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Children's Health

BM in tub/worried about pool

04/15/2009

Question:

My recently adopted 17 month old frequently has a BM in the bathtub. I don`t treat that as a big deal. Honestly I`d rather scoop a little poop from the tub than clean up vomit from all over the car; as a Mom of four I`ve seen far worse than a little tub poop. She does not seem to be on any regular bowel schedule. She tends to go twice a day, but not always, and not on any predictable timing like after breakfast, after lunch, etc. I do try to wait at least an hour after she eats to bathe her, but it still sometimes happens. I know it is only the end of March, but summer IS approaching. She has older siblings, so NOT going to the public pool this summer is NOT an option. First off, am I correct in assuming that if she is wearing a swim diaper and has a BM, then it IS still a "pool clearing" event? Second off, is there any way to work on getting her to NOT go in the water? I don`t want to become the scourge of the public pool. And we can`t simply avoid the pool this summer due to siblings.

Answer:

Thank you for your question regarding pool safety regarding illnesses.  Water borne illnesses are of concern these days and many pools are experiencing high rates of infections with things such as  Crypto (short for  Cryptosporidium), Giardia, Shigella, norovirus and E. coli O157:H7.  To avoid these illnesses we should be aware that children should be taken to the bathroom frequently and diapers should be checked regularly for bowel movements.  If a child is not having diarrhea they may swim even though they may have a bowel movement in a diaper.  If the bowel movement is contained within the diaper there is less concern about germs spreading to the other swimmer and pool water in general.  All diapers should be changed in a bathroom and not at the pool side.  If there is stool leakage in the pool it is imperative that pool staff be notified so that proper care and cleaning can occur.  Your child can go swimming this summer with swim diaper, plastic pants, vigilance on your part and avoid the pool if any illness especially diarrhea.

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Response by:

Allison A Macerollo, MD Allison A Macerollo, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University