Tips for Making Sure a Public Swimming Pool Is Clean Enough for Your Kid

toddler swimming pool germs
Flickr photo by peasap
Before you take your tot to the local public pool, you might want to make sure it's clean. In a new report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed data from more than 121,000 routine pool inspections in 13 states, and found that more than 12 percent had violations so serious the pools closed immediately.

Particularly alarming for moms of toddlers: Pools in child-care settings had the highest percentage of inspections that resulted in immediate closures, and kiddie/wading pools and interactive fountains had the highest percentage of disinfectant violations.

How can you make sure a pool is clean enough for your child to swim in? The CDC offers this advice.


Ask the pool operator these questions:

  • Are the free chlorine and pH levels checked at least two times a day (and more often when the pool is heavily used)?
  • What is the latest pool inspection score?

Make sure your child doesn't swallow pool water:

  • Also try to prevent him from getting water in his mouth.

Check the pool water yourself:

  • You can order free pool test strips at Healthy Pools.
  • The CDC recommends these quality ranges: Free chlorine level 1–3 parts per million; pH 7.2–7.8.

Do your part to keep the pool clean:

  • Take your child on bathroom breaks or check diapers often.
  • Don't change diapers poolside, use a bathroom -- germs can spread in and around the pool.
  • Wash your child thoroughly with soap and water before swimming. Invisible amounts of fecal matter can end up in the pool.
  • Don't swim when you have diarrhea. You can spread germs in the water and make other people sick.
  • Shower with soap before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers.

For more tips on safe swimming, visit the CDC's Healthy Swimming site.

Do you take your toddler swimming in a public pool?

Read More >