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Tips to Prevent Toddlers from Swallowing Pool Water

If you swim with your toddler, you must know how to stop a toddler from drinking pool water.

Actually, drinking swimming pool water is not just a toddler thing. When you are learning how to swim, you too will take some mouthfuls.

In another article, we asked: does water get inside you when you swim? In this article, we shall find out how you can stop a kid from swallowing too much water.

If you can, please do not let your children drink swimming pool water. It is not safe since it contains chemicals. Also, if it is a public swimming pool, it could have collected bacteria from other users.

Can a child get sick from swallowing pool water?

Image of child swallowed pool water and threw up

This is the first question that concerned parents ask when they are teaching their children how to swim. And the answer is yes; your child can get sick from drinking pool water.

The chlorine used in swimming pools can cause stomach cramps and diarrhea in your kids. Thus, it is best that you prevent them from drinking this water.

At the same time, chlorine is not the only thing that you need to worry about. The human skin is home to many types of bacteria.

When people take a dip in the swimming pool, most of these bacteria find their way into the water. If ingested, they can cause serious illness.

If you have ever wondered why we use chlorine in the swimming pool, it helps to kill bacteria like E. coli.

But chlorine does not always kill all of these bacteria and parasites. Therefore, taking too much of the swimming pool water exposes the toddler to infections.

A toddler drinking swimming pool water might not be too bad if they take just a little of the same. But if they drink too much, it could evolve into a serious illness. After all, there is fecal matter in the pool, pee, bacteria, chlorine, and other pool chemicals.

Some children will also throw up everything they ate before swimming if they swallow swimming pool water.

Child swallowed pool water and threw up

It is important to help a toddler not to swallow pool water when swimming. However, no matter how careful you are, a child will always swallow water. Usually, this is not a problem. However, swallowing too much can cause serious harm.

It can cause chlorine poisoning

Pool water contains chlorine to kill bacteria. However, even when the bacteria die, there are still other nasty things in the water that could cause your child harm.

For instance, when people swim in the pool, they leave dead cells in the water. They can also leave traces of perfume, body soaps, hair, and other things.

When a child swallows water with all of these nasty things, the risk of developing stomach sickness is very high. This explains why most kids get sick in summer because it is the swimming season.

Can swallowing too much pool water make a child throw up? This is another common question on the internet. Well, the first thing you should teach a toddler is not to swallow swimming pool water. If they gulp some of this water, they should spit it out immediately.

When children swallow too much chlorine water, it is going to cause chlorine poisoning. This brings serious symptoms such as pain in the throat, tummy pain, burning sensations, pain in the mouth, and blood in the stool.

Parents are advised to seek professional help as soon as they notice these symptoms in their kids.

It can lead to secondary drowning

Kids can also inhale the chlorinated water through their nose. This is going to cause secondary drowning, which occurs when a person struggles to prevent drowning.

What happens in the case of secondary drowning is that a child inhales vapor. This leads to a concentration of water inside the lungs. Symptoms such as pain in the chest, fatigue, coughing, difficult inhalation, and other signs of pulmonary edema can occur.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your child, take them to the hospital immediately. These are indications of dry drowning and it can lead to serious consequences.

Secondary drowning is not a risk for kids alone. It can happen to anyone. For instance, you might inhale a lot of water when you are practicing to float on water.

Swallowing pool water has side-effects

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It is not as if there are any benefits to swallowing pool water. Only bad things can happen to you or your child after taking mouthfuls of pool water.

There is no problem with swallowing a small amount of water. However, when it exceeds two mouthfuls, that’s too much.

Here are some of the swallowing pool water side effects you should look for if your toddlers have been swimming:

The child gets ill

Vomiting can definitely occur when a toddler swallows too much pool water because it is dirty. Also, if the toddler reports a tummy ache that happens when they have been swimming, they must have swallowed pool water.

Ask your child whether they are feeling pain in the throat. The throat tissue can swell, and pain will occur when the child tries to swallow food or drinks.

Another sign of chlorine illness is burning in the mouth. If your child is complaining of the same, they must have drunk a lot of pool water.

Usually, these symptoms occur a few hours after getting out of the pool.

Breathing/Respiratory issues

Breathing problems related to swimming occur when someone has experienced a near-drowning experience. They include wheezing, chest pains, serious coughs, and so on.

Usually, the symptoms of secondary drowning will show within 24 hours, but they can happen in 72 hours. This is a serious medical issue, and you should take the victim to the hospital as soon as possible.

