But according to the Center for Disease Control, one in eight pools gets shut down on the spot after an inspection due to health and safety issues. Chemical-related injuries and illness rack up 5,000 emergency room visits a year — half of which are from children. A transferrable sickness in a public pool can reach thousands. The main culprit? Diarrhea.
But that doesn't mean you need to barricade your family indoors this summer. Here are a few things you can do to keep yourself and your family healthy and still have fun at the pool.
Wash Your Hands1 of 8
A simple suggestion we hope you do anyway, washing your hands can be the biggest deterrent to catching an illness. Remind your children of this easy rule and ensure that they don't jump right into the pool after a bathroom break without using soap and water.
Shower Before You Get in the Pool2 of 8
The CDC recommends this practice, and with good reason. If everyone showered thoroughly before jumping in a public pool, the chances of bringing in unwanted dirt or other undesirables would significantly lessen. Plus, a 2010 University of Illinois study found that combining materials on human skin (such as cosmetics or traces of urine) with pool chemicals led to a more toxic chemical mix.
Don't Swallow the Water3 of 8
Remind your children to try to not to get water in their mouths, and by no means swallow it if they accidentally do. You do not want water from any chlorinated pool — public or not — in your system, but it also wards off the possibility of ingesting germs.
Have a Back-Up Plan4 of 8
Restroom out of soap? Whip out your hand sanitizer. Child have a couldn't-hold-it-long-enough accident? Take out the extra outfit you brought and notify a lifeguard immediately (though try to deter this problem with hourly bathroom breaks). Sunnier than expected? Keep the kids hydrated with that extra water bottle you brought.
Ask About the Most Recent Chemical Tests5 of 8
Public pool staff should continuously test the water to ensure a balanced chemical content. If you feel worried about the pool's upkeep, contact the pool's management and inquire about their testing plans.
Identify the Signs6 of 8
If your children are developing rashes, have difficulty breathing or urinating, complain of a sore throat or headache, or begin vomiting or coughing after a visit to the pool, take them to a doctor as quickly as possible. These symptoms are typically associated with chemical poisoning.
Remember the Biggest Threat for Children is Drowning7 of 8
For all the panic surrounding the composition of chemicals and germs in the water, parents may overlook the biggest concern of all: the water itself. The World Health Organization notes that children ages 1 to 4 are at the highest risk of drowning, followed closely by children ages 5 to 9. The easiest prevention tactic? Watch your children every time they get in the water.