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Thread: How much is too much water for a kid to drink from pool

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    Prav's Avatar
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    How much is too much water for a kid to drink from pool

    Seen discussion about dogs and borates, but have not really seen much about children. My 2-year-old loves splashing around the spa - and, for whatever reason, loves to drink water out of the pool. This is not just accidental swallowing: this is outright sitting with just eyes and nose peeking out of the water and lapping it up. So, other than the obvious (you drink a lot of water, you're going to have really heavy diapers at some point), are there any other adverse effects? I'm trying to get him to understand, but I'm sure it will take some time. In the meantime, how much is too much?
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    Re: How much is too much water for a kid to drink from pool

    As detailed in this thread, the No Observed Adverse Effect Limit (NOAEL) for dogs was 8.8 mg/kg/day. The EPA uses a factor of 100 Margin of Exposure (MOE) to be extra safe for humans (since no one tested toxicity or other effects directly on humans). As I note in that post, an infant weighing 8 kg (17.6 pounds) would need to drink 14 ml (about 1 tablespoon) of 50 ppm borate water to be at the EPA limit (for one day). Without the MOE, the limit would be 1.5 quarts (per day). So to play it safe, it would be best not to have anyone drink pool/spa water in larger gulping quantities, but especially not young children. The risk is low, but why take a chance?

    As for other chemicals in the water, that's a different story. Pool and spa water is not drinking water. The chlorine levels are not a problem as the EPA limit of 4 ppm FC for drinking water is with regards to drinking 2 quarts every day. The bigger issue would be with all of the disinfection by-products in the water as well as the salt levels. It's not an extreme hazard -- more like an increased statistical long-term risk for cancer -- but again, why take that chance? Just don't have children in the water if they can't help themselves from regularly swallowing larger quantities of water. Once in a while isn't going to be a big risk, but if they do it regularly then that obviously increases the risk though it is still low. It's just that even an increased risk of 1 in 100,000 to 1 in 1,000,000 (the kinds of increased cancer risks associated with typical disinfection by-product levels in pools/spas if ingested in drinking water quantities on a daily basis) doesn't sound as good if it's your child that's the "1". There are many such risks in life so you need to balance the pros/cons accordingly.
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    Prav's Avatar
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    Re: How much is too much water for a kid to drink from pool

    So for 35 pounds, all of your above figures regarding borates would be x2.

    Disinfection by-products are hopefully minimal because (a) I do replenish CL after swim, so it's "clean" the next day and (b) he does get out when he needs to go (hopefully a good sign when we go potty train) (well, guess that I need the extra parenthesis to explain how i know that he does that... or maybe I don't need it!). So, in someone else's pool I'd certainly be more worried even with 1 tsp just from the "ewww" factor. In mine, I'll go with "keep your mouth shut, boy!".




    So, maybe the next thread is: short of duct-taping his mouth shut, how do I get him to stop?
    14'x30' (est. 14K gal) w/spillover spa (est. 500 gal) - 1995 // Diamond Brite Blue Quartz - 2006
    Hayward SwimPure Plus T-15 - 2013 // Zodiac MX-8 - 2013
    Plain ol' Intermatic mechanical timer // Pump: 1 HP Pentair SuperFlo - 2012
    Filter: Hayward C17502(S) Cartridge Filter - 2011 // Heat Pump: Sunrunner/Aquapro 1300 (127K BTU) - 2011

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    Re: How much is too much water for a kid to drink from pool

    Quote Originally Posted by Prav
    So for 35 pounds, all of your above figures regarding borates would be x2.

    Disinfection by-products are hopefully minimal because (a) I do replenish CL after swim, so it's "clean" the next day and (b) he does get out when he needs to go (hopefully a good sign when we go potty train) (well, guess that I need the extra parenthesis to explain how i know that he does that... or maybe I don't need it!). So, in someone else's pool I'd certainly be more worried even with 1 tsp just from the "ewww" factor. In mine, I'll go with "keep your mouth shut, boy!".




    So, maybe the next thread is: short of duct-taping his mouth shut, how do I get him to stop?
    Maybe when you see him doing it, make him get out of the pool. Start with a short amount of time say 5 minutes and increase it each time you have to take him out. So each time you see it add one minute to the time.
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    Re: How much is too much water for a kid to drink from pool

    My own personal and painful experience taught me drinking pool water was a very, very bad idea! I took swimming lessons in an indoor pool at the tender age of 6 (which at my current age dates this before the dawn of time). I was a terrible student and did not get past learning how to float with my face in the water. One day the instructor decided I would only practice putting my face in the water while holding my breath while the rest of the class did the other fun stuff for an hour. I tended to gasp under water which led to me swallowing quite a bit of it.

    At the end of the lesson I was not feeling well. An hour after the lesson I was having sever stomach cramps and could not straighten out of the fetal position I had curled into. The rest of my day is an unpleasant blur of having various noxious concoctions administered at both ends in an attempt to purge me of whatever "poison" I had consumed.

    Not only did that end my swimming lessons for the year, it taught me never to swallow pool water!

    Gently instruct your child not to swallow the pool water. It is not a healthy practice. If they continue, remove them from the water. Tell them it is not for drinking. Give them a drink if they need one, but tell them drinking from the pool is not allowed, and they cannot play in the pool if they don't follow the rules. Be consistent and do what you say you are going to do. They will learn.
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    Re: How much is too much water for a kid to drink from pool

    Quote Originally Posted by Prav
    So, maybe the next thread is: short of duct-taping his mouth shut, how do I get him to stop?
    Give him something to drink before he goes swimming so that he's not so thirsty. And, avoid salty foods before swimming.

    If you think that his thirst is excessive or unusual, he might need to see a doctor to determine if there could be an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes.

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    Re: How much is too much water for a kid to drink from pool

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW
    Give him something to drink before he goes swimming so that he's not so thirsty.
    It's a delicate balance to give him enough water so that he is not thirsty, but not so much that he feels he needs to pee in the pool.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
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    Re: How much is too much water for a kid to drink from pool

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW
    Give him something to drink before he goes swimming so that he's not so thirsty.
    It's a delicate balance to give him enough water so that he is not thirsty, but not so much that he feels he needs to pee in the pool.
    Good point, but if he's already drinking the pool water anyway, it's going to resulting the same level of need to pee. Perhaps regular bathroom breaks to help avoid pee in the pool.

    Prav, when you see him drinking the water, ask him why he is drinking the water. He will probably say one of the following:

    1) I'm thirsty.
    2) It's fun.
    3) The water tastes good.

    If he says that he his thirsty, then get him something to drink. If he says that it's fun, then give him something else to do. Use a toy or a game to redirect his attention. If he says that the water tastes good, ask him what it tastes like, and get him that to drink.

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