Friday, March 28th, 2014
Just in time for Spring and Summer pool parties, we finally have an answer to the age-old debate: Is it safe to pee in the pool? Turns out, it’s not as safe as Olympic swimmers make it out to be. When urine mixes with chlorine, a substance can form that can cause health problems associated with the lungs, heart, and central nervous system. More from American Chemical Society:
Sanitary-minded pool-goers who preach “no peeing in the pool,” despite ordinary and Olympic swimmers admitting to the practice, now have scientific evidence to back up their concern. Researchers are reporting that when mixed, urine and chlorine can form substances that can cause potential health problems. Their study appears in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Jing Li, Ernest Blatchley, III, and colleagues note that adding chlorine to pool water is the most common way to kill disease-causing microbes and prevent swimmers from getting sick. But as people swim, splash, play — and pee — in the pool, chlorine mixes with sweat and urine and makes other substances. Two of these compounds, including trichloramine (NCl3) and cyanogen chloride (CNCl), are ubiquitous in swimming pools. The first one is associated with lung problems, and the second one can also affect the lungs, as well as the heart and central nervous system. But scientists have not yet identified all of the specific ingredients in sweat and urine that could cause these potentially harmful compounds to form. So Li’s team looked at how chlorine interacts with uric acid, a component of sweat and urine.
They mixed uric acid and chlorine, and within an hour, both NCl3 and CNCl formed. Though some uric acid comes from sweat, the scientists calculated that more than 90 percent of the compound in pools comes from urine. They conclude that swimmers can improve pool conditions by simply urinating where they’re supposed to — in the bathrooms.
Download our Complete Potty Training Guide so your little one doesn’t have any accidents this pool season.
Image: Happy children in pool via Shutterstock.
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Friday, June 14th, 2013
Formal swimming lessons, conducted by a certified instructor, may be the key to reducing the number of child drownings in the U.S. Drowning is the second leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 19, and although it is established that lessons give children the skills they need to survive in the water, access to those resources is often restricted in lower income and minority communities. More from The New York Times:
Huge numbers of children are unable to swim, which largely explains why drowning is the second leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 19. Three years ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its policy, reinforcing its advice that children ages 4 and older should learn to swim but also noting that children ages 1 to 4 are less likely to drown if they have had formal swimming lessons.
Furthermore, very young children who are comfortable in water are likely to be easier to teach to swim when they are ready to learn formal strokes.
According to the USA Swimming Foundation, about 70 percent of African-American children, 60 percent of Latino children and 40 percent of white children are nonswimmers. Lack of access and financial constraints account only partly for these numbers. Fear, cultural factors and even cosmetic issues play a role as well.
“Before the Civil War, more blacks than whites could swim,” Lynn Sherr, the author of “Swim: Why We Love the Water,” said in an interview. “There are many stories of shipwrecks in which black slaves rescued their owners.”
But as Ms. Sherr learned from Bruce Wigo of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, segregation destroyed the aquatic culture of the black community. “Once whites discovered swimming, blacks were increasingly excluded from public pools and lifeguarded beaches,” Mr. Wigo told her.
As a result, many minority parents never learned how to swim. Adults who can’t swim often fear the water and, directly or indirectly, convey that fear to their children.
Image: Child swimming, via Shutterstock
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Monday, September 17th, 2012
Nearly 140 children under age 15 were reported to have drowned in swimming pools and spa tubs during the 2012 summer season between Memorial Day and Labor Day, a new report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) has found. A release announcing the report says, in part:
An additional 168 children of that age required emergency response for near-fatal incidents in pools or spas during that period.
“These figures are a strong indication that child drownings are a serious public health problem,” CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum said. “We are losing too many children to drowning, tragically cutting short these young lives and leaving families devastated. While summer is ending, our vigilance in ensuring that all children pool safely must not end. With so many indoor community pools, hotel pools and spas, indoor waterparks, as well as outdoor pools that remain open in warm-weather states, we must continue our efforts to remind everyone to pool safely whenever they are near the water.”
The media figures for this summer show that 54 of these drownings occurred soon after the children left an adult who was in their immediate vicinity, and 31 children drowned despite the presence of others at the pool.
Image: Swimming pool, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, May 10th, 2012
Banzai Inflatable Pool Slides, made by Manley Toys, Ltd., have been recalled for major safety hazards, which have led to the deaths of at least one person, and the paralyzing injury of at least one other. From Parents.com’s Toy and Product Recall Finder:
THE DANGER: During use, the slide can deflate, allowing the user to hit the ground underneath the slide and become injured. The slide is also unstable and can topple over in both still and windy conditions and carries inadequate warnings and instructions. The CPSC is aware that a 29-year-old Colorado mother died in Andover, Mass. after fracturing her neck going down a Banzai in-ground pool water slide which had been placed over the concrete edge of a pool. The victim hit her head at the bottom of the slide because it had partially deflated. The CPSC and the retailers are aware of two other injuries which have occurred in a similar manner, including a 24-year-old man from Springfield, Mo. who became a quadriplegic and a woman from Allentown, Pa. who fractured her neck.
DESCRIPTION: The recall involves about 21,000 inflatable Banzai in-ground pool water slides designed for use with in-ground pools. The vinyl slides have a blue base, yellow sliding mat, and an arch going over the top of the slide. By connecting a hose to the top of the slide, water can be sprayed on its downward slope. The words ‘Banzai Splash’ are printed in a circular blue, orange, and white logo, shaped like a wave on either side of the slide. The recalled slides have the barcode number 2675315734 and model number 15734. Both the barcode and model number appear on the original packaging but are not on the actual slide.
SOLD AT: Walmart and Toys R Us nationwide from January 2005 through June 2009 for about $250.
WHAT TO DO: Immediately stop using the product and return it to the nearest Walmart or Toys R Us for a full refund. Consumers can also cut the two safety warning notices out of the slide and just return that portion. For additional information from Walmart, call (800) 925-6278 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s website at www.walmartstores.com. For additional information from Toys R Us, call (800) 869-7787 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET Monday through Saturday and between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday, or visit the firm’s website at www.toysrus.com.
Image via http://www.parents.com/product-recalls/
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