Protect your kids from serious health risks in swimming pools

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There is no better feeling than seeing a pool that’s inviting you in for a refreshing swim. And it’s almost guaranteed that if you have small children, they will want to jump in the pool immediately if it looks appealing.

At the same time, you want to make sure that your children will remain safe. There are serious health issues that they can suffer from if they play in a pool that isn’t well maintained.

As a parent, it is important that you know what your children will be exposed to if they decide to play in a swimming pool that is public or that is maintained by someone other than yourself.

What are some of the health risks that your children can be exposed to?

Ear infections

Ear infections are caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is a type of bacteria that can be life-threatening for a person that has a low immune system. Even though it is treatable, it is ideal to prevent the threat of this bacterial causing ear infections within your children.

Legionella

This can lead to Legionnaire’s disease, which is a severe form of pneumonia that is caused by the Legionella bacteria. Although it doesn’t affect people when consumed orally, the bacteria can be inhaled and can then cause health problems. Children with weaker immune systems will be more at risk.

It’s important that the swimming pool’s temperature and use of equipment that creates gas is free from any contamination. You can ask the pool owner or manager if they have regular checks. Also find out how their pool is managed when it isn’t in use. Ask them how they implement measures that prevents the risk of Legionella forming.

How can children be protected from these health threats in the pool?

You will need to speak to the pool maintenance manager and understand their pool maintenance process. Whether it is a public or private swimming pool, it is important that you ask the following to keep your children’s health safe.

Ask about the chlorine level.

The main germs that contribute to these health issues can be killed by chlorine, which is the most common chemical that’s used to disinfect the pool water. You can ask the pool owner or manager how often the chemicals are adjusted to maintain the right pH and chlorine levels. (Source)

Ask about the pool filter.

The pool filter should be operational for 8-12h a day. However, it does depends on the pool use. You can ask the pool owner or manager how often they run their pool filter. You can even ask if their cartridge filters are regularly replaced. Should it be done infrequently or worse, the pool filter isn’t operational; then it is best if you avoid allowing your children to play in that particular pool.

Below are a few additional resources on pool safety that you can reference to keep your children safe.

Healthy swimming pools (NSW Government)
Better Health (Victorian Government)
Pool maintenance and safety advice (Mr Poolman Blog)

Guest post by Tom Smith

 

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About Author

Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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