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Close up of pool chemicals

Pool Chemical Safety and Kids

By Julie Hoegger, DNP, CPNP, Hampton Roads Pediatrics

The same chemicals that protect us from germs and bacteria in swimming pools and hot tubs can also pose a danger if they’re not handled correctly.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows just how serious pool chemicals can be: from 2008 to 2017, more than 4,500 people sought treatment in the emergency department for pool chemical injuries. More than one-third of them were children.

The top diagnosis was poisoning from breathing in chemical fumes, vapors, or gases, often when opening chlorine containers. More than half of the injuries happened at home, and two-thirds of them happened during the summer months, so now is a good time to review these CDC safety tips.

Safety tips for pool upkeep:

  • Keep pool chemicals out of reach of children, teens, and animals.
  • Read and follow directions on pool chemical product labels.
  • Wear person protection equipment, such as respirators, goggles, and gloves, when handling pool chemicals. Check product labels for directions on what to wear.
  • Never mix different pool chemicals with each other. It is particularly dangerous to mix chlorine and acid.
  • Handle all chemicals in a well-ventilated area.
  • Open one product at a time and close the container before opening another.
  • Minimize dust, fumes, and splashes.
  • Protect stored pool chemicals from mixing together or with other substances by storing each chemical separately in a dedicated location and storing incompatible chemicals away from each other.
  • Store chemicals in original containers with the manufacturer’s label intact.

Tips for swimmers:

When urine, feces, sweat, and dirt from our bodies get into the pool water, they react with chlorine. The reaction decreases the amount of chlorine available to kill germs and creates chemicals that make eyes red and itchy. Swimmers and parents of young swimmers can help keep the mix of chemicals in the water healthy and safe by taking these steps:

  • Shower for at least one minute before you get into the water. This will remove most of the dirt or anything else on your body.
  • Never go to the bathroom in the water.
  • Take kids on bathroom breaks, and check diapers every hour. Change diapers in a bathroom or diaper changing area.

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About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.