A woman from Pennsylvania named Jen Wymer was enjoying a leisurely day at the pool with her kids, when she suddenly found herself being escorted away by police -- all because she refused to remove her son Max's water wings.
She had already been forced by the lifeguard to take them off the boy once, even after she explained that Max suffers from cerebral palsy and needs those wings to help him stay afloat in the water. Jen even went so far as to hold Max in the water for an entire hour, but finally decided to put the floaties back on. And that's when the lifeguard got fed up, asked her to take them off again, and called the police when she refused.
Is this not one of the most outrageous things you've ever heard? Who in their right mind would force any child to go without their water wings in a public pool -- let alone a kid with special needs? And who kicks a kid out of a pool simply for wearing them in the first place?!
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Apparently the park rules state that life saving devices & water wings are prohibited because they give swimmers a "false sense of security" in the water. But for a child who is still learning to swim and be comfortable swimming in the pool independently, wearing floaties can be the one thing that stands between them actually enjoying their swim and winding up being terrified of the water.
My son is 6 years old, and while he's almost to the point of knowing how to swim -- he isn't quite there yet. And that's why if we're swimming in a pool that has a deep end, I put his water wings on so he can venture past the shallow end without me having to hold him. Never for one second have I considered those wings to be a floatation device. But they do make me feel slightly more comfortable about letting him navigate the pool on his own (with my eyes on him at all times, of course).
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And if anyone ever asked me to take off his floaties because of some silly rule -- I'm thinking I'd probably need a police escort too, because I wouldn't be able to control the "leave us the hell alone & mind your own business" comments that would likely come out of my mouth.
I understand that proper safety precautions need to be taken at swimming pools, and I know this lifeguard was only doing his/her job -- but rules were made to be broken, especially in the case of a boy with cerebral palsy who is only trying to enjoy his summer break.
You can hear more about what happened to Jen & Max in this video clip.
Do you think it was necessary for the lifeguard to call police? Does your child wear water wings in the pool?
Image via WPIX