Emergency departments treat about 4,500 cases of pool chemical injuries each year – and one-third of those injuries are from children. Here’s how to keep your family safe this summer.
Kids Splashing In Pool
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As any pool owner knows, chlorine is vital for killing bacteria in home swimming pools. But the chemical can also be dangerous when mishandled – for example, if you accidentally breathe in toxic fumes from chlorine containers.

In May 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expanded upon these facts in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The report stated that about 4,535 emergency department visits stemmed from pool chemicals annually between 2018-2017. About one-third of those injuries were in children and teens.

What’s more, about 56% of all pool chemical injuries occurred in home swimming pools, as opposed to public pools. Almost two-thirds happened during “the summer swim season” between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

How to Prevent Pool Chemical Injuries

While pool chemical injuries can be serious, they’re also easily preventable. The CDC gives the following tips for keeping your family safe this summer:

  • When handing pool chemicals, follow the directions on the label.

  • Wear respirators, goggles, and other safety equipment when handling the chemicals (check the product label if you’re unsure what to wear).

  • Don’t let children, teens, or pets near pool chemicals.

  • Don’t mix pool chemicals – especially anything with chlorine and acid.

Are Your Pool Chemicals Working Properly?

Most pool chemical injuries result from improperly handling the toxic substances. However, impurities on our bodies – such as pee, poop, sweat, and dirt – can also react with chlorine, creating other chemicals that can irritate eyes, according to the CDC. Keep your chlorine in tip-top shape by keeping these bodily fluids out of the pool.

Encourage kids not to pee or poop in the water, and take them on regular bathroom breaks to prevent accidents. Also, the CDC recommends showering “for at least one minute before you get into the water” to remove excess dirt.