Recreational water injuries and illnesses
Everyone has a role to play in keeping our recreational water facilities clean and safe.
What is a recreational water facility?
There are two types of recreational water facilities. Recreational water facilities are either regulated or non-regulated.
Regulated facilities include public pools and spas, public wading pools, public spray or splash pads and waterslide receiving basins. This term does not include pools or spas located on a private residential property that is limited to use for swimming or bathing by the owner or occupant, members of their family, or their visitors. It also does not include pools and spas that are used solely for commercial display or demonstration purposes.
Other recreational water bodies include public beaches and recreational camp waterfronts where the waterfront is used for aquatic activities as part of a Class A or Class B camp.
What are recreational water illnesses?
Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) include a number of illnesses and the health effects can range from minor symptoms to serious illness. If a person comes in contact with untreated or dirty water, they may develop skin, ear, or eye infections or irritations. If someone drinks contaminated water, they may get stomach or intestinal illnesses. Diarrhea is the most commonly reported symptom of recreational water illness.
How can deaths from drowning be prevented?
Admission standards help reduce the number of young children that drown each year. These standards were developed by the Office of the Chief Coroner to help lifeguards and assistant lifeguards make sure there is enough supervision of young bathers in a pool and surrounding area. The Ministry of Health and Public Health Sudbury & Districts strongly support these recommendations for the purposes of preventing injuries and fatalities.
What are some tips to help keep you safe around recreational water?
Children and weak swimmers
- Supervise children in and around the pool or other types of recreational water.
- Keep young children within sight and arms’ reach.
- Make sure young children and weak swimmers wear personal flotation devices (for example, life jackets) at all times.
- Take swimming lessons and learn first aid.
- Pay attention to any signs posted as they will have important information to keep you safe.
- Know where the nearest telephone and emergency equipment is located in case help is needed.
- Only enter recreational water if the water is clear (for example, you can see the bottom of the pool, spa). Water clarity is important so that possible dangers or someone who is in trouble or drowning can be seen.
- Do not bring a glass container into the water or into the surrounding areas like the pool deck.
- Do not dive.
- Do not take part in rough and noisy play in or near the water.
- Do not play or swim near drains or suction devices. Your body, body parts, hair, jewelry, and other objects could become trapped and cause injury or drowning. People with long hair should be very careful that their hair does not get trapped or tangled in one of the drains or suction devices.
- Do not enter or stay in a spa if a drain cover or suction fitting is loose, broken, or missing. Let the operator of the water facility know immediately.
Health and hygiene
- Do not pollute the water. Do not urinate, defecate, or blow your nose in the water.
- Try not to swallow the water.
- Practice good hygiene. Shower before entering and re-entering the water and wash your hands after using the washroom.
- Do not change diapers by the water because the water or objects around the water can become soiled with feces.
- Do not go in the water if you have an open sore or infection, or if you are experiencing nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
For more information on recreational water illnesses or injuries, contact Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200, ext. 464 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200) to speak with a public health inspector. For inspection results for recreational water facilities and public beaches, visit our online disclosure site Check Before You Go!
This item was last modified on August 15, 2019