The policy for young children using Shetland’s main swimming pools has been revised to make it safer but still acceptable to families with youngsters under four.
Shetland Recreational Trust was advised by a national swimming trainer that it should tighten its admission rules for children under eight in line with other parts of the country. But the first proposed new policy, which was due to take effect on 1st May, would have prevented a parent taking more than one child under four into any of the SRT’s eight pools.
After concerns were expressed that some families would find it difficult to continue taking their children swimming the trust agreed to look again.
Now the revised policy drawn up by Clickimin Centre manager Robert Geddes has been approved by trustees and will take effect on 11th June.
It allows an adult to take two under-fours in the pool if they wear approved armbands, although the armbands are not needed in the Toddlers Pool.
For older children, one adult can accompany two children aged four-to-seven with or without armbands. A third child in that age group can join them if at least one has completed the pool swimming standard award.
If the children are a mix of under-fours and under-eights an adult can accompany one under-four wearing armbands and one four-to-seven-year-old. But a third child can also join them if in the four-to-seven group and have passed the swimming standard award.
The test for the award can be done during a pool visit by asking at reception. It involves being able to jump into deep water, tread water for a minute and swim 50 metres in less than two minutes.
A number of additional controls apply for different areas of various pools, such as flumes and diving boards. Full details are available from a new SRT leaflet and an advert in tomorrow’s Shetland Times.
At SRT’s meeting on Wednesday, Mr Geddes said it had been “a lengthy process” trying to decide a safe but flexible policy but he was confident that had now been achieved. “I feel we’ve kind of hit a balance,” he told trustees.
The policy is expected to have to be tightened further by 2014 due to new health and safety rules.