It’s Summer—So Does That Mean a Dip in the Pool Counts as a Bath?

We ask the experts if the pool is an adequate substitute for bathing.

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Imgorthand / Getty Images

Fact checked by Sarah ScottFact checked by Sarah Scott

These long, hot summer days can be exhausting. And when kids—and their parents—are out of their normal routine, it can be tempting to let certain things slide.

Like proper bathing.

It's true. Some parents feel a dip in the pool can serve as a perfectly good substitute for a shower or bath in the summer months.

In an Instagram post, a Colorado mom of two, American team cross-country runner, and running coach Neely Gracey wrote over pool photos of her kids, "Happy 'the pool counts as a bath' season to all who participate." She captioned the post, "Plz tell me I'm not the only mom who is celebrating."

Judging from the more than 10,000 comments, Gracey may just be one of the few parents "celebrating." In fact, it seems like most of her followers do not participate in "pool counts as a bath" season.

"The pool should make you want to bathe MORE," writes one commenter.

"This is why I don't get in public pools," comments another.

"Happy 'that's gross get in the shower the pool is nasty' to all who participate," writes another.

"...what?" was the simple response of yet another.

The now-viral post was liked more than 100,000 times. That could mean more people "participate" in the "season" than they will admit. There were a few commentators in agreement with Gracey's post.

"I'm all over the pool counts as bath season," writes one person. "In fact my kids get more showers at sleepaway camp than they usually do at home!"

Another person in agreement comments, "Heck yes."

But is the pool an adequate substitute for a bath or shower? Parents asked Jared Friedman, MD, a board-certified pediatrician from Florida, for his expert opinion. In summary, it's a no for Dr. Friedman.

"While some may believe a dip in the pool can be a substitute for a proper bath or shower, I want to stress that this is simply not the case," he says.

Friedman noted the specific importance of showering before going in the pool as well, particularly when using a public pool.

"Having more people share a public pool can ultimately lead to the chlorine mixing with significantly more irritants from their skin and causing a significant pH imbalance, which can ultimately lead to an influx of possible waterborne illnesses in comparison to a private pool where there are less people," he said.

Dr. Friedman isn't the only expert who disagrees with parents using a pool as a stand-in for a bath.

"The pool absolutely doesn't count as a replacement for a shower or bath," says Dewey Case, Technical Director of the Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code (CMAHC). "A good soapy shower helps to wash off all the pool water and treatment products. Some people are sensitive to chlorine in both their skin and hair and not bathing can lead to irritation."

Case points out you also sweat while swimming.

"Many people don't realize how much they sweat while swimming, similar to any land-based physical activity," he says. "You're still sweaty when you get out and need to bathe. It's important to remember that pool water is meant to be fun and safe, but it's not intended for bathing."

Look, we're not here to tell you how to parent—or judge if you're into "the pool counts as a bath" season. And honestly, if it's late and your kid doesn't want to take a bath and go right to bed once in a while after a late swim, so be it. You may just have some extra laundry to do to wash the sheets.

Related: Drowning Deaths Are Increasing Among Children and Racial Disparities Continue, CDC Finds

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Read the original article on Parents.