Mermaid tails come with warning as drowning hazard - News, Weather & Sports

Mermaid tails come with warning as drowning hazard

Mermaid Alaina (Source: WMC Action News 5) Mermaid Alaina (Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: YouTube) (Source: YouTube)

Full-body fins and flippers that turn children into a mermaid are being called must haves for the swimming pool, and they’re all the rage this summer.

Local lifeguards, however, said the toys are nothing to be toyed with.

The tails sparked a craze this summer, ranging in price from $20-300, but even one of the most popular mermaid tail companies is issuing a warning to parents that the toys require special swim skills—or a day at the pool could turn to tragedy.

A YouTube video of the toy shows a young girl quickly turn upside and struggle in her family’s backyard pool while wearing the tail for the first time. She is quickly rescued by her mom.

A recent consumer watchdog report calls into question the safety of the sparkly swim toys that are mesmerizing kids around the world.

“I have always had a fascination with mermaids ever since I was a little girl,” Alaina Hood said.

Hood is a professional mermaid who hosts swim parties across the Memphis area.

“I give mermaid rides and sometimes we'll do mermaid races,” Hood said.

Gliding and splashing through the water with her legs bound is something she said takes training.

“I've been a very confident swimmer,” she said. “I didn't have any concerns about me swimming in it. It was really just getting the feel of having your legs together.”

Top mermaid tail companies like Fin Fun recommend the toy for children ages six and older. The company said their tails and monofins meet the Child Protection Safety Commission requirements in the U.S. but should only be used by experienced swimmers.

“It's not for children who are learning how to swim,” Hood said. “It's not to be used as a training device or a flotation device.”

The safety warnings are why the mermaid fins are being banned at all city swimming pools, like Kroc Center and all Mid-South YMCA locations.

“Anything around the feet arms or neck area, we want to make sure that kids do not have the opportunity to use those kinds of things here at the YMCA,” YMCA Senior Program Director James Corrigan said.

However, Mermaid Alaina believes the ban restricts imagination.

“I don't think the pools should ban children from using these tails, but I think they should be used responsibly,” she said.

Fun Fin’s CEO recently addressed the near-drowning video on their website and encourages parents to use their best judgment as their children live out their mermaid dreams.

Mermaid Alaina hosts her elaborate swim parties with parent supervision mostly at private pools, where the YMCA believes the tails should stay.

“Coming to a public pool or to any pool in the area, I highly suggest not using anything that binds the legs or feet or anything around the neck,” Corrigan said.

Copyright 2016 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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