Stuff: A clean water supply

More people globally have a mobile phone than have clean water. If you’re lucky enough to have scoffed at this inclusion, remember that next time you’re wondering whether to get Peppa Pig or Iggle Piggle on a sippy cup.

What is it?

Water, that is reliably clean and safe to drink. Although your baby won’t need to drink any for the first few months if you have a breast milk supply (it’s a myth that you need to supplement with more water in hot weather/climates; breast milk will change to compensate) you need to drink it to be able to take care of your child, you need it to wash your food, crockery, clothes, and selves, and you need it to cleanly wash away your excretions.

Do I need it?

Yes.

If you think I’m being facetious, and wonder how anyone reading this doesn’t have water in their tap, consider the fact that, worldwide, more people have a mobile phone than have a toilet. Whilst I don’t flatter myself that my readership is that wide, it’s perfectly conceivable that someone would have mobile internet but no reliable clean water. (Internet access has in fact been declared a human right. This piece on Readwrite.com has some neat timings to say about that.)

How do I get one?

The chances are that if you’re reading this, you have running water in your tap and running through your toilet. If you don’t, I’m not going to try and give advice on how, but try contacting a water charity, if you can.

How much are they?

Again, it very much depends where you live. In Scotland, it’s included as part of your council tax; other countries have water meters. If you’ve never been financially in trouble because you had to pay for water, why not consider donating to Water Aid (or doing some fundraising)?

What are the safety considerations?

Never leave a baby or small child unattended in a bath or any body of water. They can drown very quickly in tiny amounts. You should also be aware of secondary drowning (or dry drowning) – if your child has been in a water accident but seems fine, always get them checked out.

Otherwise, the risks from water generally come from not having it. Half a million children a year died due to dirty water and bad sanitation.

What’s the alternative?

If you’re not sure about the cleanliness of your water, breastfeed your child. (And boycott companies who try and get women to do anything else in this situation.)

Accessories

A boiler, to give you hot running water. Suddenly that really does seem a luxury.

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