When you’ve got a baby that you’re itching to get into the pool, you surely must face many anxieties and questions about chlorine and babies! How early is it to bring my baby into a pool? Is it safe to dunk a baby under water? However, one that always stands out is the question: is chlorine safe for babies? We all know the effects of swimming in chlorine – especially if swimming has been a big part of your life. You can’t help but wonder if the chemical riddled water that turns hair green and dries out skin is harmful to your new and vulnerable baby. There are a few things to address before making a decision.
How does chlorine work to clean swimming pools?
Chlorine is a chemical most often used to keep swimming pools free of bacteria and other dangerous things for swimmers. Chlorine kills bacteria through a chemical reaction that oxidizes the cellular structure of bacteria, making it harmless (HowStuffWorks). Pool maintenance workers and pumps ensure the balance of chlorine and pH levels in the water. This provides an optimal and enjoyable swimming experience. That sounds safe, right? And for the most part, it is completely safe for both adults and children. So then is there a reason to worry? It’s important to remember that although this process cleans and disinfects the water, it can produce annoying side effects. With long bouts of exposure, these side effects could be potentially hazardous.
What are Trihalomethanes?
Trihalomethanes and chloramines are the byproducts of the free acting chlorine binding with the dirt in the pool – or in other words the bacteria, and any other things that might be brought in on human bodies like sweat, urine, dead skin cells, and body products like lotions. These trihalomethanes float above the pool water in gaseous form and can cause irritated eyes and nasal passages. These are also the main cause of that “chlorine smell” we all recognise from an indoor pool. While you can’t avoid it completely, if the smell of chlorine in a pool is overwhelming you should try to steer clear. Big municipal pools, public pools, and other trusted locations will usually balance the water. So, this is something to watch out for when you’re visiting lesser known establishments or less frequented facilities.
Why is my skin itchy after I get out of the pool?
So what causes itchy skin and watery eyes – is it those pesky chloramines? Yes, these can cause itchy eyes, dry skin, and sneezing; another likely cause is the pH levels of the water. To facilitate a pleasant swimming experience, the pool’s pH level should match the natural pH level of our eyes and skin. The combination of the wrong pH and chlorine levels are the cause of itchy dry skin woes of swimmers everywhere.
So this brings us back to our original question – Is chlorine safe for babies?
Yes, chlorinated pool water is, in fact, safe for your baby. However, this doesn’t mean that every pool is safe. You still have to make sure your baby is old enough before he or she ventures into the pool. You also have to take some things into account. Such as, how busy the pool is, the temperature of the water, and whether the pool is indoors or outdoors. The chlorine water itself does not pose a risk for your little swimmer. Swimming in the pool will be comfortable so long as the pool is balanced. Make sure to take a soapy shower right after getting out to avoid any skin dryness. Your baby will be excited to keep coming back to the pool for more splashes and fun!