June 19, 2006
Media Release

Owning a swimming pool can pose a serious health risk

NEWMARKET – The warmer weather is here and many pool owners are eager to open and start enjoying their backyard pool for another year. Although private pools are a wonderful source of activity and enjoyment, they can be dangerous.  In addition to injury and drowning concerns, personal pools that are not properly maintained pose a serious risk for disease transmission, including e-coli, impetigo and other parasites. Below is a list of safety tips to keep in mind:
• Use a proper pool kit to test the chemical levels in your pool water.  Proper pool test kits permit you to test the levels for, pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and chlorine/bromine.  These tests, especially for pH and chlorine/bromine levels, should be performed several times throughout the day.
• Maintain proper levels of disinfectant in the pool.  Disinfectant helps prevent the spread of communicable diseases and reduces algae growth.  If using a chlorine based disinfectant, the concentration should be maintained at 1 parts-per-million (ppm).  If using bromine,  the concentration levels should be kept at 2 ppm
• Do not use small toys in the pool. They may be taken in by the recirculation system and cause severe damage to the system
• Maintain the pool’s filtration system. Proper maintenance of the pool’s filter is imperative to achieve safe water quality
• Store chemicals safely out of the reach of children and always follow the manufacture’s directions regarding use and storage of pool chemicals
• Do not remove the identification labels from the chemical containers
• Never swim in a cloudy pool or a pool where the water has turned green from algae growth
General pool safety tips for parents and guardians
• Parents and guardians must actively supervise children in and around the pool area
• Establish and communicate safety rules for your pool and surrounding area.  These rules can include no running, no pushing and no diving in the shallow end
• Adults and children should never swim alone
• Learn to swim and enrol your children in swimming classes. Remember that lessons or floatation devices are not a substitute for active supervision
• To prevent falling into the pool, keep toys and other obstacles off the pool deck
• Never combine drinking alcohol and swimming. Drowning, especially in teenagers, has been associated with alcohol
• Ensure equipment, such as a telephone, ring buoys, reaching pole and a first aid kit are close to the pool
• Install a fence around your pool to guard against the entry of small children and pets.  The perimeter fencing should be equipped with a self-closing and self-latching gate
• Remove the access ladder to above ground pools when it is not in use
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, York Region Health Services
 Phone:  (905) 830-4444 ext. 4016 or after-hours pager (905) 830-3302
 Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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