Swimming is one of the best summer time activities for kids to enjoy, but lurking in the water is something that can make your little one sick.
Kiddie pools are a family fun staple, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the small plastic or inflatable pools have been associated with the spread of recreational water illnesses or RWIs. These illnesses occur from swallowing or being in contact with the contaminated water. Alarmingly, larger public pools have also tested positive for bacteria caused by fecal matter.
Kiddie pools are typically filled with tap water, which is free of chlorine. They also don’t have the filters of larger pools. Once bacteria enter the water, normally from a child with a diarrheal illness, everyone else who enters is at risk of getting sick.
A recently released study by the CDC found that 58 percent of Atlanta-area public pools contained E. coli, a fecal indicator, introduced by swimmers. The fecal matter contaminates the pool when it washes off of swimmers’ bodies or through a fecal incident in the water. The findings show that swimmers need to do a better job of preventing the introduction of pathogens by showering before diving in, washing hands, and avoiding the pool if sick.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Don’t let a child with diarrhea or vomiting use the pool.
- Give your child a shower or bath before entering the pool.
- Make sure other children who may use the pool are not sick.
- Encourage your child to not get water in their mouth.
- Immediately respond to feces in the pool or a dirty diaper.
- Take your child on bathroom breaks every hour and check diapers frequently.
- Make sure you wash your hands after going to the bathroom or changing diapers.
After using your kiddie pool, drain it completely and clean it. Then let it sit out in the sun for at least four hours to kill any bacteria left behind. Take these steps and continue to enjoy this summer activity staple.