Boy with cerebral palsy given doctor's note for floaties, allowed in North Park pool

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PITTSBURGH —

A boy who was kicked out of North Park pool earlier this month for wearing water wings was permitted back into the pool after getting a doctor's note to wear the floaties.

Jen Wymer said she was at North Park pool with her son, Max, who has cerebral palsy.  Wymer said the lifeguards told her that wearing the water wings was against the pool's rules and her son had to remove them.

"All they would say is rules are rules and rules are rules. No in between," Wymer said. "I went up to the lifeguard and said, 'My son has cerebral palsy. He doesn't walk well and has poor balance. Could he keep the floaties on?'"

At first, Wymer took the wings off Max, but after an hour of holding him up in the pool she decided to put them back on. When the lifeguards told Wymer that Max had to take the wings off,  she refused and pool officials called the police.

"I put the floaties back on and the lifeguard manager came back and I said, 'I'm sorry, but he's wearing the floaties today,' and he called the police again," Wymer said.

According to Wymer, two police officers then escorted her out of the pool.

The Allegheny County website says, "Life preservers (even Coast Guard approved) and waterwings ARE PROHIBITED EXCEPT: Specialized floatation devices for disabled patrons only."

Wymer sent Channel 11 News a photo of Max swimming with the help of the floaties on Monday. She said officials made an exception because she got a note from a doctor.

The Allegheny County Parks Director said water wings are banned because they are "a false sense of security."

Experts caution that floaties do not prevent drowning and are not a life-saving device. They recommend a life vest or life jacket for children as a safer alternative.