With the summer already into its later phases, let me remind everyone about pool safety from 2 perspectives.

First is infection.  So many diarrheal illnesses originate in swimming pools.  Make sure that chemical balance–especially pH and chlorine–are scrupulously maintained.  Even chlorine sensitive infections are only killed by prolonged exposure.  Recall that sunlight consumes and rainwater dilutes chlorine so close supervision is crucial.  This is particularly true for hot tubs and public “kiddie” pools which are shallower and warmer allowing for more chemical dissipation and better bacterial growth environment.  Also, make sure that everyone bathes before entering the pool and no one with diarrhea should enter the pool.   Note that 75% of diarrheal illnesses contracted from the pool are caused by chlorine resistant cryptosporidium.  Therefore experts recommend that we should wait one week after resolution of diarrhea symptoms prior to re-entering the pool.  I will agree that that seems somewhat impractical but I do think that a thorough soap shower, concentrating on the anal area and the buttocks particularly in younger children and  those in diapers is necessary.  It’s estimated that these kids have up to 10 gm of feces on those body areas.  So do the math–if 10 little kids are splashing around in there, that’s 100 gm–over 3 oz–of poop in the pool.  Sounds like that scene from “Caddyshack!”

Younger children should take bathroom breaks every hour and parents who change diapers should do so in the bathroom and wash hands thoroughly prior to returning to the pool area.  Finally, try and remind children to not swallow pool water.

The other safety issue, of course, is submersion injury.  Drowning is the second leading cause in death ages 1-4.  In other words, children without congenital defects (the #1 cause) are more likely to die from drowning than any other cause.  I have touched on the subject previously so let me add just a few reminders.  All back yard pools should have a self closing and self locking gait(that’s building code mandate) and be separated from living quarters on all 4 sides.  Get kids swimming lessons–in most instances this can be initiated as young as 3 years of age (although never consider a toddler a”water safe” swimmer).  Most important, we should note that most drownings do not begin with a lot of splashing and flailing but are actually much quieter events.  So its essential that all children be supervised by an adult or trained teen lifeguard who is maintaining full attention to the pool–no grilling food, mowing lawn, or playing cards or aps then.  WATCH.  ONLY.

One final point about drowning–many toddlers actually drown in toilets or large buckets after falling in head first and then lacking strength to extricate themselves, so be vigilant about these objects in your home.

Send along questions or comments, and thanks for following


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