Monday, August 02, 2004

In the swim

Planning on going swimming in a public pool this summer? Here's a story you don't want to read. Just like those "you're not as clean as you think" commercials, the things that other people's children are putting into those pools may make you want to stay ashore. (And I say "other people's children" here with all due disapproval, because of course I've never put a baby in a pool in a Pamper, nooooooooooo, of course not, never happened, nope, not me.)

Of course, this news comes just as we're preparing to go on vacation next week, and the item on the top of my son's "to do" list is swim, swim, swim. Hotel pools are particularly notorious for contamination; according to a spokesman for the Florida Swimming Pool Association, "We're dealing with a population who are enjoying themselves on vacation; they're not as worried about things as they might be if they're in their own back yard." Tourists aren't used to being around pools, the spokesman said -- and certainly, if you've not been around swimming pools much, you couldn't be expected to know that you shouldn't pee in it, right? Or anything else: one health department in Kansas has had to put out an advisory stating: "Don't swim if you have diarrhea." Glad we're not going to Kansas on vacation.

It's a little worrisome to think that my kids might pick up a bug in the pool, but that's not my biggest concern. Certainly fear of sunburn is bigger, since if my daughter's face gets much redder it's going to explode. And then there's the constant nagging fear that my son, Mr. Impulsive, Mr. No Cause-and-Effect-Thinking, will splash the wrong person or steal somebody's pool toy or spit water at a stranger. He knows not to pee in the pool, but does he know not to jump in the deep end without adult supervision? Not so much.

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