Why a Healthy Pool is Important to me

by Hilary Riedemann

Ok, this could get gross, but stick with me! As a new Mom I am constantly bombarded with “do this”, “do that”, “use this product”, “buy this toy” sales pitches to the point that I’m starting to wonder which end of the baby is up.  And I have to admit, here and there I sometimes fall victim to the sexy ads, alarming wording and overall “must have” nature that surrounds parenthood. For the most part, I can pick and choose the advice and items which I feel fit best with my style of parenting, but when it comes to Baby R’s health, I want to know what’s flash and what’s actually important.

As a newborn she’s susceptible to more problems in her environment than older kids, and it’s my job to keep her safe. With summer coming up, it’s going to be a sun-protection adventure full of sunscreen, hats, bathing suits and that ever-so-wonderful afternoon by the pool.

As little as she is, she certainly won’t be lounging in the sun for long, but I do want to be sure to take her in the water. Not just to cool her off, but to get her used to the water, so that it’s familiar when it comes time for her to take swimming lessons.  And so she can have some fun splashing around!

And, as cute as she’ll be in her little bathing suit (I’m her mother, I’m biased!) it would not be cute for her to have an “explosion” and contaminate the water. Which means, not only will she wear a swim diaper, but I will also change her away from the pool area, and make sure both of us take care to wash up properly afterwards. The last thing I would want to do would be to put another person at risk just because Baby R was in the water!

I also don’t want to risk her breathing or getting used to that “chlorine smell”, which isn’t even chlorine at all. It’s CHLORAMINES – by-products of the interaction between chlorine and body oil, pee and/or bacteria. A truly clean pool – meaning the chemicals are balanced and it’s routinely vacuumed – doesn’t smell – at all. Controlling the chlorine level and the pH of a pool means it’s properly disinfected to kill germs, it doesn’t smell, there’s no grimy feel to the sides, the water doesn’t bother your skin or eyes and, is, overall – a healthy pool.

So not only can I protect my daughter from the sun, this summer, I can also protect her from unhealthy pools – just by doing what Moms do – being proactive. I can take my test strips (they’re free – order them here!) and test the water to be sure it’s safe for her to “swim” in. If the chemicals aren’t balanced properly, I can inform the lifeguard (or other pool caretaker) and I’ll know that I probably shouldn’t take her in the water.

I’m my daughter’s first line of defense against the world, and I want to her to be safe in the water — and FROM the water.

Hilary Riedemann is the mother of 4 month old “Baby R” and a Project Manager
New Media Strategies. You can find her on Twitter.