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Eye On Swimming Pool Problems
4 May 05
The meeting established that the Health and Safety Executive guidance on health and safety in swimming pools is the only guidance that pool operators need to use by law. This guidance will cover them in event of an accident in their pool provided they have carried out a risk assessment. The ISRM went on record at the meeting stating that their guidance was based only on anecdotal evidence provided by their members and was not based on any analysis of drowning trends or statistics. The Right to Swim Campaign requested that Professor Jo Sibert attend the meeting as he is an independent researcher into childhood drowning. His report states that the chances of a child drowning in a public pool is 1 in 9 million visits. ROSPA stated that the highest risk of drowning is in children over the age of 8. The government have pledged to carry out research into drowning trends and admission policies and the results will be available in the Autumn.
As a campaign we continue to support the
Health and Safety Executive's guidance and will fight for the scrapping of
the ISRM guidance which is not supported by any research. Our Early Day
Motion in Parliament now has nearly 100 signatures from MP's calling for the
scrapping of these
We would ask that parents continue to support our endeavours which finally seem to be paying off.
25 January 05
30 October 2004
They will be there to highlight the campaign organised by Right to Swim against the government’s new rules on supervision of children in swimming pools.
The campaign comes as a result of the government’s decision to back recommendations from the Health and Safety Executive and the Institute of Sport and Recreation Management. These restrict the number of children an adult can take into a swimming pool to one under the age of four and two under the age of eight. This prevents children taking exercise and discriminates against larger families and lone parents.
Hugh Robertson said: “This is a perfect example of the damage done by compensation culture. Swimming pools have no option but to comply with these guidelines or risk being sued. We should be encouraging children to go swimming rather than placing artificial obstacles in their way. The government should force the HSE and the ISRM to change these unnecessary and draconian rules.”
Julie Kirkbride said: "As usual, the government is all talk and no action. If they want young children to be physically active - as they say - then they must take action and give parents the right to be responsible for their child's safety in a public swimming pool."
Carolyn Warner said: “We are a national campaign group with over 10,000 members across the UK. Our campaign aims are to increase awareness of the plight of thousands of children across the United Kingdom, to guard against social exclusion from sport and to advocate safe swimming for everyone. If this guideline is supported by the government then it is their legacy that will ensure that we are a national of non swimmers. We would like to encourage people to visit our website at www.righttoswim.co.uk and sign our online petition which will be taken to the Prime Minister.
Margaret Creear said: “Approximately half of lone parents have more than one child. They are often isolated from their extended family and lack support. These guidelines serve only to increase that isolation and we urge the government to find other ways to ensure the safety of children in swimming pools.”
No changer To Rules At Swimming Pools = August 2001
The said meeting had the following outcome-
2. Whist we still feel that an adult should be able to look after 2 children regardless of the split of ages it was proposed that in the short term until the revised ISRM guidelines are issued the age where children require one to one supervision could be brought down to under 2.The thinking behind this was that under 2's are more of a handful and need close supervision.
Unfortunately Mr. Nichols was not willing to go with that immediately rather he wished to address the issue of more proactive lifeguarding and said that he hoped that review will be complete by the end of January.
Our petition of approx. 375 names was given to Deirdre Steven for presenting at the next meeting of the council where they discuss this issue. Unfortunately the councilors overall are not willing to take the matter forward until the ISRM guidelines are issued hopefully within the next four weeks.
There is no doubt that some families are still unable to go swimming and whilst no figures of bathers /takings have been issued my experience over the last few weeks is of near empty pools. At our meeting we urged Mr. Nichols to review this issue along with his staffing levels as we feel that there is ample life guard cover to allow every one into the pool.
Whilst this is disappointing we have managed to clarify following a meeting with Mr Nichols the policy currently being employed at Wick and Thurso pools and it has been confirmed that it is only children under the age of three need to be accompanied on a one to one basis. It was previously thought to be children under four. The notices at the pools have been amended accordingly.
This now means that one parent can take two children between the ages of three and eight. Eight year old and over can go unaccompanied. We are hopeful that by the end of January that the age for children needing accompanying will be down to under two's. In view of the staffing at the pools and the usage we still feel that one adult should be allowed to take two under eight regardless of the children's ages but to be succesful we need the total backing of Caithness Councilors and I am not convinced that will be forthcoming.28 November
From Allan Tait
At a council meeting yesterday the Councilors rejected officials request to accept the current restrictions and agreed instead to await the updated guidelines to be published on 4/12/2000 from the ISRM(Institute of Sport and Recreational Management).
A further meeting has been arranged for 18/12/2000 where a final decision will be made.
We feel that officials have been unable to explain why the restrictions at Wick and Thurso are the most severe of any pool in the North of Scotland!!
It seems that rather than positively address any risks highlighted in their risk assessments they have taken what appears to be the easy option and simply restrict access.
We intend to hand in the petition currently being circulated prior to the next council meeting and would urge everyone concerned about this matter to lobby their councillor especially those in the West of the County who do not appear as supportive as the three Wick Councillors.
