Small inflatable or plastic kiddie pools are great fun for small children in the summertime. But, these pools can also make your child sick. The dirty pool water may cause recreational water illnesses (RWIs). RWIs are caused by water that is contaminated by feces or urine. RWIs can be spread by swallowing or having contact with contaminated water. As the number of children using a pool increases, the more the risk for illness increases.
The CDC offers tips on how to keep your child healthy and safe when using a small inflatable or plastic pool:
• Before your child or any of his friends use the pool, give him a soap bath. Do not allow a child who is ill with diarrhea or vomiting to use the pool.
• During swim time, remind children to avoid getting pool water in their mouths. Take your little one on a bathroom break every hour or check his diaper every 30-60 minutes to help keep germs out of the water. If you see feces in the pool or a child has a dirty diaper while in the pool, clear the pool of children right away. Then, drain the water, clean it, and leave the pool in the sun for at least four hours to kill germs.
• Swim diapers and pants can delay diarrhea-causing germs from leaking into the water, but swim diapers do not keep germs from contaminating the water. If your child wears a swim diaper, remember to continue to take him for frequent diaper changes or bathroom breaks.
• Empty the pool water daily, unless you have a filter system.
• Always watch children carefully. Even small pools with shallow water pose a drowning hazard to children.
• Learn CPR (cardio-pulmonary recessitation). It is a great skill to know in the event a child is drowning. The American Red Cross is one organization that offers widely recognized CPR programs. You can usually find programs in your community.
Learn more about ways to keep your child safe in the water this summer. With a little caution and a few rules, your child can stay cool in a pool.