Parents not instructing kids to shower before swimming: survey

June 21, 2011

Ann Arbor, MI – Although showering before swimming is one of the best ways to reduce the spread of infection in the water, a recent poll suggests few parents are instructing their children to do so.

A survey released May 20 by the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital found that only 26 percent of parents believe it is important for children to shower prior to entering the water.

“Few [parents] have their kids take the necessary preventive steps to keep everyone healthy,” said poll director Matthew Davis, M.D. “Showering is a simple and effective way to reduce the spread of germs.”

The hospital recommends parents take the following steps to prevent the spread of illness in the water:

  • Wash thoroughly with soap and water before swimming. Take particular care with the diaper area on young children.
  • Take children on bathroom breaks and check diapers often.
  • Remind children not to swallow water and to avoid getting water in their mouths.
  • Do not allow children to swim when sick with diarrhea.

Each year more than 10,000 Americans become ill from infections contracted in the water.