Many public swimming pools and health clubs run recreational swimming programmes throughout the week, as well as during school holidays and at weekends.
Many also run swimming parties, which may include using inflatables. Lifeguards are employed to safeguard swimmers and make sure they follow the swimming pool code of conduct.
There are usually age requirements in place for recreational swimming at public swimming pools. So make sure you check with your local pool ahead of time. These are usually as follows:
- children aged eight years or over can swim unaccompanied
- under eights must be accompanied by an adult aged over 18 (some pools over 16)
- a maximum of two children can be supported in the water per adult.
Alert the lifeguard
Remember to tell the lifeguards that your child is deaf and that they may not hear the whistle or verbal instructions.
If your child is eight years or over, you should encourage them to tell the lifeguards. This alerts the lifeguards to pay additional attention to your child and use visual signals such as raising an arm.
The swimming environment
It’s important that children are familiar with their swimming environment. If your child will be swimming unaccompanied in a new environment for the first time, ask a member of staff to give them a tour of the pool and facilities.
It’s particularly important to make your child aware of emergency arrangements and things such as wave machines, using visual cues when the machine starts.
If attending a swimming or pool party, the organiser should be informed that your child is deaf, along with the lifeguards. A clear system should be agreed in the event of an emergency. This could be a visual cue or adopting a ‘buddy’ system.