Philadelphia pool goers will have to adhere to and face new rules at local swimming pools this summer. Last week, a city council meeting was called to discuss new rules regarding children who are not able to swim. Michael DiBerardinis, the deputy mayor for Philadelphia, said that he thinks the city has greatly changed the way they let and identify young children who cannot swim enjoy the pool. These rules were created after a child, Ja’briel O’Connor, died after he was found at the bottom of a pool at the Cobbs Creek Recreation Center. O’Conner, who did not know how to swim, swam over to the area of the pool that was five feet deep, panicked and then sank to the bottom of the pool.
One of the rules will require children from summer camps to be screened to see if they are able to swim. Leo Dignam, the Deputy Recreation Commissioner, said that the children will be screened the first time they come into the pool. He also said that if the children cannot swim, they will be identified as not being able to swim, will be placed in a section of the shallow end of the pool that is roped off and will have to stay in that section. Dignam said that this screening has been made mandatory at all their pools.
Camp counselors and pool staff are going to go through water safety training. The people who will be trained are going to include over 200 people who run the summer camps and the employees at the over 250 daycares and outside camps who use the pools in the city during the summer. Beginning this summer, employees who were trained will have to show a certificate showing they completed the training.
Parents in Philadelphia will face new signs explaining that children who are shorter than 45 inches or are not able to swim have to be with their parents. There will also be a new sign that explains the reasoning for the roped off area of the shallow end of the pool. Susan Slawson, the first deputy commissioner for Parks and Recreation, said they are preparing for the new swim season and that the rules will be posted online. Dignam said that the pool has a great track record when people think that the pool has about a million visits a year within an eight-week period. He also said that any drowning is not good for them and that it is a tragedy they hope will not happen. These rules are designed to keep children safe while they are in the pool.
Children and parents will be learning about new rules this summer at Philadelphia area pools. The rules will require that all children will be screened to make sure they can swim. The screening will test children’s swimming skills by having them swim from one side of the pool to the other, which will allow them to swim in the deep end. Parents will see signs that explain that children will have to swim in the roped off shallow end if they cannot swim or are under 45 inches. Counselors will face water safety training to ensure that children are safe while swimming.
By Jordan Bonte