Redness on the skin and eyes

If the swimming pool water has too much chlorine, well, you might want to check a few things. First, this will cause redness on the skin of your child. It can also cause itching. Secondly, the eyes turn red. If the child was wearing swimming goggles, they kept the water out of their eyes. However, the area around the eyes might turn red.

If you notice that the child has developed a cough that simply does not go away, the high chlorine level in the water is most likely to be to blame.

How to stop toddlers from drinking swimming pool water

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Now that you have seen the dangers of a toddler drinking swimming pool water, it is time to find out how you can stop them from taking a gulp or two.

Is warning them not to drink swimming pool water enough, or should you just caution them against swallowing too much water?

1. Swim with your toddler

The best way to stop a toddler from drinking pool water is to keep an eye on him all the time that he is in the pool.

No matter how much you insist that they keep their mouth shut, they will still gulp some swimming pool water. Thus, keep your eye on them. If they take the water, make them spit it out.

When a watcher stays with kids when they swim, it is one of the best ways to prevent swimming pool accidents. Thus, instead of worrying about what happens if you accidentally swallow swimming pool water, stay on the lookout as your kids swim.

That way, if they swallow water, you can make them spit it out immediately. If the children swallow pool water without your knowledge, the swimming pool illness symptoms might take a bit longer to manifest.

However, prevention is always better than cure, so please make sure that your toddler does not swallow pool water at all.

2. Outfit your children with the right swimming gear

When you outfit your children with the right swimming gear including personal flotation devices, they have nothing to worry about in the water.

You can get your kids swimming goggles. These will help them to see clearly, and they will not let water get into their eyes. Comfort in the water means more composure and control. It minimizes the risk of swallowing pool water.

Panic can make a child swallow a large amount of swimming pool water. Also, when you know your children have the right gear, you will not shout at them from the side and cause them to panic.

3. Get your children a swimming trainer

Before you can get the children to swim in a swimming pool, they need to be properly trained. You can train them to swim in the shallow end of the pool.

One of the things that people learn when they are training to swim is how to avoid swallowing water.

Swimming lessons should also include a lesson or two about drowning and how to avoid it. Remember, to drown is to inhale water. Therefore, the sooner you can teach your children this crucial lesson, the better.

As you train them to swim, also teach your children swimming pool safety rules. This is where safety from drowning comes in. For instance, you should never let them swim alone. That way, if there is an accident in the water, others can call for help.

4. Teach your child to keep his or her mouth shut in the pool

This is perhaps the most important lesson that you can teach your toddler when they are swimming, if they are old enough—about 4 years. Insist and emphasize the importance of keeping their mouths shut all the time that they are in the pool.

If you find that your child is not able to keep their mouth shut in the swimming pool, you need to find out what could be the cause of that.

If a child cannot breathe through the nose properly, he or she is not going to keep the mouth shut. If you emphasize several times and the child is not heeding your advice, you should visit an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist to find out whether the child could be having problems breathing through the nose.

Image of child swallowed too much pool water

If he or she is not able to breathe through the nose properly, they will struggle in the water. If you have noted that the kid keeps their mouth open even when at home, there definitely could be a problem breathing through the nose.

5. Teach them to swallow pool water Side effects

Children understand more than we give them credit for. In this case, you need to sit them down and tell them about the problems of swallowing swimming pool water.

Usually, children are full of energy, and they love to spend this time playing. However, when they are sick, they cannot play. And they hate such moments!

So, go ahead and tell them about the consequences of swallowing swimming pool water. Tell them that they will suffer from stomach pains and cramps, that they will have to go to the hospital, and that they will not be able to attend school.

Once the children know the consequences of swallowing pool water, they will try hard not to drink it.

6. Tell them to spit the water out

It is hard not to swallow some water when swimming. If a child swallows too much water, they are likely to get sick. However, if they do not swallow the swimming pool water, they will not get sick.

With the problem of swallowing pool water and stomach pain in their minds, they will be keener on spitting the water out.


Baby drinking pool water, how to stop toddlers from drinking pool water, and how they can die from swallowing pool water are some of the things that parents worry about.

However, instead of finding out what happens if you accidentally swallow pool water, it is best to prevent it from happening.

Hopefully, here, you have learned a thing or two about how to stop toddlers from drinking pool water. Follow these tips, and you will be able to avoid swimming pool illness symptoms.

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