Troubling tales of taking the plunge and making a splash

HEARD about the latest craze among kids?

Swimming with elaborate mermaid tails.

A trend already ‘massive’ in the USA but now taking off in the UK, the third annual Miss Mermaid UK pageant having recently taken place in Northampton.

The Royal Life Saving Society UK which works to prevent drownings warns parents against letting children swim with elaborate, decorative monofins without supervision after a teenager’s recent death:

“These activities must be done in a safe and approved environment. We are conscious that there have been a number of incidents caused through improper use of mermaid tails.”

Well, don’t you just love this officialise! ‘Improper use,’ how? Attempting to wear them on your head like a hat and suffocating? Eating them and getting poisoned? But, seriously, it really doesn’t surprise me that, even in the 21st century, parents have to be warned against allowing their children to go swimming with their feet tied together. Why?

Because some parents simply don’t pay sufficient attention to their children when outdoors.

Recently I watched a number of parents busily chatting in a nearby park while children of nursery-school age played on swings, roundabouts and slides.

One child came hurtling down a slide and tumbled off, screaming her head off before mum noticed anything amiss. Another ran in front of swings being ‘manhandled’ by older kids and fortunate not to have been knocked senseless, the older kid jumping off just in time.

His scowl at the baby’s mum spoke volumes. The fact is that these mermaid tails are on sale and available as a colourful child’s ‘toy’ making them seductively attractive to some parents – not all of whom can swim themselves.

And just how did all this commercialisation start? First it was ‘trick or treat,’ then school proms and baby showers.

Now it’s mermaid pageants!

But surely doesn’t all this say more about the standards of parenting than the ethics of the mermaid-related businesses concerned?

After all, who makes the final decision what their children put on and which activities they indulge in?

( Nora’s books are available from Amazon. Profits to Cudeca.


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Written by

Nora Johnson

Novelist Nora Johnson offers insights on everything from current affairs to life in Spain, with humour and a keen eye for detail.


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