x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Of kids' pools and scepticism

School run When my husband suggested that we should consider moving to a villa with a swimming pool, my answer was an outraged "no".

In response to a boastful account of my girls' advanced swimming abilities (they were both out of armbands before the age of three), a friend doubted the same could be said of their cycling skills, which she suggested were unlikely to challenge their British counterparts'. And she was right. We do heat and water and Britain does hills and great biking weather.

Further into the conversation the same friend and I confessed our worst nightmares. Hers was that one of her pedal crazy kids would end up lifeless under the wheels of a car, while mine centred around drowning - and not unreasonably so. I've fished my youngest out of the water on more than one occasion - the record being twice in an afternoon, with me fully clothed - and my eldest was once nearly lost forever under a large inflatable.

So when my husband suggested (from planet dream-on, I might add) that we should consider moving to a villa with a swimming pool, my answer was an outraged "no". He clearly hadn't thought the matter through. How could we have lie-ins on Friday mornings when our children could be floating face down in said swimming pool? Despite both girls being super swimmers, I regularly lose sight of one of them. Of course I could be in the pool with them, rather than chit-chatting with friends around the fringes, but firstly I don't really like getting wet and secondly, at nearly seven and four, while too young to be unsupervised in water, the children don't need me hanging onto their pigtails. The Club's pool rules rightly state that under-12s require adult supervision at all times.

Another reason getting wet irks me, particularly in kids pools, is that years ago a health and safety manager colleague admitted that she limited her swimming to the sea as she believed seawater to be much more hygienic than swimming pool water. Years and two children later, I can't ignore the fact that, despite scrupulous cleaning and filtering of designated kids' pools, my children get sick when they use them, with chest infections and tummy bugs topping the list. In fact, it happens so consistently that I've pretty much banned them from the play pools.

In addition to the bugs that attack my children's insides, there's another common nasty - Molluscom contagiosum, an unsightly but harmless viral infection of the skin that causes small, pinkish, pearl-shaped spots that will eventually go away of their own accord or can be frozen and painfully scraped off. My youngest is covered with the things, which I suspect bother me much more than her. I suppose that sometime over the summer I'll cave in and allow my kids into the children's pools - but not me. I'd rather sweat it out on a plastic chair.