While U.S. public health officials say there are no reports of COVID-19 spreading to people through water in swimming pools, water playgrounds, or other properly treated aquatic sites, the water safety should remain a priority for parents as summer begins and more community pools and beaches begin to receive near-normal crowds again.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published guidelines for public pools, hot tubs and water play areas during COVID-19 as the re-openings of aquatic sites expand.
Of more than 3,500 annual accidental drownings (not related to boating) in the United States, about one in five are children 14 and under, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) . “For every child who drowns, five more receive emergency room care for non-fatal submersion injuries,” the CDC says.
Parents should consult their pediatrician or primary care physician regarding water safety concerns.
“Prevention and surveillance”
“Water safety begins with prevention and supervision,” says Javier A. Hiriart, MD, pediatrician and internal medicine physician at Baptist Health Primary Care, Family Medicine Center at West Kendall Baptist Hospital. important preventive measure. Some have also installed door chimes / sensors that go off when a door is opened in order to alert that someone is out. These steps are a good start, but are not enough.
Dr Hiriart adds that prevention includes teaching our children to swim. “And, even for infants and toddlers, water safety and survival lessons or swimming lessons are vitally important,” he adds.
“Parents should also teach their children that they shouldn’t go in the water without proper adult supervision. Children should always be supervised by a responsible adult when playing in and around bodies of water. Plus, even for kids who are good swimmers, teaching them to play safely in and around water can help prevent dips and other injuries. This could include avoiding violent play and not diving in shallow areas.
A related topic, he adds, is sun protection, which involves making sure children use sunscreen before and during water to help prevent sunburn and skin damage.
Swimming pool water safety issues
The CDC has said COVID-19 does not appear to be transmissible through pool water – but bacterial infections can occur. What precautions should parents take at home or in community swimming pools to avoid health problems that can be related to poor chemical maintenance?
“Making sure the water in your home swimming pool is chemically balanced and clean is a good start,” says Dr Hiriart. “However, in the event that you are swimming in a community pool, you will not have this control. You can always ask to see a pool maintenance log if you are very worried.
Teaching children not to drink pool water, use earplugs, and use eye protection (such as goggles) can also help “reduce exposure and the effects of a water.” poorly maintained, ”he adds.
According to Dr. Hiriart, here are the most common water-related health issues you see in children during the summer months:
- Ear infections, especially otitis externa (damage to the ear canal)
- Sun burn
- Occasional jellyfish bites or sea lice dermatitis
- Eczema outbreaks if the skin is too dry or due to pool chemicals