When temperatures rise, pools can be great places to help keep cool. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy by following some of these important tips.
Prevent Waterborn Illness
Last year, central Ohio encountered the largest outbreak of cryptosporidium in our state with more than 1,000 cases. To keep our community safe, there are steps we call can take to keep from getting sick from swimming:
- Don’t swim when you have diarrhea. You can spread germs in the water and make other people sick.
- Don’t swallow pool water and avoid getting it in your mouth.
- Shower before swimming and wash your hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers. Germs on your body can end up in the water.
- Make sure kids take frequent bathroom breaks or change diapers often. Waiting to hear your child say “I have to go” may mean it’s too late.
- Change diapers in a bathroom and not at poolside. Germs can spread to surfaces and objects in and around the pool.
- Wash your hands carefully with soap and water before eating and swimming. Invisible amounts of fecal matter can end up in the pool.
Drownings are the leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 4, and three children die every day as a result of drowning. Thankfully, parents and other adults can help play a key role in protecting children.
- Make life jackets a “must.” Make sure kids wear life jackets in and around natural bodies of water, such as lakes or the ocean, even if they know how to swim.
- Learn CPR. Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and get re-certified every two years.
- Supervise young children at all times around swimming pools and natural bodies of water. Rivers, lakes and streams can be a danger, especially with higher than normal water levels.
- Adults watching kids near water should avoid distracting activities like playing cards, reading books or talking on the phone.
Fencing and Gates
Install a four-sided isolation fence, with self-closing and self-latching gates, around backyard swimming pools. This can help keep children away from the area when a parent cannot supervise them. Pool fences should completely separate the house and play area from the pool.
You must have a fence…
- If your pool is 30 inches or more deep.
- That is at least 48 inches high, with slats no more than 4 inches apart.
- With no diamond-shaped openings larger than 1 3/4 inches.
- With at least 11 gauge wire (if fence is chain-link)
- That is built so that a 4 inch ball cannot pass through at any point in the fence
The entrance gate latch must:
- Be a self-closing catch or spring latching type lock
- Have a lock that needs a key or combination to open
- Be locked whenever pool is not in use
Your pool water must be of “safe and sanitary quality” according to Columbus City Health. Proper chlorine and pH levels can help stop the spread of germs in your pool. Be sure to check these often.
- Chlorine – 1.0-3.0 ppm (parts per million)
- pH – 7.2-7.8
Special thanks to Columbus Public health for this informative guest post and look forward to another great installment next month!