Mermaid tails banned from Auckland Council pools

News 15/01/2016

Auckland Council has banned 'mermaid tail' toys from their leisure centres in response to fears they could be dangerous for users, especially children.

The popular swimming toy straps the wearer's legs together into either a single fin or a tail, designed to make the user swim like a mermaid.

But mermaid tails have faced a wave of criticism worldwide, amplified in the lead-up to Christmas.

By binding the legs together, the pool toys can pose a serious danger to weak swimmers and children.

The announcement of Auckland Council's ban was posted on Stanmore Bay Pool and Leisure Centre's Facebook page.

"We wish to advise our customers that ALL mermaid tails and fins are no longer permitted in any Auckland Council Leisure facility," the post reads.

They decided to implement the ban because the toys hinder the ability for children to move their legs while swimming, they say, and because it promotes prolonged underwater swimming, which can lead to blackouts in shallow water.

A video from the US posted on YouTube mid-last year highlights how quickly things can go wrong using the toy.

In the video, a young girl wearing a mermaid tail attempts to do an underwater flip in an above-ground pool, only to get into difficulties when she couldn't move her legs. She was quickly rescued by her mother, who was supervising close-by.

YMCA in Australia's Victoria state banned the swimming toy at more than 50 pools through the state earlier this year, while public pools in Canada's city of Edmonton banned the toys last year.

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