Pools slammed for sock wearing policy

A GRANDPARENT has labelled a leisure centre’s management as “crazy”, after it implemented a policy advising children to wear socks in its outdoor pool.

Hitchin Outdoor Pool is suggesting children wear socks in the water to provide extra protection. Letchworth’s outdoor pool also advises its customers to do the same.

Stuart Gray, of Walnut Way, Ickleford, noted the recommendation when he visited the pool last week.

He said: “I am a regular swimmer at the Hitchin Pool and of course we are extremely lucky to retain it. I have seen, however, a new sign advising parents of children that enter the outdoor pool that they should wear socks.

“I’ve been swimming there since the 1950s and I never hurt my feet. We used to rough and tumble around the pool a lot more in those days.

“How long will it be before we see a sign displayed advising parents to ensure that their children are dressed in a full body dry suit so as to stop their children getting wet when they go swimming?

“I know skin will soften when prolonged to water but where are our children heading if we really insist on wrapping them up in cotton wool when they go out.”

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The facilities, which are managed by Stevenage Leisure Limited in partnership with North Herts District Council (NHDC), both display signs that recommend the wearing of socks.

A spokesman from Stevenage Leisure said that the advice was not mandatory, and it was being mindful and responsible to users of its facilities.

In a joint statement with NHDC, the company added: “Both Stevenage Leisure and NHDC are very conscious of their responsibilities for the wellbeing of all our customers.

“Children have soft skin, particularly when they play for long periods of time in water. This may make them more prone to small abrasions due to the fabric of tiles of the outdoor pool.

“Signs have been placed around the centre to advise parents and carers that socks or rubber soled swim socks can be worn to provide extra protection if required.”