Council Hears New Memphis City Pool Regulations

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In response to the two drowning deaths that occurred the first day the city pools were open, City Council members heard about new pool regulations during Tuesday's parks committee meeting.

The new regulations include a way for lifeguards to easily identify which swimmers are allowed to be in the deep end and mandate that someone over 18 years old accompanies children 12 and under and shorter than 4 feet tall to the pool.

"They aren't required to have a parent with them. It's an adult, 18 and older," said parks director Cindy Buchanan. "It doesn't have to be their parent or guardian, but it needs to be someone responsible."

Several council members worried that requiring children to be accompanied by an adult would effectively discourage people from using city pools.

Council member Barbara Swearengen Ware wanted to know if the adult had to accompany the child to the pool or in the water.

"You ask me to take my child, that's one thing. You ask me to take them to the pool, get undressed, and get in the water with them, that's another thing," Ware said.

She added, "I understand you're trying to avoid disaster, but some of this I think was done to discourage people from either going to or sending their children to the pool."

Buchanan said those with younger children should consider being in the water with their kids.

"If they're three-, four- or five-years-old, and they're in the pool and you're on the deck, you're not really supervising," she said. "Our lifeguards are trained in life saving; they're not trained in babysitting."

Under the new regulations, swimmers will also have to pass a test before they can go into the deep end.

-- Mary Cashiola

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