). The bit that is considered the deeper end is sectioned off by a rope -not many kids even go there tbh, and it's only for proper swimming. There is no way he could just fall in the deep end, there is no reason to walk up that bit.

As far as I know, there is no competency criteria, I just saw a sign saying “all children under the age of 8 must be accompanied by an adult”. I will ask them though. They do have a wave machine that comes on every half hour, but I would be extra vigilant at that point, although today, he chose to spend that time in the Jacuzzi.

DS did have lessons but only got to ASA Stage 1 and just didn't want to continue similarly with judo, football and streetdance. I didn't want to force him so he ended up resenting it, as I thought we could try it again at some point. However, he absolutely LOVES just going to the pool and is always asking to go. Even when my mum has taken him and tried to show him some swimming techniques, he just wants to splash about.

I do feel that I should take him swimming often though because he loves it, and am sure he’ll get learn something just by splashing about? However, I can’t see myself actually going into the pool as many times as he’d like to go. But having thought about it, I am considering buying myself a proper swimsuit, putting aside all my body worries and my actual hate of water (I’m not scared of it, just don’t see the point), and the fact that I’ll be totally bored after 7 mins, and making an effort to go in with him. But obviously I won’t do all that by tomorrow.

He is pretty sensible and definitely not a daredevil! In fact I’m the one normally going “Go on ds, give it a go” and him lecturing me on the health and safety hazards and saying (very loudly), “mum you’re actually trying to kill me, aren’t you?”

I was watching the lifeguards today, they do an amazing job and it’s well staffed. Totally focused and don’t stop watching the pool. It did occur to me that ds’ friend and their dad did stray from ds quite a bit, I wasn’t sure if the dad was more confident about doing this because I was there, or if he would have still done it if I wasn’t! (He offered to take ds without me going).

RosemaryandThyme you’ve had to rescue child in a swimming pool four times in the last six months?!!! I take it you’re a lifeguard –or a superhero--

shellbu Sat 06-Apr-13 23:02:40

think the same as sirzy , i used to do the same with my two.

bankofmum Sat 06-Apr-13 23:16:50

Really sad you wont get in with him. When my son was young there was only one young girl who had to swim alone while mum watched. Im not talking about safety but fun. Noone cares what you look like and nor will you if you start to splash around with your son. If you wont get in take his friend but good for boys to see mums are doers not just watchers.

WeAllHaveWings Sat 06-Apr-13 23:25:48

Definitely would not let an 8 yr old non swimmer in a pool with a wave machine without an adult.

seriouscakeeater Sun 07-Apr-13 00:15:23

He can get in if he is over eight and stay down the shallow. There should be a sign saying non and weak swimmers are not allowed beyond this point. Yes do tell lifeguard he is a weak swimmer, they will be greatfull of it.

I teach swimming and its not a problem if its monitored properly. If he has no balance or co-ordination, that's when its an issue.

seriouscakeeater Sun 07-Apr-13 00:22:40

Weathergirl is it Hyde pool? Stage 1 is very basic! No armbands no getting in , I wouldn't let him near wave pool as drag will pull him back out.
Get a t shirt on over cossie and get in with him.

thermalsinapril Sun 07-Apr-13 00:22:56

"good for boys to see mums are doers not just watchers"

That's a good point. (And of course it's good for girls to be set this example too!)

Libramonkey Sun 07-Apr-13 00:23:57

Utter rubbish-the lifeguard is paid to do it-that is there job! Why do you think they are there?! The pool states they can go in alone at that age.

Of course it is. They are there to look after the customers regardless of age or ability.

Actually it is not their job to look after your children. They are there to ensure safety and in case of emergency, its the parents job to look after their child/children. If they cannot swim to a suitable ability they should not be left unsupervised. I work for a gym, our age limit is 12 years and able to swim 25 meters, anyone who cannot do this is not allowed to swim without supervision as the lifeguard cannot babysit individual children.

OP as long as you are there supervising from outside the pool and he is old enough by the pools age, then it should be ok as long as he sticks to within his depth. However worth checking they don't have ability requirements too. smile

exoticfruits Sun 07-Apr-13 07:04:55

My pool states 8 yrs- that is all- nothing about ability.
The child is allowed in without an adult.
The lifeguard is there for two reasons- to uphold the rules and in case of emergencies. It is their job. I can't see what else they need to do.
If the child was unhappy they wouldn't be in the pool on their own.
By 8yrs old a non swimmer, or weak swimmer, isn't going to be running around, falling, jumping, diving or swimming out of their depth- if they were brave enough to do that they would be a competent swimmer by that age. You only have to tell him to stay in the shallows with the wave machine.
If people can't let an 8 yr old swim in those circumstances goodness knows how they will cope with dropping off a 11/12 yr old with friends and doing the shopping!

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Sun 07-Apr-13 08:32:53

By far the biggest pain-in-the-arse group in terms of unacceptable or dangerous behaviour were the teens. As an ex-lifeguard I'd far rather a pool full of 8 year olds with parents nearby than I would a pool full of teens, especially those teens who are old enough to be classed as adults.

Lueji Sun 07-Apr-13 09:59:28

Fwiw, my DS has had swimming lessons since he was 6.
The teacher didn't pay that much attention to them sometimes, at least not more than a lifeguard, particularly when they play at the end.

They are obviously not good swimmers and can't swim 50m! But, even on the sea I have taught DS to dive under a wave (age 7) and I'm now at arms length. Ds did get caught by a wave by surprise, but was fine. He's mr fearful, by the way. Not a daredevil at all.
The teachers have encouraged them to jump on the deep end of the pool and swim to safety since they were 7.
The main point is that they should know how to breath under water.
Can you teach him that in the bath, or even in the shower so that he doesn't panic if he's caught by a wave.
But overall I think your boy will be fine.

You should still get a swimsuit (there are some that cover tighs and body, btw) and get in there with him just for fun, though. smile

Lueji Sun 07-Apr-13 10:00:51

Sorry: I'm NOT at arms length, in the sea.

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