Healthy Water Fun

The summer swimming season is here and soon our kids will be enjoying the sun in pools, water parks, hot tubs, recreational fountains and lakes. But, swimming along with our kids in these public water areas are invisible guests—germs. Listen up as Truestar gives you tips to protect your children from waterborne disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common waterborne infections reported cause diarrhea. Water gets contaminated when human or animal feces get into the water and release germs. Swallowing even small amounts of this contaminated water can make us sick. Chlorine is used in pools as a disinfectant, but unfortunately it does not kill all germs. Chlorine is most effective when kept at proper levels; in hot tubs, the high temperature of the water may cause the chlorine to evaporate more quickly than usual, increasing the chance for waterborne disease.

Follow these tips to protect your kids from getting sick while swimming:

Keep germs out of the water. If your child has diarrhea, they should stay out of the water. Even small amounts of fecal matter can move off the person and contaminate the water.

Do not swallow swimming water. Swimming in public water areas is like taking a communal bath.

Wash your child thoroughly, particularly his or her bottom, before allowing them in the water.

Wash your child's bottom and your hands thoroughly with soap and water after changing diapers. Also, wash your hands thoroughly after going to the bathroom. Germs on the hands can end up in the water very easily.

Change your child's diapers often. Make sure older kids take frequent trips to the bathroom.

Do not count on swim diapers or swim pants to keep fecal matter from leaking into the water—they are not leak proof. Take your child to the bathroom often.

Let the lifeguard know if you see fecal matter in the pool. Also, notify them if you see people changing diapers on tables, chairs or other areas where the water or eating areas could get contaminated.

Don't let your kids sit on or over fountain jets as this can increase the risk of water contamination.

Keep an eye on your child at all times when they are in the water.

Protect your child from the sun. Use a PABA-free sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and reapply after swimming.

Your child should not chew gum or eat food while in the water.

Happy, healthy swimming!

For more information on raising healthy kids, see the Truestar nutrition, exercise, vitamin, sleep and attitude plans for kids.