Welcoming And Whimsical

For this young swimmer, the water is fine.

Well-Being And Mobility

When designing a children’s therapeutic aquatic environment, the designer must include well-being amenities.

The first component to welcome kids is easy access into the facility, including for those who can walk, be carried, or wheeled through the front doors. Non-sloped parking lots in close proximity will enable parents to easily transport their child from the car into locker and changing rooms, and onto the pool deck (helpful if all are on the same level).

Shower and changing rooms must be designed to be large enough for wheelchairs, therapists, and accompanying family members. Doorknobs, lockers, showers, toilets, and fixtures must be at child-wheelchair height and easy to operate with limited hand functions.

Additionally, at Children’s Specialized Hospital, there are separate changing areas for boys and girls. Each area is approximately 100 square feet, and offers a large bench. An adjacent shower/bathroom can be accessed from the changing area.

The Americans with Disability Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) state that at least one accessible means of entry shall be provided for each public-use and common-use swimming pool less than 300 lineal feet, and two accessible means provided for pools over 300 lineal feet.

A pool lift or a sloped ramp is required for the pool’s primary mode of entry.

The secondary entrance must be separate from the primary means of access, and can be a pool lift, sloped ramp entry, transfer system, transfer walls, or stair entry, thus meeting the requirements set forth in the ADAAG for Buildings and Facilities/Recreation Facilities.

Children’s Specialized Hospital is equipped with an ARJO Lift. This versatile track-layout solution not only can transfer a bather from the pool deck to the pool, but from changing areas to the pool deck to the pool. The modular-track system enables flexible solutions, whereby a track layout can be optimized for design needs specific to its working space.

For therapeutic, teaching, and transfer purposes, mobility is another factor when designing comfort. A movable floor increases the pool’s programming capabilities where deep- and shallow-water therapy can be utilized.

Movable floors provide for deep-water exercise and transition to zero depth for easy access and use. Water depths range from 3 feet to 4 feet, 6 inches since aquatic-therapy methods are performed in an array of depths for maximizing flexion of various-sized children.

The pool walls and floor must be designed to insulate against heat loss to maintain therapeutic temperatures of 87° F to 95° F. The size of the pool must be large enough for several children and their therapists at one time. About 50 square feet of water surface per child/therapist provides enough space for dedicated aquatic-therapy programs.

Other amenities particularly useful for children include perimeter railings near the water’s surface, offering stabilization to pool users. Another consideration is adjustable and movable parallel bars for attaining user balance for assorted exercise movements.

The Children’s Specialized Hospital therapy pool provides underwater benches (submerged seating/resting platforms) where hydrotherapy jets provide directed sprays to tension-filled areas of the child, such as the neck and shoulders, the spine, or the legs and feet.

Aerobic steppers, underwater treadmills, and even current channels provide resistance-therapy exercise, while dedicated lap lanes can add an important strength and fitness component. Dedicated lap lanes greatly add to the overall size of the pool, but unlike competition pools, the length of the fitness lap lanes can be shorter than 25 yards or meters.

Treating The Water

The subsequent increase in organic loading due to oils, sweat, skin, urine, and occasional fecal matter (swim diapers should be used as a precaution) will increase the levels of combined chlorine or chloramines.

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