Having a backyard pool can be a fun way for you and your family to be active at home or just relax.
However, it is important to know what to do to reduce the risk of injury or illness. By keeping your backyard pool safe and healthy you will maximize all the health benefits that swimming can bring.
Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death in young children 1 to 4 years old, but there are things you can do to prevent drowning from happening in your pool.
Make sure everyone has basic swim skills and water safety awareness. Use U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets as directed. Provide continuous and close supervision to swimmers. Know how to recognize and respond to a swimmer in distress and how to perform CPR. Prevent access to the water with fences and or alarms when the pool is not in use.
Pool chemicals, like chlorine, are needed to protect swimmer’s health. However, mishandling pool chemicals can cause serious injuries.
Pool chemical injuries lead to about 4,500 U.S. emergency department visits each year, and over one-third are preventable injuries in children or teens. Read and follow all direction on the product labels. Keep chemicals secure and away from children and pets.
Water disinfections with chlorine or bromine can kill most germs in the water within minutes. As a backyard pool owner, you should check the disinfectant (chlorine or bromine) level and pH at least twice per day and more often when the pool is in heavy use to make sure they are correct.
If pH is too high or too low, it can cause problems, including decreasing chlorine’s or bromine’s ability to kill germs. It can also cause skin and eye irritation in swimmers and damage pool pipes and other equipment.
While enjoying your pool with your loved ones, it’s important to make sure not to swim or let others swim if sick with diarrhea. Just one diarrheal incident in the water can release millions of diarrhea-causing germs like Crypotosporidium, Giarida, Shigella, norovirus, and E. coli. These germs can make other swimmers sick if they swallow just a mouthful of contaminated water.
Although most germs are killed within minutes by chlorine or bromine at the recommended levels, Crypotosporidium is a germ that can survive in properly treated water for more than seven days.
Have a great pool season and stay healthy!
Also note: The Clinton County Health District is now providing immunizations by appointment only. If you or your child need immunized please call 937-382-3829 to make an appointment.
Pam Daniel is Health Educator for the Clinton County Health District.