Use of Swim Diapers

It is the policy of the Mahone Bay and Area Swimming Pool Society that non-toilet trained children must wear purpose made SWIM DIAPERS when in the swimming pool. This policy is required in order to protect the public, and our staff, from potential risks associated with fecal accidents.

Swimming pools have been the subject of much public attention in recent years. E. coli O157:H7, Crytosporidia, Giardia and other organisms have been making the news as people become ill from the organisms after swimming. These contaminants can accumulate to dangerous levels in the absence of corrective measures. We can do a lot to keep the water clean and healthy, but no one can totally eliminate the risks associated with swimming.

Most organisms found in a pool are killed very quickly. Usually a few seconds of disinfection is enough time to kill 99.9% of the organisms. Recently, however, we have begun to see organisms such as Cryptosporidia, which are very resistant to disinfection. Unfortunately, Crypto causes very watery diarrhea, so these accidents are seldom noticed or reported. When contamination does occur, it can only be identified after people start becoming ill, a week or more after the contamination of the pool. Anyone entering the water can contribute harmful organisms, which could cause an infection. High-risk groups, diaper-age children and immuno-compromised persons (cancer patients, persons with transplants and persons with active HIV infections) are of special concern. Diaper-age children are a greater problem because they are most likely to have an accident, and they also ingest the pool water. Immuno-compromised persons are more at risk because they cannot fight off the organisms.

This policy calls for a two-pronged approach. First, educate the public that there are risks involved in swimming and what they can do to reduce the risks involved. Secondly, treat identified fecal accidents as if they contain the more easily killed organisms, because accidents containing Cryptosporidia are not often noticed nor reported before people begin to get sick.

Unfortunately, fecal accidents that are caused by Cryptosporidium infection are likely to be in the form of watery diarrhea, and therefore will probably not be seen or reported. It is therefore important that the followoing points be followied:

A. Staff should report illnesses they experience to their supervisor, and not swim if ill with diarrhea or abdominal cramps.

B. Regular diapers are not to be used by pool patrons, as this increases the risk for having fecal accidents in the pool. The use of purpose made Swim Diapers is permitted.