Mermaid tails are becoming increasingly popular, especially among young girls.
I can see why. I wasn't a particularly girly girl growing up so I was never interested in being a mermaid but I did love swimming and probably would have had a blast with the flipper-like device.
Even now I wouldn't mind giving one a go. I imagine you could get up to a decent speed underwater.
But, I have to agree with the decision made by Auckland Council to ban the toys in all council-operated pools.
I wouldn't be surprised to see other councils following suit.
It's easy to see how they could be incredibly dangerous.
The water is unforgiving and already too many people drown in the Bay, and throughout New Zealand, every year.
If something goes wrong in the water your natural instinct is to use all your limbs to push towards the surface.
That must be made far harder with your feet bound together.
If you're already in a panic and needing air I can imagine the logic and ability to calmly free yourself from the tail might be difficult.
Council pools, where lifeguards are always on duty and watching closely, may well be a fairly safe environment to use the tails but I can understand councils not wanting to take responsibility for any issues that arise from their use.
Parents should always keep a close eye on their children when they are in the water but especially so if they are using mermaid tails.
The responsibility should rest on parents, and rightly so.
Parents need to make sure their children's swimming ability is up to scratch before they let them use the tails and make sure they are comfortable and confident using the devices before they let them out of their reach.
It would also pay to talk to children about the possible dangers and make sure they can get their feet out of the tail quickly in case they ever find themselves in difficulty.
The tails are a neat idea and look like plenty of fun but parents need to take responsibility for the safety of their own children and monitor them closely.