City looks to raise age limit at public pools

(FOX19) - After the death of a 10-year-old boy at a Cincinnati public pool, Councilman Chris Smitherman is suggesting the city to raise the age limit for children left alone at public pools.

According to the Hamilton County Coroner, 10-year-old Tyrell Wyche died of an apparent drowning on Friday two days after the incident at the Bush Pool on Kemper Lane.

The current rule allows children 7-years-old and older to swim in a Cincinnati Public Pool without adult supervision. All you need is $1 for 1 day or $20 for the summer and you can enter a public pool regardless of whether you can swim or not.

It is a rule Councilman Chris Smitherman says needs to change after the drowning of a 10-year-old boy last week. While increasing child safety is the goal, some parents say raising the age limit will do exactly the opposite.

"Seven is just too young. My common sense says it's just too young," said Smitherman.

As a father of five, Smitherman says he wouldn't allow his 6 year old to attend church alone, much less a public pool. After a 10-year-old boy lost his life last week, he says the city must wake up and raise the age limit.

"A pool is a place where anything could happen. A pool is not a place for babysitting," said Smitherman.

"If they can't come swimming where are they going to go?" said Maurice Yancy.

Yancy has five grandchildren and says with so many lifeguards on duty the pool is the safest place for children to be.

"It's hot outside. There is nowhere to go and if they don't come here then look where they are. They're in the streets," said Yancy.

Some council members shared the same concern.

"I don't want to find ourselves in the position where we've got kids who don't have a parent that can go to the pool with them," said Councilman Wendell Young.

"Not doing anything right now might be the wrong decision," said Councilwoman Amy Murray.

In the end, council voted to recommend raising the age of unsupervised children to the recreation commission and leave the decision up to them. It is a step Smitherman says in the right direction.

"I just felt strongly that this is one we could do that is meaningful. It sends a strong message that would make kids safer," said Smitherman.

The Cincinnati Recreation Commission is investigating the drowning from last week and says it will consider whatever changes may be necessary to keep children safe.

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