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Sanitary Swimming
What you must know about swim diapers and more
by Stacy Jones Tolentino

You may think that your family is protected from contracting waterborne diseases in a swimming pool because of the chlorine, but don't be so sure! The truth is, chlorine does keep many germs in pools to a minimum, but that's only when the levels are where they should be and you have no way of knowing that unless you're the one testing the water in the pool prior to every swim. And even when the chlorine levels are correct, some waterborne diseases may still thrive. Public beaches, lakes, and rivers are even riskier when it comes to contaminants because they don't have chlorine in them. (Have you ever visited a beach with a sign posted that read: STAY OUT OF WATER! BACTERIAL LEVELS TOO HIGH!) Yuck!

Three Jeers for Disposable Swim Diapers!

Disposable diapers may be more popular than cloth in most instances, but this is definitely not the case when it comes to swimming pools. Disposable swim diapers are inferior to cloth at most private swimming pools and are almost always banned from being used. Some counties even ban disposable swim diapers from being used at public beaches and lakes. Why? For one, they can soak up too much water and weigh down your child, which is hazardous. Second, the gel beads can wreck havoc on the pool's filtering system. And third, they're one of the main contributors to waterborne diseases, like E. Coli, which can be spread by fecal matter that easily leaks out of disposable diapers and into the water. (Did you know that most pools have to shut down for up to 24 hours after fecal matter has been discovered in the pool in order to disinfect and re-sanitize the water?)

10 Sanitary Swimming Rules

Let's face it; a lot of clowning around goes on in the water. It's part of the fun of swimming (and learning to swim) but it's no fun at all when you gulp down a mouthful of swimming pool water. You gag. You wince. And you try to spit most of it out. Why? Because it's gross! You and I both know what might be (and probably is) in there! You don't want to swallow it and you don't want your babies swallowing it either. So just what can you do to keep the water as clean and sanitary as possible and to keep your family members as germ free as possible? Just follow these 10 sanitary swimming rules:

  1. ALWAYS shower before you enter a pool or public beach water. If little ones will be joining you, they should shower too!

  2. NEVER let your children go in the water if they are having stomachaches and pains, or diarrhea.

  3. NEVER use disposable diapers in the water.

  4. Tell your children NEVER to urinate in the pool.

  5. ALWAYS take little ones on frequent trips to the potty to avoid accidents in the pool. If your little one is in diapers, make frequent diaper changes or keep swimming pool time very brief.

  6. ALWAYS wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after a trip to the bathroom.

  7. If your little one is not potty trained, ALWAYS use cloth swim diapers on her in the water.

  8. NEVER change diapers near the pool because all areas near and around the pool need to be as sanitary as possible to prevent contaminants from entering the water.

  9. NEVER wear street shoes near the pool for the same reason stated above.

  10. You and your children should ALWAYS shower after you get out of the water. This will remove germs and chlorine from your skin and hair.

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Remember, swimming is a hazard if the water is contaminated. So be sure to do your part to keep the water clean. Diapering your little ones in cloth swim diapers is one very important part of keeping the pool germ free. Cloth swim diapers are lightweight and free of gel beads. This keeps your child from being weighed down and keeps the pool's filter system in good order. Other benefits of cloth swim diapers are the gusseted legs, mesh lining, and snug fit that most of them have. All of these features help keep fecal matter contained in the event that your child does have a bowel movement in the water. (The pool staff will still need to be notified of the accident so they can evacuate and clean the pool, but things won't be as messy.) You can purchase cloth swim diapers from many swimming schools and from most cloth diaper businesses.

Copyright 2002 Stacy Jones Tolentino/ Homefront Publishing
This article may not be copied, reproduced, republished, abstracted, posted, transmitted, or otherwise, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of Homefront Publishing. Single copies may be made for your personal, non-commercial use provided this copyright notice remains intact. For permissions send an email to readabook@aol.com.

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