Your child’s health in and out of the year round pool

Aug 19

I’m so grateful that Pat Sarmiento contacted me about hidden safety concerns for children and pools.  I’ve worked with parents whose children are sick during the summer.  While the Mommy Detective method revealed hidden concerns that helped those parents with some issues, even I missed the possibility that their rashes and/or allergy symptoms might be due to the pool or chemicals in a pool.

While the summer is coming to a close, this article has year round importance.  Because we often visit indoor pools, the danger of contamination continues through the winter.  I live in Ohio where snow drifts against your window can make you long for those sunny summer days around a cool pool.  Many parents here belong to a YMCA pool, own an indoor pool or make yearly visits to an indoor water park.  Pat has brought up concerns all parents must consider when your child swims at home or visits a public pool.

For those of you that strive to be a good mommy detective, pool chemicals and their hazards must be on your radar.  Chemicals of all kinds can instantly change a child’s physical or even psychological health.  I counseled with a 13 year old who went from sweet obedience to rebellious and out of control within 24 hours.  Two psychologist and three doctors had no other explanation except “hormones”.  After a week of working on a mommy detective map, I discovered that the change happened the day after they moved into a new house.  The cause of her psychological change was triggered by  chemicals in the carpet.  She was removed from the house for a two week “detox” at Grandma’s house.   The carpets were cleaned twice with windows left open to make sure all chemicals were dispersed.  When she returned to a chemical free home, she also returned to the sweet child she had always been.

Never discredit the sweeping effects of chemicals.  Thank you Pat for the following article.

 

 

PoolVia Flickr – by Joanna Bourne

How Your Sitter Can Help Keep Your Child Healthy

In and Out of the Pool This Summer

by

Patricia  Sarmiento

If you’re using a sitter this summer, chances are she’s spending time with your kids by the pool. And you probably wouldn’t have hired her if she weren’t fully informed about pool and water safety. For example, she knows to cover the kids in sunscreen before they head to the pool. Once there, she knows to never let them out of her sight. If your kids can’t swim, she knows to bring along any necessary flotation devices. And she knows to pack up the cooler to make sure everyone has enough water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized the whole day.

While you may be informed, it is even more important that you sitter is aware of hidden pool dangers.  Avoiding a Recreational Water Illness (RWI) probably wasn’t taught in her babysitter training class.  Knowing how to help your kids avoid a recreational water illness (RWI) can save your child a lot of pain and many trips to the doctor.

We don’t often think about how the pool itself could make your child sick. But there is always a possibility if a pool hasn’t been properly cleaned and sanitized. Your babysitter can help your child avoid any RWI-related or other pool chemical-related illnesses this summer by following these steps.

Make sure she knows the basics about pool chemicals. My sitter frequently takes my kids over to the pool at my in-laws’ house. She never has to clean their pool, but it was important to me that she have a healthy respect for the chemicals that are used to clean it. I gave her an article titled “What chemicals are needed for a pool?”  This article lists the different kinds of chemicals used in pools and explains what purpose they serve. That way if there is ever a spill or other mishap with one of the containers she’ll at least have a working knowledge of the dangers associated with that chemical.

Train her (or make the call yourself) to ask about a public pool’s chemical levels. If you have your own pool, you can monitor chemical levels to make sure your pool water is clean. But if your sitter will be taking your kids to a public pool, you won’t have that luxury. That’s why it’s important to teach her the questions she needs to ask your local pool’s maintenance crew. Healthypools.org suggests asking how often chlorine and pH levels are checked and also what grade the pool received in its last health inspection.

Make sure she doesn’t allow your kids to ingest the water. The best way to prevent a child from picking up an RWI is to keep as much of the water in the pool and out of their bodies as possible. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors stress the importance of preventing your child from swallowing pool water. In an article on “Pool Water Pathogens” the author explains the dangers of bacteria, protozoa and even e-coli.  If a pool is not properly maintained the possibility of illness is almost a certainty.  Of course, children are bound to take in some of the water, but stress to your sitter that once she is confident the pool has been properly maintained, she must make sure the children are not drinking it or taking it in their mouths and spitting it on each other.

Have her watch for signs of over-chlorination. Over-chlorination in a pool can be just as harmful as under-chlorination. Have your sitter monitor your child, always being on the look out for red eyes or a skin reaction. These are common signs that the water contains too much chlorine. If  these reactions appear, she should get them out of the water and have them rinse off as soon as possible.

Stress the importance of having your kids shower before they dive in. While chemicals do play an essential role in keeping a pool clean,  swimmers must do their part as well. Often, people bring contaminants into the water without even realizing it. As LiveScience.com’s article “The Shower before Pool Rule”  notes, pool chemicals can only do so much. It’s also important that pool patrons wash with soap and water before getting into the pool to reduce the amount of contaminants they bring with them.  As the article explains, not only does a pre-wash reduce the amount of contaminants your kids could potentially bring into the pool, it also washes products off their skin that could react with the chemicals in the water.

Everyone deserves a healthy, happy summer and swimming fun all year round. By teaching your sitter to take these extra precautions, you can lower the chances that your kids will become ill after a day at the pool.

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Patricia Sarmiento loves blogging about health, wellness, fitness, and other health-related topics. A health and fitness fanatic, she makes living an active lifestyle a constant goal. She lives with her family in Maryland.  You can find her at    http://publichealthcorps.org

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