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New swim pool guidelines 'frustrating'

CAROLYN WARNER: she was told by Tony Blair ahead of the election that the rules were "crazy"
CAROLYN WARNER: she was told by Tony Blair ahead of the election that the rules were "crazy"

CAMPAIGNERS say they are disappointed and frustrated by new guidelines designed to make it easier for families to take their children swimming.

Leisure centres and swimming pool operators are to given new advice about rules that parents complained prevented them taking more than one child under the age of four into many local council-run pools.

The guidance, issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, is supposed to address parents’ concerns by being less stringent.

But Maidstone mother Carolyn Warner, who has spearheaded the Right To Swim campaign, said she felt let down and complained the guidance would prove too complicated for most pool operators.

There is still a specific requirement for a one-to-one arrangement for children under four. It will not change the situation at our pool and many others. There is still no research that the original rules made children any safer.

"What was supposed to be a two-page document is now seven pages and will make life even more complicated for operators. It is a big let down."

Under the Government’s action plan, the one-to-one rule will still be recommended in adult pools where a child cannot swim and is not wearing arm bands.

Pool operators will also have to carry out their own assessment of the risks. Those with more lifeguards and high-tech safety equipment will be allowed to let more children in.

On a visit to Kent before the election, Prime Minister Tony Blair told Carolyn Warner the rules were "crazy."

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