New Rules Proposed For Cincinnati Swimming Pools

Jun 22, 2015

Credit Holly Yurchison / WVXU

Cincinnati’s Law and Public Safety Committee has approved a new set of rules for the use of city swimming pools by children. Recreation officials say the rules will protect children without hindering their ability to learn to swim at an early age.

The full city council is expected to vote on the new rules Wednesday. The new rules grew out of the drowning death of a 10-year-old Walnut Hills boy at Bush Pool in June of last year.

The Cincinnati Recreation Commission (CRC) recommended the following rule modifications for 2015:

• Children age 7 years and younger must be accompanied and actively supervised with touch supervision at all times in groups of three or less by a parent, legal guardian, or adult age 18 or older. Parents with more than three children under age six must make arrangements to have another adult assist with supervision.

• Children age 8 must be accompanied and supervised by a parent, legal guardian, or adult age eighteen or older during open swim hours.

• The CRC recommends that children age 9 – 11 be accompanied and supervised by a parent, legal guardian, or adult age 18 or older during open swim; however, CRC will allow children ages 9 – 11, with a signed CRC parental consent form as proof of parental permission, to swim unaccompanied by parent, legal guardian, or adult age 18 or older.

• Children 11 years and younger and the accompanying parent, legal guardian, or adult age 18 or older, will be provided corresponding wrist bands that must be worn while at the facility. These wrist bands are to identify the adult and the children under their responsibility.

• Children 9 – 11 years that have signed permission to swim unaccompanied will be provided a bright color wrist band that they must wear while at the facility. These wrist bands are to identify unaccompanied swimmers.

• Any child 11 years or younger found in the facility without a provided wrist band will not be permitted to stay.

• CRC provides life jackets free of charge and encourages their use for non-swimmers.

• CRC swim lessons are available free of charge for 2015 and children can participate in swim lessons, Guard Start, or swim team programs prior to open swim hours with a signed parental release.

The CRC has eliminated the practice of “open swim” in the deep end of pools where diving boards are located.

Those new rules, if approved, would replace the following existing rules:

•    Children age 7 years and younger must be accompanied and actively supervised with touch supervision at all times in groups of three or less by a parent, legal guardian or adult age eighteen or older.

•    Children 8 -11 must be accompanied and supervised by a parent, legal guardian, or adult age eighteen or older during open swims hours. 

•    CRC provides life jackets free of charge and encourages their use for non-swimmers.

•    CRC swim lessons are available free of charge for 2015 and children can participate in swim lessons, Guard Start, or swim team programs prior to open swim hours with a signed parental release.

In a memo to the mayor and city council, City Manager Harry Black said the CRC will collect data this pool season “to determine if additional practices should be incorporated into daily access operations.”

“Also, if data suggests we can maintain or increase traditional attendance and increase the number of youth taking swim lessons and most importantly, provide a safe swimming experience, than this is good reinforcement information for current policies,’’ Black said.