Special Needs Boy Kicked Out of Public Pool for Wearing Floaties (VIDEO)

water wings

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

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Sunny... Sunnyskies77

Its unfortunate that it happened, but most public pools in my area will now allow floaties of any kind. Its a saftey issue because even though some parents would buy the proper gear for our child to swim safely, other parents out there don't know any better and will get the cheap plastic inflatable floaties and expect them to be safe and keep their kid from downing.  Then the parent could sue the public pool if the devices didn't work and something happened. So they just decied to not let them in at all. 

Amanda Marie Anderson

I would have lost my shit. And I bet they apologize instantly now that the media has the story.

Amanda Marie Anderson

If it were me I would have tried to make an exception and asked whoever I needed to to allow it. Or I would've just made the exception myself if it was allowed.

ASouza77 ASouza77

I don't agree with the lifeguard calling the police but..... This woman knew that floatation devices were not allowed in that specific pool. She did not listen to the lifeguard who was only doing her job. I think that if a child with physical special needs, needs to wear some type of floaties, the parent should have to carry a doctors note with them. It should be a rule that if a parent can produce a doctors note stating why the child needs to have floaties, that child should be allowed in the pool with his/her floaties. I have over 15 years experience working with children and adults with mental and physical disabilities so I understand this mom's frustration but pools do have these rules in place for a reason.

Maevelyn Maevelyn

The problem is estabilishing need. If a lifeguard allows one person to circumvent the floatie rule I promise you the entire thing will get out of hand in days. "Well I let her son wear floaties because he has C.P." 


"Well my child has to have them because ____." Next thing you know the lifeguard is policing floaties and arguing with parents instead of actually protecting people.


The child will have CP his entire life, it isn't going away and this isn't the only pool with this rule. Either find one that allows floaties or find a more official way to get permission that doesn't involve the lifeguard.  

nonmember avatar HappyDad

Rules were made to be broken?!? Are you seriously that stupid?!? So we should walk around construction sites with no hard hat, let kids text all through out class and kids play in busy intersections because 'rules are made to be broken'! Those rules are in place for SAFETY reasons, and yes I feel bad for this mom, but she already stated that she was in the water with him for an hour, so the real reason she got kicked out was she didn't want to spend the time in the pool taking care of HER son.

SoJaided SoJaided

What a strange rule

nonmember avatar Joshua

The lifeguard made the right call. Parents will typically throw them on the child and let them run around the pool unsupervised - those things are not secured effectively, and can easily come off. While responsible parents will stay with their children, rules have to be universal (you can't let some professional divers do flips into the pool and not allow children - forming an objective safety age or responsibility cut-off isn't possible). It's unfortunate, but it's the safest way to manage a pool. I'm sorry the boy has special needs, but arm floaties are not safe. A better alternative would be a noodle. It does require the swimmer to hold on, but it's a heck of a lot safer.

nonmember avatar HappyDad

Rules were made to be broken?!? Are you seriously that stupid?!? So we should walk around construction sites with no hard hat, let kids text all through out class and kids play in busy intersections because 'rules are made to be broken'! Those rules are in place for SAFETY reasons, and yes I feel bad for this mom, but she already stated that she was in the water with him for an hour, so the real reason she got kicked out was she didn't want to spend the time in the pool taking care of HER son.

the4m... the4mutts

What kind of kid DOESN'T use floaties at some point? I have 4 kids... all 4 started swimming as babies in those baby ring things, then had arm floaties, and now my older 2 can swim w/o anything.

What POOL doesn't want you to use safety precautions? That's insanity to me.



On topic, she broke the rules, was warned, and needed to be escorted away. Tough noodles. She should go somewhere that allows it, or find a way around it by speaking to a manager/owner/whatever, before showing up and breaking rules just because her kid has needs.

All kids have needs/wants, can't break the rules for 1.

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