Moms with toddlers would love to introduce their kids to the joys of the water. But the issue of the pool chemicals, and their possible effects on the toddler, are definitely a concern.
What does chlorine accomplish? According to CNN.Com, the use of chlorine does raise some questions. The pool can be a gathering place for germs, especially a pool used by many people. The purpose of chlorine is to inactivate disease causing germs. Without the use of chlorine, found at sites like this, swimmers can be put at risk of contracting dangerous waterborne illnesses. While chlorine eliminates contaminants like sweat, hair, makeup, sunscreen and other products, the result is called chloramines, which creates the sometimes strong odor found at the pool. This effect is greatly enhanced for an indoor pool, where the enclosed atmosphere doesn’t allow those chloramines to escape.
If the parent can smell chlorine immediately upon entering the pool area – assume it is too strong for the baby.
It is suggested by one doctor that there might be a tendency to overreact and not enjoy the benefits of the pool, or introduce the infant to the joys of water, because of the chlorine factor. Water kept clean with chlorine can allow great aerobic exercise and can provide many health benefits. Since chlorine is still a common solution for keeping pools clean, prudence in introducing an infant to pools would be in order.
Can chlorine impact a toddler negatively? As suggested by Mayoclinic.com, infants who are taken to chlorinated pools may increase their risk of lower respiratory tract infections, or contracting asthma. Since the lungs of babies are still being developed, and they tend to swallow water while they are swimming – water which contains chlorine – toddlers are thought to be particularly at risk. There isn’t sufficient evidence to conclude that healthy babies should be kept away from an indoor pool.
What do studies say? The results have been inconclusive when looking at the relationship between infant swimming, and asthma. One study has found that 6 month old infants had a greater risk of chest congestion or wheezing. But a separate study indicated almost the opposite – infants who didn’t swim before age 1 had a greater risk of contracting asthma by age six. If the mother has to use an indoor pool, make sure that the pool is well ventilated – the presence of sufficient flow for the contaminants to be released into the air – rather than compressed within a poorly ventilated pool area – will be a key in evaluating taking the infant to that pool. As well, check with the pool operators to make sure the chlorine is added in proper amounts, and tested regularly.
The presence of chlorine is typical at swimming pools, but that doesn’t necessarily mean “don’t take the baby to the pool.” Ask the doctor if the toddler has any signs that a pool would impact them negatively, stay away from pools where the chlorine smell is very strong, and then enjoy watching your baby learn the fun of being in the water.
Carol Atkins has raised her children, and now that all but one are out of the house and off to college, she can really take the time – peacefully – to write freelance for PoolCenter.com. She is getting back to being more active, and is a fledgling runner who would like to run a half marathon some day.
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