Summer is here, and with it the pool season. Like every year, new doubts arise about the handling of the boys in the water. Common questions that keep getting asked: Is it okay for a diapered baby to go in the sink? Is it possible to go into the water with a cast? How do the bacteria in the water affect the little ones?
For Dr. Jay L. Hoecker, a specialist in pediatrics emeritus at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota , there are many factors to consider, especially when it comes to very young children. Although swim diapers repel water and gently fit a child's thighs and waist, they are not waterproof. If the little ones get to dirty diapers, it could contaminate the water in the sink or other bathing places.
Although urine in the water is less dangerous than fecal matter, it is difficult to separate the two when the child is in diapers. That is why the specialist recommends that if the baby uses diapers in the water, they should take short breaks to change them in the bathroom or to use the toilet. And he clarifies as a fundamental fact that the child should never be allowed to enter the pool if he has diarrhea.
Swallowing water in the pool is something that always happens , especially when children are learning to swim. For Dr. Hoecker swallowing a little water in the pool is not usually a cause for concern, but swallowing a lot of water can cause illness. It is essential to teach children to spit out water that enters their mouth.
In relation to plaster and water, he explained that he always has to do with the type of plaster. If your child is wearing a cast over a cloth wrap, they should be kept out of the water. Trying to protect the cast with plastic bags usually doesn't work.
On the other hand, if he has a fiberglass splint that is lined with a water-repellent coating, swimming is generally okay, as long as the doctor has cleared it. “After swimming, it is important to thoroughly rinse the inside of the splint with clean water. In general, the splint can be allowed to dry from contact with the air,” he clarified.
A child with ear tubes (small cylinders placed in the eardrum to drain fluid and allow air to enter the middle ear) should talk to their doctor about what hearing protection they need for swimming.
Some doctors recommend that children with ear tubes wear earplugs when swimming to prevent bacteria from entering the middle ear. However, routine use of earplugs may only be needed when children dive or swim in untreated water, such as lakes and rivers.
Children who have cuts and scrapes can swim as long as the wounds are not bleeding.
Swimmer's ear is an infection that is often treated with prescription ear drops. The specialist recommends keeping the ears dry and recommending the use of earplugs when the child swims. After swimming, she clarifies that it is important to dry the child's ears, gently cleaning the outer ear with a soft towel.
Preventive treatment at home: If the child does not have perforated eardrums, preventive ear drops can be used before and after swimming. A mixture of half white vinegar and half rubbing alcohol for topical use may help dry out ears and prevent the growth of bacteria or fungi that can cause swimmer's ear. Apply a teaspoon (about 5 milliliters) of the solution to each ear, then let the liquid run out. Similar solutions can be found over the counter at the pharmacy.
recommend avoid inserting cotton swabs into children's ears as they can push the material deeper into the ear canal, irritate or injure the thin skin inside the ear.
Red eyes are very common after long days in the pool due to exposure to chlorine. To relieve discomfort and reduce redness after swimming, it is recommended to wash them with a sterile eye solution or artificial tears. To avoid red or swollen eyes, a good option is to instill in the little one to wear protective glasses while swimming.
Many kids learn to ride a bike and swim on their own at about the same age, and it usually happens during the summer before they start kindergarten. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that swimming lessons begin at age 4 for most children.
The importance of awareness will make parents calmer and children can enjoy a day at the pool without being stressed by the concern of their parents or caregivers.
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