My feed

to access all these features


To think SIL shouldn't leave her 3 yo to swim around in the deep end?

22 replies

namechangejuly17 · 08/07/2017 01:51

This might be a little long and I definitely don't want it to sound like I'm bitching but genuinely curious.

We are all currently away on holiday and are enjoying the pool. My 3 yo has just started lessons, I didn't have the time to do mother and baby (full time work) so that was the only choice really.

SIL only works part time and was able to do mother and baby from 3 months and my nephew is a great little swimmer! I'm not taking that away from him, he is really good.

Anyway, we sit on the step bit of the pool and my son has a float on because he obviously can't swim and kind of just potters around the the shallow end. Nephew frequently swims out to the deep end (he's only 3!) and goes underwater a lot. My heart sinks every time and I'm constantly having to look at him, while she is there looking at me talking and not keeping an eye. I said to her that I can't focus on the convo because I'm keeping an eye on DNephew, she says that I don't need to keep a solid eye on him as he's a strong swimmer. Yes, he is a good swimmer, but really 'strong' he's 3, so definitely not a strong swimmer. He always comes up and is fine but there's 4 more days of this holiday and it's so blooming stressful, I feel like I constantly have to watch as she casually picks at her nails, talks to whoever. Yes, she is always in the pool but at the shallow end and he kind of drifts off a bit and does his own thing.

AIBU to think this isn't responsible?

OP posts:
NuffSaidSam · 08/07/2017 02:33

I think you probably are being unreasonable.

You said yourself 'he is a great little swimmer'. I don't know why you need to quibble over SIL describing him as a 'strong' swimmer. In swimming terms strong and great probably mean the same thing!

She is watching him from the pool so could step in quickly if anything went wrong. I do agree that she needs to be watching him all the time, but I think keeping a general eye on him is fine if he is a good swimmer. If she really is taking her eye off him for extended periods then YANBU, but it sounds more like she is glancing at you/her nails and you can do that and keep an eye on a good swimmer.

Is the pool empty enough that you can see him clearly when he is at the other end?

user1471451355 · 08/07/2017 02:50

"Good swimmer" is quite relative when referring to a toddler! Mine can swim also but I never leave her side in the pool, never mind take my eyes off of her. I think YANBU, I would feel very nervous.

KoalaDownUnder · 08/07/2017 02:58


He's 3, he needs to be watched like a hawk. I don't care how 'strong' a swimmer he is.

I grew up in Aus and could swim from a very young age, and all the kids I know are similar. None of their parents (most of whom have pools) would dream of leaving a 3-year-old in deep water by himself.

Notanotheruser111 · 08/07/2017 03:55

At 3 I'd still have mine within arms reach at all times, contrary to what a lot of people believe drownings are not noisy with lots of splashing they're often silent and very very quick.

KoalaDownUnder · 08/07/2017 03:57

Actually, I should probably say 'in any water', not just 'deep' water. Although more likely to sit and watch closely if they're paddling around in the shallow end.

You swim WITH them at that age.

SouthWindsWesterly · 08/07/2017 04:07

At 3, my DC could swim like fish under water. Their strokes weren't fantastic but they had properly learnt how to aim for the side and hold on (Waterbabies). Saying that, I was always in the pool with them. Just because their water confident, doesn't follow that they won't get in difficulties. Yanbu

nolongersurprised · 08/07/2017 04:32

My 3 year old is a confident swimmer. Our back yard pool is over his head and he can easily jump in, swim across it, dive down to pick up things from the bottom. He's spent summers in water since before he can walk.

I'm now happy to sit on the side and watch him. To some extent, it's ability related rather than age related. I could be with him within seconds if I had to be.

emmyrose2000 · 08/07/2017 04:55

Your SIL is being very irresponsible.

Spermysextowel · 08/07/2017 05:03

Yabu. Her son swims well. She's there watching him.

GoBigOrange · 08/07/2017 05:20

It doesn't matter how well he swims. He's three! And you don't let kids of that age in the water without giving them your full attention as it can all go wrong so quickly. Not just drowning, but swallowing excessive amounts of water can be dangerous too.

