Wash Your Kids (And Yourself) Before Playing in Water

BY  |  Wednesday, Jun 29, 2011 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (3)

My youngest, who just turned 4, had her family birthday party last weekend at Grandma’s pool. That morning, when I told her it was time for a bath, she tried to get out of it by telling me that she didn’t need one because she was going swimming. “The pool will clean me,” she tried to argue. I had to explain that a pool is not a bath, and that goes for before and after you swim.

However, a recent national poll conducted by the C.S.Mott Children’s Hospital, has found that most parents don’t bathe their kids before playing in water–water parks specifically. The study found that many more parents think it’s important to warn kids not to swallow the water because of germs and chlorine, than to bathe or shower beforehand.

It may seem silly to wash before getting in water, but it’s not. The germs people, and especially kids in diapers, carry on their bodies can cause RWI, or Recreational Water Illnesses, such as cryptosporidiosis. You catch a RWI by breathing in, swallowing, or coming in contact with contaminated water. If you get infected with a RWI, you’ll be vomiting, have diarrhea, have strong cramps and possibly a fever for days. Kind of kills the fun water park experience.

Chlorine will kill most germs that cause RWIs, but the germ that causes cryptosporidiosis can live for days even in properly disinfected water. So in order to limit the amount of those nasty germs, people should bathe before going swimming or in any public water.

Fess up parents:

(Photo: Flickr)




  1. POSTED BY jessepstein  |  June 29, 2011 @ 10:27 am

    I am sure this is a good idea, but in reality very few people take showers before they go in the pool or in a water park — my family included!

    Growing up, we went to some pool club that I remember was VERY strict about it, and you had to go through a “shower room” from the dressing room to get to the pool area, and the water was warm so it was ok.

    Most places just have these cold water showers to use to rinse. Try it with a few kids and let me know how that goes…

    Growing up, Gen-X did not: wear helmets, wear seatbelts, use hand sanitizer, or worry about things like bacteria in pools.

    We did: ride around till sunset on bikes without cell phones and our parents knowing exactly where we were, drank sugary Kool-aid, got spanked at school (well, not me, because I behaved – but the principal in Central IL gave “swats”) and often at home, we drank from hoses and played on metal swingsets (most not cemented down!). We played dodgeball with all our hearts, and Red Rover (ouch!).

    We lived to tell the tale and enjoyed being kids. Can’t let a few bacteria ruin your day..

  2. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  June 29, 2011 @ 4:35 pm

    jessepstein speaks truth!!!!

  3. POSTED BY hollykorus  |  June 29, 2011 @ 11:06 pm

    I had a yard full of kids the other day out of the blue. One of the kids said they were thirsty. I told them to go drink out of the hose. The mother looked horrified.

    I told her not to worry as I had hooked up a Brita filter to my hose. She believed me.

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