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Should my child go swimming?

Published on October 21, 2015 at 14:42 / Updated on March 3, 2020 at 15:05

The arrival of summer vacation and summer weather announces the opening of public pools and beaches. While most children can go swimming without reservation, under certain circumstances, it is preferable some children did not. Here are answers to a few questions you may have in mind.

1) Your baby or toddler is still in diapers. There are diapers specially made for swimming. These diapers are water-repellent and fit snugly at the thigh and waist. However, because they are not water-resistant, if your child defecates while he or she is in the pool, fecal matters could escape from the diaper and contaminate the water. When this happens, the pool must be temporarily closed so the water can be treated with bacteria-killing chlorine. To avoid endangering the health of other swimmers, young children who are still in diapers should not swim in public pools. Rather, you could take them to water games often found in public parks where they can splash around and cool themselves without being submerged in water. 

2) Your child has a cast. Regular plaster casts cannot be submerged, and we should not attempt to cover them just so a child can go in the water. A leak could damage the cast, which would then have to be removed and replaced. On the other hand, casts made with fibreglass can safely be submerged in water. However, you should check with your child’s physician just to be safe. 

3) Your child has ear tubes. Physicians are divided on this subject. While some believe swimming with ear tubes is not problematic, others recommend it not be attempted. In reality, swimming is not likely to be a problem if moulded earplugs are worn, with or without a swim cap covering the ears. Children who have ear tubes should never submerge their head under water, nor should they dive. 

4) Your child has a tendency to get ear infections or swimmer’s ear. While swimming, your child should wear earplugs with or without a swim cap. Swimmer’s ear can be prevented by pouring a 1 teaspoon mixture of equal part rubbing alcohol and white vinegar into your child’s ears before and after swimming. You should let the solution roll in and then drain out. This is only a preventative measure. It must not be used to treat pre-existing swimmer’s ear, nor should it be used for children who have ear tubes. 

5) Your child is sick or has cuts and scrapes. Children who have colds or benign illnesses can usually swim without exacerbating their condition, but only if they feel well enough to do so. In addition, it is not dangerous for a child who has superficial cuts and scrapes to go swimming, as long as the wounds are not bleeding.

Swimming is a popular summer activity, but it is not without danger. Parents must be extra-vigilant when children are playing around water. Accidents happen so quickly…

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