1 November 2000
There can be little doubt about the determination of parents and friends of younger swimmers in Wick after today's protest. The application out of the blue of risk assessment on pools in Caithness seems to be completely arbitrary. Other areas do not seem to be making the interpretation of the rules in the way it has suddenly been in Caithness. The people who turned out today are in no doubt about the stupidity of the application of these rules. Parents say that they can still take their children into the swimming pool in Inverness but not in Caithness.
Everyone now wants to see the detailed report of the risk assessment apparently carried out which led to the effective banning of half the customers with young children.
31 October 2000
28 October 2000
On Swimming Pool Restrictions
The bottom line is that these "guidelines" are
not "set in stone" and
Other Councillors , MP and SMP's Contact details are in our Political Section. If enough people write it can have an effect. But look out for the petition and see if we can get some common sense into all of this.
27 October 2000
The rules now being enforced require that each child is supervised by an individual adult. This means that one parent or adult cannot take two children to the swimming pool. Since many parents take their two children on their own they are effectively barred unless they can persuade someone to go along with them. This new set up has stopped a number of people going swimming in the Wick pool.
A group are now running a petition to try to get the rules changed or at least enforced in a more sensible way. The rules appear to have been brought in to cover a situation in the Inverness pool which is much larger and has many hazards such as flumes which are not present in most of the smaller pools in Highland.
Parents feel this new ruling while aiming to prevent any
tragedies is not being used sensibly and effectively bars people with two
children from pursuing their regular swimming trips.
They are also encouraging people to contact their Councillors to have the matter more fully investigated
A message has already been placed on the Caithness.org message board and reads as follows -
Date: 10-26-00 21:55
Is anyone else angry with the recently imposed restrictions at our local swimming pools which prevent for example a parent taking his or her two young children swimming.
Following research it seems other areas are operating a system where one adult can supervise two children under eight even if one is under four. This slight compromise would allow the vast majority of families to return to the pool.
We have started to issue a petition and would welcome
anyone that agrees with this relaxation of these restrictions to sign that
petition or better still take some sheets.
A lot of people fought hard to get our pool and it is sad to see young children who should be gaining confidence in the water and learning to swim actually being prevented from entering the pool.
All help would be appreciated
What the Papers and Others Say
Friday 24 November
In a report to highland council Graham Nichols acknowledges that the policy changes have resulted in "considerable public outcry"
The newspaper article reiterates many of the arguments on both sides and say that current ISRM guidlines are being reviewed and the outcome should be known by 4 December.
If they are materially altered the pools admission policies will be reconsidered. But they reiterate that current policy is based on risk assessment and is motivated from a bather safety point of view.
Friday 10 November
Guidleines had been in place but never stricly enforced before. A Risk Assessment had brought about the change and needed looked at again. Highland councillor Mrs dierdre Steven pointed out he system had anomolies as the age of eight was used as the cut off but this did not mean that they could swim.
Mr Graham Nichols, Culture and Leisure services manager is currently preparing a report on the matter. It will be considered in January. National guidlines are due to be published on 4 December.
Meantime community councillors agreed that rules should be relaxed.
Friday 3 November
Mrs Katrina Gordon has expressed concern about the regulations and has written a second letter to the local facilities manager Mr George Sanders calling for a rethink of the position.
Mrs Gordon said " As a coastal area it is of
paramount importance that our children learn the life skill of swimming at
an early age in oreder to prevent unnecessary fatal accidents in our
rivers, harbours and boating ponds.
Mr Nicholls of the Culture and Leisure service says tha policy is being reviewed.
He stressed safety is the council's overriding concern but feels there may be an opportunity to find a way to accommodate parents and stay within the guidelines.
Wednesday 1 November
Allan Tait one of the parents protesting about the new rules which mean each child under three must be accompanied by an adult is too strict and will lead to fewer people using the facility.
Valerie Webster and Deirdrie Aitken -the other two parents behind the campaign would like to see the council relax the rules slightly to allow one parent to look after two children under eight.
The parents are urging Councillors to look at the issue.. Pools in other parts of the Highlands allow one adult to look after two children under eight.
"People are unhappy about these new rules"
Mr Tait stressed the rules are affecting the number of people using the pool and are resulting in a drop in income. Takings, he understood had fallen over the weekend at Wick from around £600 to between £200 and £250.
Mr Tait described the decision by a council official not to allow the petition into the Wick and Thurso pools as a "bit of a blow" but is confident there is strong public support for the campaign. the petition can be signed at local shops, nurseries and other outlets.
The Highland Council's cultural and leisure services manager for Caithness & Sutherland Mr Graham Nichols explained that the new policy - which was introduced following advice from the Institute of Sport and Recreation Management - is currently being reviewed on a national basis.
A report will be presented to the next meeting of the cultural and leisure services committee. Mr Nichols stressed that safety is the overriding concern but felt there may be an opportunity to find a way to accommodate some of the concerns of parents. and stay within the guidelines.
Mr Nichols said the issue was a complex one and claimed that a number of factors including staff levels had to be considered in the risk assessment studies.
" We had fewer staff then in Inverness for example and I would say that at the present time the policy is right", he said