Selah enforces new pool rules for children's safety
SELAH, Wash.- 27,000 people, that's the average number of locals who swim in the Selah pool during the summer. Over the last three years they've had 65 near drownings, and a portion of those times, the parent wasn't there.
City Administrator Don Wayman says having two to four lifeguards watching over dozens of kids left alone has been a problem.
"They told us that it was a problem with unaccompanied children, because it detracted from the lifeguards ability to do their job which is to supervise those children in the pool," said Wayman.
Since the pool opened up last week, children 12 and under are now required to have an adult with them at all times while at the pool. Kids 13 to 18 need to come with someone at least their age. Some locals say the new pool regulations are a little extreme.
"I could see maybe the ages of 7 and under 8, but I think kids 10,11 and 12 can take care of themselves," said local Evelyn Brockett.
Waymon says with extra children left unattended, the lifeguards are spending more time monitoring those kids, rather than focusing their full attention on the pool.
"There's not a whole lot of a difference between the behavior of a 12 or 11 year old, and an eight year old in the pool. We need moms and dads and supervisory adults actually watching over the children that they bring into the pool. It can be the difference between a drowning, and a near drowning," said Wayman.
Up to 100 people can be in the Selah pool at once, Wayman says on a hot day it's not hard to reach that number, and the majority of them are children.
Wayman says the number one reason why the city made the decision was to prevent the worst case possible, the death of a child.