The signs are posted at Scales Lake, no floatation devices allowed in the swimming area. Even though there are several lifeguards on duty, Chris Stephens says he was surprised they couldn't use the life jacket they brought with them.
"It isn't like we were putting the life jacket on her so we can just throw her in the water and not have to pay attention to her. She has that phobia, I don't see how one bad apple can ruin the bunch, it's kind of irritating," Chris Stephens said.
On Tuesday, Stephens, and his girlfriend Amy Wood took her 5-year-old daughter, Katie to Scales Lake to go swimming. When they arrived, workers told them Katie could not wear her life jacket.
"When parents put floatation devices on kids they just seem to not watch them as much as they would if, they don't have anything like that on. Another reason is the same reason, visibility, if the child is not a strong swimmer, if they have a floatation device on, they may be more likely to duck their head under the water or wonder out in to deep water where they wouldn't be if they didn't have the floatation device on, so that's the reason behind that," Ben Labhart said.
Ben Labhart says they've never allowed floatation devices like rafts, tubes, and life jackets, because it hurts visibility. He says in the past, there were several incidents where parents would leave their child in the water with a life jacket on, and walk up to the parking lot, or go to the shelter to get a snack, or use the bathroom. He says the rule isn't there to make people mad, but he says it makes parents watch their kids better. Stephens says Katie was screaming and crying in the water, since she didn't have her security blanket. He says the rule doesn't make sense.
"You can't not let children be safe," Stephens said.
Stephens says he'd like the rule to change to just no pool toys, so that life jackets could be allowed. The Parks Department says it does not see the rule changing.