Beware of Swim Diaper Clad Babies in the Pool

August 2, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Posted in Summertime | 1 Comment
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My pool and spa business serviced an account that taught babies how to swim.  But try as we might, the water in his above ground swimming pool was a nightmare.  Why?  Here’s the math:

10 Babies in 10 Swim Diapers = A Sanitary Nightmare

Oh yeah, the owner, a retired hippy (so am I, so that’s okay)  requested minimal amounts of chlorine to treat this baby-diaper bacteria fest.

Yes, swim diapers help slow down the release of disease-causing germs, but only for a short time.  In fact, the common cause of a recreational water illness (RWI) is cryptosporidium (crypto). You don’t want it visiting your innards, especially if you are a little kid, or pregnant, or have a weakened immune system.

Crypto is the single largest threat to pool users.  Where does it come from? D-I-A-R-R-H-E-A.   (Just another reason why you will never catch me in a public swimming pool—even if climate change gives summer  3 months of 3-digit heat.)

One would hope that if one is suffering from such a poopy circumstance, that one would have the common sense to stay out of a swimming pool.  One would hope.  Babies, on the other hand, are just kind of a runny mess anyway, if you get my drift.

Here’s the dope:  Researchers measured the amount of microsphere that released from swim diapers worn by children.  The microspheres were plastic particles that have a similar size 9five microns) to that of crypto.  Normal swim trunks, common disposable diapers and reusable diapers with and without vinyl diaper covers were tested.  Swimming trunks without a swim diaper of any kind had the poorest performance; almost 90% of the microspheres were released into the water within one minute. YUCKY.

Swim diapers released at least 50% of the microspheres within one minute. Placement of a vinyl diaper cover over a disposable swim diaper slightly improved performance.  But, in all cases, 25% or more of the microspheres were detected in the water within two minutes.

Here’s the kicker:  “When a fecal accident contains about a billion disease-causing crypto oocysts, hundreds of millions of oocysts get into the water within minutes.  The retention of diarrhea in swim diapers is very short-lived.  Swimmers only need to ingest about 10 crypto oocysts to become infected,” said Dr. James Amburgey, one of the researchers from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

BTW, crypto can’t be seen by the naked eye and it’s “highly” resistant to chlorine.

(Thanks to a back issue of The IPSSAN for this story.)

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  1. Wow, as a pool owner for more than 20 years, I am stunned with this information. I look back on all the kids and diapers in the pool, and to think I never even thought of this risk! So what’s the answer? To never let the grandkids swim? I wish you’d do a follow up article with more info. Very informative article.

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