Water Safety Essentials for Kids

Prevent Contaminated Water Infections

Over the last decade, more and more kids have been getting infections from contaminated water in swimming pools, lakes, rivers, and oceans, according to the CDC. Known as recreational water illnesses, these infections are caused by germs that usually enter the water by fecal contamination. "The most common illnesses cause diarrhea and respiratory, eye, ear, and skin infections," says David Kimberlin, MD, a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. To keep your child safe, follow these rules.

  1. Teach your child not to swallow or get swim water in her mouth.
  2. If you have a pool or a hot tub, check chlorine and other disinfectant levels on a regular basis.
  3. Use only public pools that require babies and toddlers who aren't toilet trained to wear swim diapers.
  4. Change your child's swim diaper often, or take her on frequent bathroom breaks. Have her wash her hands afterward.
  5. Wash your child off -- or make sure she showers -- before and after swimming.

Originally published in the July 2008 issue of Parents magazine.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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