Swim and splash safely this summer

On hot and steamy summer days (and especially on long weekends), spending a lazy day at the beach, taking a dip at the public pool or making a splash at your local splash pad are go-to activities for friends and families.

To help keep members of our community safe and healthy, Public Health regularly tests water conditions at local beaches from May to August each year, in addition to inspecting public pools, splash pads and wading pools in Wellington, Dufferin and Guelph.

How do you know if a beach is safe for swimming? Lake superior beach front Beaches are “posted” when test results come back indicating levels of E. coli are higher than normal. Changes in water quality can be caused by a number of environmental factors like heavy rain, spills, algae or even bird droppings.

If you, your friends or your family swim at a beach that is “posted”, you may be putting yourself at risk of contracting not-so-friendly bacteria that could put a damper on the day by causing diarrhea or infections of the ear, nose, throat, eyes and skin.

We update our website immediately throughout the week as new beach testing results are received. You can also follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook to get up-to-date beach testing information.

How do you know if a public pool or splash pad is safe for use?
Group of kids sitting by side of pool smiling If a pool or splash pad is found to be unsafe for use during an inspection, the facility will be closed by Public Health until the issues are corrected.

Why is it important to have beaches and facilities inspected and to know they are safe to use?
Swimming is a great way to stay fit and active. But swimming (and splashing) can make you sick. Germs can easily spread through water from one person to another. Once germs get into the water, even if chlorinated, it can take time for the germs to be destroyed. This is why swallowing even small amounts of water that is used recreationally can make you sick.

Follow these 6 tips for healthy swimming:

  1. Don’t swim if you have diarrhea, even if you feel well otherwise.
  2. Shower with soap and water and wash thoroughly before you or your kids get in the water.
  3. Don’t swallow pool or beach water and avoid getting it in your mouth.
  4. Take kids for regular bathroom breaks.
  5. If your child wears a diaper, use rubber diapers that fit snuggly, and check them often in a bathroom or change area. Not beside the water.
  6. Wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom or diapering a child.

Are you planning on spending time at a beach or pool this Canada Day long weekend?
Couple playing in water with Canada Day beach ball