With temperatures plummeting here in Central Pennsylvania, many homeowners are already dreaming of summer, when they can lounge by the pool, soak up some sun, and take a dip.
In Australia, residents don’t have to wait so long. There, temperatures in January are the hottest of the year. And just this month, highs reached more than 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
But a recent ban at several YMCA swimming pools in the country has left some people puzzled. According to a report by the New Castle Herald on New Year’s Day, “mermaid tails” have been banned at more than 50 of YMCA’s public swimming pools throughout the state of Victoria.
Yes, you read that right.
Mermaid tails have become a popular swimming accessory around the world. Swimmers wear them over their legs, essentially turning their legs into fins to create the experience of swimming like a mermaid.
But while it can be fun for both kids and adults to swim like mermaids, the tails come with serious safety warnings.
Australia’s YMCA explained its ban in a statement:
“Mermaid tails create unnecessary risk to our patrons by restricting swimming ability, especially for weak swimmers and children … It’s possible parents have purchased the product without realising the safety risk.”
Consumer advocacy groups in Australia have urged parents not to buy the tails at all. They warn parents that even children who are strong swimmers can have difficulty with the tails and increase the risk of drowning. Very young children and poor swimmers are urged not to wear them at all. Videos posted to YouTube show evidence of the difficulties that some children (and adults) have when trying to swim with the tails.
So while the decision to ban “mermaids” at public pools may seem a bit strange, out of context, it’s clearly being done out of a serious safety concern.
If you or your loved ones plan to wear a mermaid tail in your own pool next summer, please use extreme caution. Also, supervise any children who use the tail. If you choose to wear one yourself, consider doing so only when other are in the pool with you, especially if it’s your first time.