POLL: Do You Agree With Ban on "Swimmies" at Cedar Street Pool?
Majority of West Caldwell Council okay with new pool rule.
The majority of the West Caldwell Council said it agreed with a new pool rule banning "swimmies" at Cedar Street Pool at Tuesday night's meeting.
The new rule prohibiting flotation devices was implemented this season by the pool manager citing safety concerns.
While swimmies have never been allowed at the township's other pool facility, Westville Pool, they have been permitted at Cedar Street's shallow children's pool until this year.
"We polled experts," said Councilman Dominick Aiello, Chairperson for the Pool Utility. "If a lot of people are in the pool, the swimmies can come off or deflate. With so many people in the pool, it becomes difficult for lifeguards to see a child in danger," Aiello explained.
"If the child can't swim, the parent should be there," Aiello added.
Swimmies were banned because some parents have reportedly left their children in the pool unsupervised when using the flotation devices.
"It gives a false sense of security," said Councilman Steve Wolsky, adding that he would be in favor of United States Coast Guard approved flotation devices, not "dime store" swimmies. He said he is also in favor of a rule mandating parents be with children of a certain age at all times while in the pool.
Councilman Thomas O'Hern disagreed with the Council's recommendation.
"I am not a parent to leave my child," O'Hern stated, but with three young children, he said it is difficult for him to hold all of them when swimming in the pool.
Council President Stan Hladik, a father of five children, sympathized with O'Hern's concerns, but agreed with the Pool Committee's recommendation for safety reasons, as did Councilmen Richard Otterbein and Joseph Cecere.
The Pool Committee this year also raised the minimum age for allowing a child to attend the pool without adult supervision from 10 to 11.
Aiello explained the Pool Committee surveyed other surrounding community pools and learned the minimum age ranges from 12 to 14.
"Our goal is to have it at age 12," Aiello said.
To grandfather in children who were allowed to attend the pool last year when they were 10, the age was raised to 11 for this season and will be raised to 12 next season.
One accommodation the Pool Committee did agree to was to change the date when children reach age 11 from June 1 to October 1 to match the school's grade cut-off. This recommendation came from West Caldwell resident Kevin Murray who pointed out that his daughter, who could not stay at the pool unattended last year while some of her older classmates could, would now be banned from this privilege for another two years.
"This is a reasonable request," Aiello said.