Dwarf and safety

I’ve been doing my share of holidaying too and have been to two locations – both governed by EU directives in regard to ‘elf and safety – with vastly different interpretations.

I took my 7 year old to Butlins in Bognor Regis – to give him a few days of unadulterated child-oriented activities. I thought I was getting away from work until we arrived at the top of the water shute to find a two year old toddler with armbands waiting in the queue – without a parent in sight. The youth who was monitoring the chute had no problem in pushing her down the chute – but would not allow her to wear her armbands! Although the water was fairly shallow, it was still deep enough for her to drown with nothing to keep her afloat.

Then we went to the other end of the ‘elf and safety spectrum – the floating assault course, they only allowed on one child at a time – because of ‘elf and safety, (which takes 90% of the fun out of it) – and the Dads weren’t allowed to swim alongside ‘in case there is an emergency and the lifeguards need to get in the pool’! The fact that the same lifeguards managed emergencies in the same pool during other times of days when it was heaving with swimmers, didn’t seem an issue.

Throughout the Holiday Centre the rule of whether children were or weren’t allowed to participate was 1.4 metres. It didn’t matter if my son was an excellent swimmer (which he is), but he was a smigeon off 1.4 metres tall, so he couldn’t go on the Rapids ride (although he had done so the previous year). What happens when a ‘vertically challenged’ adult – such as a dwarf or midget – wants to participate in these activities? Are they excluded too because they don’t meet the height requirement?

Then I visited Spain – to find that the ‘rules’ are applied differently. Children were allowed on any ride, with parental supervision, providing they could reach the controls comfortably. The bumper cars that in the Uk required the driver to be 1.4 metres and restrained by a seat belt, had no height restriction and no seat belts (have you ever tried to turn one of these vehicles over?)

Same EU directive applies – only going to prove that in the UK there is a group of people in government, local authority, business and everyday life who are grumpy, risk averse, numpties – let’s call them ‘grumpties’ – who have taken guidelines and turned them into hard, fast – and ridiculous laws! When are we going to see a return of common sense and be able to live our lives instead of existing in a big pink bubble?