I went hiking while visiting a park this past weekend and was reminded of just how relaxing natural water formations can be. I took in the sounds of water gurgling over rocks and under leaves and fallen trees. It reminded me of how I used to spend a lot of my time in my backyard in our creek. I would spend literally the whole day back there working on our ‘fort’ and/or ‘clubhouse’. I always anticipated the beginning of warm weather when my dad would annually, and dutifully I might add, rake all of the dead leaves and clear the path for our trail. Sometimes, I would pretend that I was living in a different century that required me to ‘live off the land’. Although I think to that extent, my ‘living off the land’ just included eating some onions and raspberries from our garden nearby. And while there was the impression of clean, drinking water all around our little creek that ran through the woods, I knew and was informed that it was not to be consumed by me or any of my neighborhood friends. We didn’t mind, though. I was so busy with my friends making more rooms for our outdoor palace and games that I rarely went up to the house that often. When I did, I welcomed the big glass of ice cold water. The risk of drinking water in the creek was more outweighed by my taste buds rather than the information of drinking water only from the tap, but one that I obeyed nonetheless. It is vital for children’s health to consume water on a daily basis. Therefore, it is important that children know where they should get their water and that clean water is readily available. Water is a win-win for all. It has no calories, caffeine, or sugar, and helps almost every part of the human body function. Here are some important facts to know about your drinking water:
- EPA’s current drinking water standards are designed to protect both adults and children.
- Standards for lead, nitrates, and nitrites, are specifically based on risk to children because they are most vulnerable to these contaminants.
- If you have a private well, you are responsible for testing your water to make sure it is safe and you should test it annually. Resources are available here.
- You can learn about your local drinking water by reading your Consumer Confidence Report to learn whether your water system meets all drinking water standards here.
- Get to know the source of your drinking water and get involved in activities to protect it.
- These include: taking used motor oil to a recycling center and properly disposing of toxic house hold trash e.g. batteries by taking them to special collection sites.
Water is essential for children and adults alike. Water can be fun in its natural state for viewing and admiring. (Or a place of play for all of my creek-stomping days). Just remember to only drink from safe water sources at your home or wherever you may be. And help children to remember to do the same!
About the Author: Emily Bruckmann is an intern at the Office of Children’s Health Protection. She is a senior attending Indiana University who will graduate with a degree in public health this spring.