Merton’s Environmental Health Department in partnership with Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth Health Authority have issued strong health advice this summer on how to protect families from illnesses transmitted by water known as Recreational Water Illness (RWI).

In the last two years there has been an increase in RWI which can be caught by swimming in and swallowing contaminated water in a swimming pool, a river, playing in a paddling pool or anywhere where people share water.

However by following these simple do’s and don’ts, families can considerably reduce the risk and help promote healthy swimming.

Don’t swim if you or your child has had diarrhoea in the last two weeks. This is especially important for children in nappies.

Don’t put babies naked or wearing only nappies in the pool. For children still needing nappies, these must be covered by tight fitting, waterproof baby swimming trunks.

Don’t change nappies at the poolside. Use the specially designated baby changing areas and remember to clean up after you.

Don’t swallow the water, try to avoid getting it in your mouth.

Do, if possible, shower yourself and your child with soap and water before swimming especially your bottom. We all carry invisible amount of faecal matter on our skin that can end up in the pool.

Do, wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet or changing a nappy – you protect others by being aware that germs on your body end up in the water.

Do, take your children to the toilet often – if you wait for ‘I’ve got to go’ it may be too late.

For further information contact Environmental Health Authority, Civic Centre, London Road, Morden, Surrey. Telephone number – 020 8545 3024.