How young is too young to go to the pool alone? - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

How young is too young to go to the pool alone?

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Source: MGN Online Source: MGN Online
DECATUR, AL (WAFF) -

One of the joys of summer is to meet your friends at the local pool but how old should that child be before being dropped off alone? 

Julianne Lowman is the marketing director for Point Mallard and a mother of five. "We don't have a particular age where it's okay for a child to be dropped off at a park by themselves because everything is age-related and skill-related," said Lowman.

Lowman said this applies to everyone, even adults and special needs patrons, "...but they may have different abilities as to being able to handle, not only the ability to swim in particular areas but to be able to handle crowds and certain people."

She said it's not just a matter of dropping kids off and leaving, but accompanying them to the park and letting them take off by themselves also can be a problem. "Don't just park yourself somewhere and let your kids run amuck, because that's tantamount to the same thing as dropping them off and not paying any attention."

Most parents will tell you this is a matter of common sense and that different children mature at different levels. Lowman said children and teens should have a basic knowledge of water skills and social skills. 

"Understanding what to do in a crowd. What do you do if you get lost. What do you do if you see a friend whose in trouble. What do you do if you are in trouble," said Lowman.

If you have a pool at home, or can go to a nearby pool, Lowman advises parents to do some "skills checks" at home and to talk about the rules with your children.

Decatur resident Larry Marks took a guess at how old he believes kids should be before being allowed to stay at a pool by themselves, "I would say at least a teenager... 14... 15."

Patrick McNeil, another Decatur resident also took a shot, "I still think they ought to be... I would say 10 to 12."

With safety concerns understood, parents can also enjoy their summer. Different cities have different age requirements for their public pools.

Hartselle pool: 10 or older without adult supervision

Huntsville Braham Spring Natatorium: 4 feet 6 inches height requirement

Huntsville Jim Williams Aquatic Center: 48 inches tall and age 8 or above without adult supervision

Florence pools: Age 7 or above without adult supervision

Cullman Parks and Recreation:  Age 14 or above without adult supervision

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