It is hard to tell from OPs post though what level of supervision his mother is actually providing. She's in the pool with him which is a good start, but could she reach him quickly if he got into difficulties? Does she have him in her line of sight pretty much all the time? Is she taking her eyes off him for more than thirty seconds at a time?

CrazyCavalierLady · 08/07/2017 05:39

YABU. A child who confidently swims under water would actually have to have an accident ie. hit their head or similar to drown. Most drownings occur due to panic and/or fatigue. She's sitting on the edge of the pool he's swimming in fgs. Don't project your fears for your non-swimmer on her confident swimmer.

Broccolirevolution · 08/07/2017 05:50

Sounds like you are a bit jealous that she had time to take her child to swimming lessons while you have only just started.

She is sitting at the edge of the pool the whole time? I think the only thing she could do 'better' is sit at the deep end where he is swimming.

Fifthtimelucky · 08/07/2017 05:59

I don't think "good" and "strong" mean the same when it comes to swimming, but in this context (small private pool rather than either a large public one with lots of other children in it, or the sea) good " sounds perfectly safe.

She knows her child best. However, if I were there, I wouldn't be able to relax either!

TrollMummy · 08/07/2017 07:04

I witnessed 2 near drownings on holiday in situations like this. Both situations were where the kids were overconfident in the water and parents overestimated their abilities. Anything can happen with kids in water, especially when they are so little and seemingly confident. My DCs are a lot older and good swimmers but I still watch them closely on holiday.

coconuttella · 08/07/2017 07:13

YANBU.... A 3 yo is simply too young to allow to swim in the deep end without proper supervision. It's highly irresponsible.

And I say this as someone who was lambasted a year or so ago for saying that I sometimes left my six year (swimmer) in the shallow bath for short periods whilst i pottered around upstairs in adjacent rooms! I can't imagine how appalled the posters who lambasted me for my "negligence" would be at this!

Sierra259 · 08/07/2017 07:15

YANBU. If she's not going to stay close to him because he's a "good swimmer", that's one thing. He may well be. But she should at least be giving him her full attention while he's in the water. He could get into difficulties very quickly through fatigue or just becoming disorientated under water. FWIW, my DC1 4 is a very confident swimmer. On holiday recently, if she was out of arms reach (still within her depth), I didn't take my eyes off her. If out of her depth, she was never out of arms reach.

picklemepopcorn · 08/07/2017 07:27

It would actually be quicker to get to him from the side than from in the pool. If you are in the shallow end it will take and age to get through the water to him. Much quicker for someone on the side to run round and dive in to him.

Fitzsimmons · 08/07/2017 07:35

YANBU. It would worry me if no one was keeping an eye on him. Does she realise that drowning doesn't look like our stereotypical view of drowning? You don't wave your arms around coughing and spluttering, you go quietly, bobbing in and out of the water. Google "drowning doesn't look like drowning" for what I mean.

Bumpsadaisie · 08/07/2017 07:38

Mine is nearly 6 and a big strong boy 7-8 clothes. He can swim 50m and like a fish underwater.

I wouldn't leave him unsupervised in water where he's out of his depth.

I allow my 8 yr old to do that but she can swim 800m and has done all sorts of water skills badges.

Brittbugs80 · 08/07/2017 07:57

Yanbu. My 2.5 year old cousin was a brilliant swimmer. Could do two lengths unaided.

He drowned on holiday last year in the apartment pool. He took himself into the pool, they turned the alarm because he can swim so they were not worried.

user1497357411 · 08/07/2017 08:03

where did i just read that the health authorities have stated that you need to keep you children within arms lenght when swimming until they are at least 6?

milliemolliemou · 08/07/2017 14:23

My DCs have always been strong and confident swimmers from age 2 and like most early swimmers frequently spent a lot of time underwater. I'd have had no compunction letting them swim by themselves esp in a private pool. I would be at the pool however - and can dive in faster than for instance I could get to the precise spot if I'd been two or more yards away wading in deep water. My DB and I had virtually non-swimming parents and survived years of swimming from young in Atlantic waves. It really is horses for courses though I can quite see why it unnerves OP. It can take very little time to drown but more than glancing down at nails ...

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.