An Ohio mom said her diabetic daughter was not allowed to ride a water slide at a public water park because she was wearing an insulin pump.
Beth McBride said her 12-year-old daughter, Alexis, was told by a lifeguard that she couldn't ride water slides at a water park with her insulin pump, which she needs to live, attached, WKEF reports. Beth said the city of Kettering violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by not allowing her daughter to go on the slides.
"She was in tears and upset, as she has every right to be," Beth said. "I mean, she was discriminated against basically."
Alexis, who has Type 1 diabetes, said that she was insecure about wearing the pump, and that the trip to the water park was the first time that she had worn a two-piece bathing suit and had the pump exposed.
Beth said that the pump functioned as Alexis' pancreas outside of her body, adding that if it was removed, she could die. She also said it was perfectly safe to wear on a water slide.
"It's completely tubeless, the insulin is actually in a chamber here," said Beth. "It's made to be worn in water parks, it's made to be worn in the ocean, in showers and bathtubs, she's allowed to wear it."
Alexis recalled that the lifeguard told her she couldn't go on the slide with the pump on.
"It was that one slide and that one lifeguard, that when I walked up there she pointed at my insulin pump and said: 'You cannot go on the slide with that on,'" the girl said.
Beth said the lifeguard didn't explain her reasoning for not letting Alexis on the ride.
"I said: 'Do you realize that's an ADA violation, she has a medical handicap, the insulin pump cannot be removed,'" Beth recalled. "She should be able to wear a medical device with pride."
According to the American Diabetes Association, the ADA states that "providers of public accommodations must provide you with services that are not any different from those they provide people without a disability. They must not screen out or exclude you because of your disability."
"I'm not as different as everybody else is and I shouldn't be singled out from everybody else that's having fun," Alexis said.
Beth contacted park managers, who made a report about the incident. The mom said she wanted to make sure the same situation did not happen to anyone else.
The city of Kettering later issued a statement about the incident, apologizing to the McBride family.
"After thorough review of the incident, Alexis should have been permitted to use the slides at Adventure Reef Water Park," read the statement. "We are grateful that Alexis and her mother met with us to review their experience. We apologize to Alexis and her family."
The city also said it would provide additional training to its staff.
Commenters online had mixed opinions on whether it was safe to wear an insulin pump at a water park. Some said the pumps could fall off from the force of the water.
"I would ... be VERY careful with the speed slides," wrote one user on DIS boards. "They can practically knock your teeth out of your mouth because they are SO jarring."
"Just makes me too nervous, that would be one expensive item to fall off in the pool," wrote another.
Another user suggested getting creative to keep a pump on in water.
"My son has an omnipod and we use medical tape before he gets in the water," the user wrote. "It really helps keep it on in the water!"