Fountain Frolicking Can Be Fun, but Dangerous
WebMD News Archive
That's still better than what happened in the only other case like this,
when an outbreak previously occurred at an ornamental fountain of the
interactive type at the Minnesota Zoo. The fountain was subsequently fenced in
to keep all people away.
At a large commercial water park in Atlanta, where people are obviously
welcomed, there are no standing-water kiddie pools, stringent cleanliness
procedures are in place, diapered children have to wear plastic swim covers,
and caregivers are asked to "encourage" their children not to drink the
water, according to the park's safety guidelines.
In public, though, the problem is largely unrecognized. A spokesperson for
the National Safety Council tells WebMD they have plenty of suggested
guidelines for pool safety, involving physical injury, but nothing about
drinking the water, and "they don't have any bulletins on this at
Wally James, chairman of the safety committee for the World Waterpark
Association, says: "There are no standards, and there's no line of
responsibility for water quality control in those things. By and large, if it's
a fountain, stay away from it, don't touch it. ... If the water is not being
treated and filtered, don't go near it. It's that simple."
James says "efforts to establish standards for decorative fountains and
amusement rides that have water associated with them ... they've gotten no
where." Efforts to get kids to keep the water out of their mouths are just
as much of an upstream battle.
"Ingestion is the key for prevention," James tells WebMD. "But
if a kid gets water on their hands, they're going to stick their fingers in
their mouth, and [then] you're done. So the bottom line is keep them out of the
water ... by and large, if it's a decorative fountain, or a theme-ing kind of
attraction, best bet is to stand there and look at it and just stay out of