How Pool Chlorine Can Harm Your Child’s Health And What To Do About It

Girl splashing and jumping out of the water in a swimming pool Is pool chlorine safe for kids?

The truth is that pool chlorine can be harmful to children’s health.  Exposure to chlorine increases the risk of upper respiratory tract infections and allergic reactions.

In a 12 week study done on rats, results showed that chlorinated pool irritants affect the eyes and skin as well as the liver.

Children who spend more time in chlorinated pools have a higher risk of developing asthma later on in life.

The dangers of chlorine

Chlorine is a chemical element produced from salt. It is essentially useful for disinfecting water and while it may have improved the lives of billions of people, it comes with a significant health cost.

When chlorine mixes with organic matter from people in the pool (like sweat) a chemical called chloramine is formed. This chemical off-gasses and irritates the eyes, skin, and upper respiratory tract.

Exposure to the harmful gas from chlorine can cause bronchiolitis and negatively affect the lungs. The European Respiratory Journal warns that swimming in chlorinated pools during infancy and before the age of 2 may increase the risk of developing lower respiratory tract infections.

So what can we, as parents, do to protect our children?

How to protect children from chlorine in swimming pools

1. Opt for a non-toxic alternative to chlorine

If you have a private pool in your house, try an alternative to chlorine to keep your pool water clean and disinfected. Some alternatives to chlorine for pools are hydroxyl oxidation, ozone, and salt. When it comes to pool disinfection, there are many other ways to keep the water clean without the use of harsh chemicals.

Popular chlorine pool alternatives:

  • Bromine
  • UV light
  • Ozone
  • Ultrafiltration
  • Salt

2. Shower before and afterward

Before jumping into a chlorinated swimming pool, give your kids a shower. Why shower before going into the pool? Because our bodies carry organic matter on our skin as well as residue from personal care products we use (such as sunscreen on a hot day).

When chlorinated pool water mixes with the residue on our skin, it makes a more toxic agent known as disinfection byproducts. Research shows that these have been associated with respiratory illnesses.

Showering right before going into the pool removes residue like sweat on the skin which minimizes any reaction with the pool chlorine.

As soon as you finish swimming, shower with warm water and use a neutral soap like this natural Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap . Soap will remove any residue of chlorine from the skin.

3. Use Vitamin C

Vitamin C neutralizes chlorine. Both sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid will effectively neutralize chlorine. This is because

You can use vitamin C to spray on your body and hair after swimming.

What you need to make a Vitamin C spray:

How to make a Vitamin C spray:

  1. Gently heat the distilled water until warm
  2. Add the powdered vitamin C and stir well until dissolved
  3. Pour into a clean glass spray bottle
  4. Use within 24 hours

If you don’t feel like making your own, this VITAMIN C Skin Spray is both a spray and an effective vitamin C supplement.

4. Stay hydrated

Hydration is key when exposed to toxins. In the summer months, staying hydrated is even more important. When the body is exposed to toxins and chemicals the liver becomes overloaded and works hards to remove them.

Drinking more water supports the kidneys and helps the body flush out those toxins.

5. Limit swimming in chlorinated pools

A lake with people swimming taken from the shoreline

Balance pool trips with swimming in natural waters like trips to the lake or beach.

Natural waters release endorphins, the body’s “happy hormone”. Swimming in natural waters or just being by them provides the body and mind with a deep state of relaxation and feelings of happiness.

Researchers have found that people who live by the sea get more melatonin and consequently have deeper and better sleep than those who live in urban areas.

The beach offers some incredible health benefits like deeper relaxation from the sound of the waves to more absorption of minerals like magnesium which the body uses in more than 600 processes. Sea salt is also highly beneficial to the body providing it with much-needed minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium.

It is also anti-inflammatory and may benefit skin conditions like eczema and acne.

Sand is exfoliating to the skin and just being at the beach gives the body an abundance of negative ions. Negative ions are negatively-charged molecules in the air that have been found to fight free radicals in the body and strengthen the immune system. They are found in higher concentrations in nature.

6. Swim in outdoor swimming pools

Outdoor swimming pools are in the open air which means no harmful gasses from the chemicals are trapped. Swimming outdoors means more fresh air and less toxic chemicals breathed in. It is safer overall as most of the toxic gasses are eliminated in the fresh air.

Is pool chlorine safe for kids?

Swimming in chlorinated water during infancy has been shown to increase the likelihood of developing asthma and respiratory illnesses. When chlorine mixes with organic matter, a chemical called chloramine is released. This chemical irritates the respiratory tract, skin, eyes as well as major organs like the liver.

If you have to swim then take these precautions to give the healthiest swimming experience for your kids.


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