ELYRIA, Ohio - Video of a young girl struggling underwater while wearing a popular type of toy has led to many cities and suburbs banning the item from their public pools; including but limited locally: Cleveland, Lakewood, Westlake, Parma, Bay Village and Elyria.
They’re called “mermaid swim tails and monofins” and look like a costume combined with a swimming suit.
There are videos online showing some adults and children taking classes and easily swimming in the fins, but Lisa Bowman, Elyria’s Parks & Recreation Director considers them extremely unsafe.
“The fact that it’s so restrictive,” said Bowman, “When we teach swimming the first thing we teach is kick kick kick kick...so it makes me uncomfortable.”
In the YouTube video the mother is able to quickly rescue her daughter after she dives underwater and is unable to surface.
The Breastfeeding Mama Talk blog and website turned the video into a PSA which has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people.
Despite some concerns, the fins are still sold online at stores because they meet federal Child Protection Safety Commission requirements.
Some of the companies post training videos on their websites and warn that users should be over six and always with adult supervision.
But Bowman says in Elyria only Coast Guard approved flotation devices are permitted because they are tested and confirmed as safe.