Mother, child with cerebral palsy kicked out of pool for wearing water wings
A mother is upset after she and her son were kicked out of a local public pool because he was wearing water wings on his arms.
Jen Wymer said she was at North Park pool Monday with her son, Max, who has a disability.
Wymer said the lifeguards told her that wearing the water wings was against the pool's rules and her son had to remove them.
"All they would say is rules are rules and rules are rules. No in between," Wymer said. "I went up to the
lifeguard and said, 'My son has cerebral palsy. He doesn't walk well and has poor balance. Could he keep the floaties on?'"
lifeguards told Wymer that Max had to take the wings off and she refused, pool officials called the police.
The Allegheny County website says, "Life preservers (even Coast Guard approved) and waterwings ARE PROHIBITED EXCEPT: Specialized floatation devices for disabled patrons only."
At first, Wymer took the wings off Max, but after an hour of holding him up in the pool she decided to put them back on.
"I put the floaties back on and the
lifeguard manager came back and I said, 'I'm sorry, but he's wearing the floaties today,' and he called the police again," Wymer said.
According to Wymer, two police officers then escorted her out of the pool.
"There was a woman who went directly to police and said, 'Are you making her leave because of the floaties? She obviously has a physically disabled child,'" Wymer said.
The Allegheny County Parks Director said water wings are banned because they are "a false sense of security."
The director said the police were there to tell Wymer the rules, not escort her out of the pool.
Wymer told Channel 11's Cara Sapida that while she understands there are rules in place for a reason, but she felt the situation was handled poorly.
"They showed no compassion for a child who needs a little extra support," Wymer said.
Experts caution that floaties do not prevent drowning and are not a life-saving
devise. They recommend a life vest or life jacket for children as a safer alternative.