Summer is quickly approaching, which means it’s almost time to cool off at the pool or water park. You may be an expert on supervising your children around bodies of water and teaching them swimming safety, but there is another danger of swimming in public pools.

Outbreaks of a parasitic infection caused by cryptosporidium (crypto for short) linked to swimming pools and water playgrounds are on the rise this year. According to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, outbreaks have doubled in the past two years, with at least 32 outbreaks in 2016.

Here are some pool safety tips to protect yourself and others from crypto and other disease-causing germs:

  • Avoid public swimming pools or water playgrounds if your child is sick. If your child has diarrhea, they should not swim or be in the pool area while they are sick, or for two weeks after their symptoms subside.
  • Take children to the bathroom often and keep your child out of public pools until they are potty trained. If you are taking a baby into the pool who is not potty trained, use a swim diaper. Change diapers away from the poolside, in the designated diaper change area.
  • Thoroughly wash hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers. Encourage your children to wash their hands as well.
  • Shower before using the pool to keep the pool water clean. Crypto bacteria can survive even in chlorinated water for up to ten days!
  • Avoid swallowing or getting water in your mouth. Teach your children the importance of not drinking the pool water or squirting it from their mouth.
  • After swimming, dry ears well with a towel, tilting each ear down to help water drip out of the ear canal. This can help prevent swimmer’s ear.
  • Wash your child with a mild soap and shampoo as soon as you get home. This is especially important for babies and small children to remove pool chemicals.

With these tips in mind, you can enjoy a worry-free time at the pool for those warm summer afternoons. For more pool safety advice, we like these guidelines. Don’t forget the sunscreen when you’re heading out!

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