How young is too young to be swimming alone at a public pool? That is the question being asked in Cincinnati following the drowning of a 10-year-old boy last week. The boy was unresponsive when lifeguards pulled him from the pool at Bush Recreation Center and began emergency response procedures. He was transported to a local hospital, where he died over the weekend. 

 RELATED: Day Camp Pool Death Ruled Accidental Drowning

Currently, children as young as seven are allowed to swim at Cincinnati public pools without adult supervision, and that’s just too young, says city councilman Chris Smitherman. 

"A pool is a place where anything could happen. A pool is not a place for babysitting," Smitherman told Fox 19.

The age limit is the only restriction on whether a child is allowed to enter (that, and the ability to pay the $1 entry fee) — there are no stipulations related to ability to swim. 

Others argue that increasing the age limit will do more harm that good. "If they can't come swimming where are they going to go?" asked one citizen. "If they don't come here then look where they are. They're in the streets." 

Other councilpersons shared concerns but agreed that something must be done to prevent further incidents. The council voted to recommend raising the age limit but leave the final decision up the recreation commission, which is continuing its own investigation of last week’s drowning and considering other possible changes. 

RELATED: Strict Usage Rules Are Designed to Prevent Drowning Accidents

Other suggestions have included implementing swim testing and use of a colored-armband or wristband system such as that used by the local YMCA that alerts lifeguards to a swimmer's skill level. 

 
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Emily Attwood is Managing Editor of Athletic Business.