Eastbourne mother raises drowning concerns following leisure centre incident

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A mother has called for warning signs to be put up at an Eastbourne leisure centre to deter children from using a fake boulder as a slide after a ‘traumatic’ experience in the pool.

Joanna McWall visited the Sovereign Centre on May 29 with her husband and two-year-old twins, Harrison and Maddison.

Mrs McWall said there are fake boulders with white panels, that look like a slide, separating the children’s area from the full-sized pool. She said she has been told that some children use the boulder as a slide.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

On her visit Mrs McWall noticed Harrison fully submerged in the full-sized pool and suspects he used the boulder as a slide.

Joanna McWall with her twins and husbandJoanna McWall with her twins and husband
Joanna McWall with her twins and husband

She said: “He had probably drunk a lot of water, you would think, because he was spitting up water for quite a few minutes.”

Despite accepting responsibility, Mrs McWall called on the centre to signpost the area and said another resident told her it has happened to others.

Mrs McWall said: “If he had been left in their for 30 more seconds he would have drowned or would have needed CPR.

“It was really traumatic for him and us.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Joanna McWall with her twins and husbandJoanna McWall with her twins and husband
Joanna McWall with her twins and husband

In an email to the centre she wrote: “Seeing my child nearly die was horrific and I can’t imagine any parent having to go through this if it could have been avoided. Please do something.”

Eastbourne Borough Council, which runs the site, said: “The Fun Pool contains a section of large domed bollards which not only mark out a safe zone for paddling, but also act as important wave breaks during our popular wave sessions. These wave breaks are essential for the safety of children in the paddling area while the wave machine is running.

“We are aware that some children do climb upon the bollards, and whenever possible the lifeguard team will actively remind users to refrain from using them as play equipment, but we do require the support of the parents and supervising adults too. In addition, our guidelines require the wearing of approved buoyancy aids for non-swimmers and that all visitors adhere to adult/child ratios, particularly children under the age of four who must be supervised on a 1:1 basis during wave sessions.”

The council said it is discussing concerns with lifeguards and is looking at options for signs.

READ THIS: