Ya gotta wonder.
Here's a list of safety precautions used at wading pools:
- Attendants now use about 2Kg of chlorine granules a day, reportedly 2 or 3 times as much as a couple of years ago
- Attendants are instructed to measure chlorine concentration to the max of the instrument they have (level 5 whatever that is, probably ppm (parts per million) - I haven't actually seen this thing), meaning they can't tell if they've exceeded the required amount
- The pool now has to be half or three quarters or fully emptied every four hours regardless of test results. This takes up to an hour, causing delays in pool use. As one parent said "has kids pee changed that much?"
- While the pool is being drained, kids are not allowed in the pool, for fear of injury by the gravity-fed drain.
- If a dog so much as laps a little water, the pool is to be completely drained, refilled, and retreated
Attendants now have full body gear (those yellow hazmat suits), complete with steel toed boots. Not sure what the steel is for, but I'm told the suits are actually permeable by water (or perhaps some were perforated), letting chlorine through anyway. Plus they're hot and disorienting. This extreme measure probably adds to the fear of new attendants. They used to wear boots, gloves, goggles, and an available impermeable apron.
New hazmat suits for chlorinating wading pools
The new normal, summer 2012
- An attendant told me that most people who use hazmat suits have chlorine burns on their T-shirts, from handling the suits after taking them off. By extension there would be some exposure to their skin, since the suits are clumsy to handle. Attendants used to (at most) put on an apron, easier to handle.
- Attendants are required to guard kids even if there are none. Really. No kids, and they're instructed to guard the empty pool, on pain of sanction. So they can't for example, be setting up crafts tables, or watering plants. While the pool is empty.
- Pool attendant training in at least one case was reportedly like bootcamp, complete with a screaming trainer, and pictures of puking and dying children. Scare the attendants, would appear to be the approach.
- All these procedures can take 2 1/2 hours out of an 8 hour pool day, effectively reducing the service to the public.
All this seems a little (actually a lot) excessive to me. No one can remember the last time a kid got sick, although lots of parents are nervous about all that chlorine. If you saw people in hazmat suits treating a wading pool, would you let your young kid in there?
...but I'm not a health professional, so I'll keep digging...
edited August 31, 2012