“It’s important to keep an eye on your child, even if there is a lifeguard present,” said Jennifer Wentzel, director of environmental health at Public Health – Dayton County and Montgomery.
Children should not swim alone and there should be a dedicated adult as a water watcher. It’s an adult who just watches the kids in the water, with no distractions like checking cell phones or reading.
Teaching children to swim can help reduce the risk. Adults should learn safety skills just in case, like CPR, the CDC recommends.
Make sure children wear life jackets in and around natural water bodies, such as lakes or the ocean, even if they can swim. Life jackets can also be used in and around swimming pools for weaker swimmers, advises the CDC.
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“If your kids aren’t swimmers, be in the water with them,” Wentzel said.
Larger pools should be surrounded by gates or other barriers with locks to keep children away from the water when they are not supervised. Small pools should be drained after use.
There are also germs that can spread in water, such as cryptosporidium, norovirus, and E. coli.
Swimmers are advised to rinse off before entering the water, according to Bryan Lemons, a licensed environmental health specialist for public health – Dayton & Montgomery County.
Pool chemicals are added to water to kill germs if used correctly, but when urine, sweat, dirt, and other contaminants rinse people and in the pool, the chemicals break down other things instead of killing germs. Anyone with diarrhea should stay out of the pool.
Parents are advised not to change diapers by the pool, but rather to go to one of the toilets, and they should ask small children to take frequent breaks in the bathroom.
“We don’t inadvertently have any contaminants in our water supply,” Lemons said.
People should practice good hand hygiene, washing their hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with hot running water, he said.
Lemons, speaking at the Kettering Rec Center pool ahead of Memorial Day weekend, said health workers inspect pools the public use to test water and make sure the facilities follow the rules of security.