Now I Know Where I Get It From. Old Sitting Water Dangerous??!

Updated on March 25, 2012
M.. asks from Detroit, MI
16 answers

I was at my parents house yesterday with the kids, we go over there often so my kids can play with my nephews. All the kids are under the age 7.
Before we went over there my daughter had softball practice and I knew it was going to be a day of dirtiness, so I dressed them appropriately. :)
So, anyways, my parents backyard backs to common ground. Most of the common ground dips down from their yard for drainage purposes, so its like my parents house is on top of a hill. Anyways directly behind the house the kids were riding plastic tricycles down the hill. This was hours of fun!
They started exploring a little more and went to the left side where there was water, kinda looks like a creek. So next thing we know, ALL the little boys are plowing through this water squealing with glee. I thought it was pretty funny, but when my mom caught wind of this she FLIPPED out and yelled at them for being in the water. I said "Mom, they are little boys, they are supposed to get dirty." Then she goes on and on about how many diseases they can get from stagnent water. Really? Its just rain water! Then she said its been sitting there for a week and they can get tetanus from it.
COME ON! No, they cant!
So, it ended in my mom yelling at the kids and not allowing them near it. She said my sister wouldnt appreciate me letting them get that dirty! Jeez!!!!

So, I guess my question. Do you let your little boys get dirty? And can they get diseases from old rain water?

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Ugh!! Goodness, I guess mom knows best. Gross!

Thanks Ladies. :)

Featured Answers



answers from New York on

Wow glad I was ignorant when I raised my kids 35 years ago! My kids played outside in the rain, in puddles, etc. We just never thought about all
the things JL came up with. They are all healthy adults.

Edit My Answer
4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


I LOVE it when my boys get dirty!!! It means they were OUTSIDE and not inside playing the XBOX!!! :)

As to stagnant water? I did a quick search - and this is what I came up with.

Now - would I still let my kids play in it? Probably!! it all depends upon what I saw of the water.....I can't wrap my kids in bubble wrap. The world is a dangerous's life - you can't get out of it alive....M. I just don't go by what is posted on the web. I want my kids to PLAY and LAUGH. As long as they aren't drinking it - I would be fine.

Edit My Answer
4 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Portland on

Lawn run off water will have a combination of many things in it.
Neighbors pet feces, which can include worms and other diseases.
Lawn chemicals and fertilizer, which are poisons.
Tetanus can be in the soil and then in the water, as the water ran threw that soil.
There are probably mosquito larva.
There is probably animal urine.

And those are just things that I can think of off the top of my head.

Now, yes, kids will get dirty, and most DIRT will not hurt them.

BUT, would you pour animal urine and feces on them, rub rust on them, and pour chemicals and fertilizer on them and then let them run around touching their faces and putting their hands to their mouths and eyes?

If it was a sprinkler and they were running threw it as it was falling to the ground that is just water, but water that has been threw the soil and chemicals and animal droppings and then sat for a week with bugs?

Your mom is right, sorry.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Your Mom is right.

There are MANY MANY things, that can infect a person from dirty standing water.

Even, flowing creek or stream water can be bad. Because, any animals that walk into or drink from that water, can infect the water. Or if wild animal poop or pee, trickles into that water, a person can get sick too. That has happened in Hawaii. Many times. The Heath Department warns us about it even, on the news.

It is not just "rain water" that your boys were playing in. It is water that also can be contaminated.... via lawn poisons as well. Or from ANYTHING that, drained into that area.

And, if a person has a weakened immune system, or they have broken skin or cuts on them, that dirty water, can infect their cuts with something. That is also how, some people get Staph infections or flesh-eating Staph infections.

Your Mom is right
That is not just standing rain water.
You need to also teach your boys.

Rain puddles are one thing.
BUT... the water your boys were playing in... was "standing water" that had been there for a long time. It was not just a rain puddle.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Not tetanus, but there are things that can end up in standing water because they are shed by wild animals in urine or feces. And are more likely to be found in standing water because it's not being constantly "flushed through" like a running stream is (not that a running stream is totally safe either). Giardia and leptospirosis are 2 that come to mind (we see them in pet animals too). Mosquitoes breed in standing water as well. I'm generally not a germaphobe and I believe in letting kids get dirty and build-up an immune system, but there are things to be aware of as well that could be an issue. Obviously they are more likely to get sick if they happen to drink any of it but that could also happen accidentally while they are playing. I would also be concerned if they happened to have any open cuts or scrapes that could get infected.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

Coming from a mom who let her kids jump and run in mud puddles and make mud pies galore, I 100% agree with your mom. If you don't want to listen to "mom" because she's "mom" (and I totally get that, I will say), listen to what JL says. She is spot on.

And my kids would get so dirty while they were having fun in the mud, that I would hose them down outside and have them strip off everything before walking in the house. Then they'd get their baths, and the muddy clothes would go straight into the washer. I have never been squeamish about them getting dirty, but run-off and stagnant water? No way.


6 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Yes, my boys get dirty!! But no way....I don't let them play in stagnant water, and especially what sounds like in your case, runoff.

Yes, dangerous bacteria can live in stagnant water, including e-coli, malaria, tetanus (according to a report below), and particularly cholera. You don't hear about deaths and illness so much here in the states, but it can and does happen. Cholera is a terrible problem around the world where people do not have adequate drinking water and outbreaks often happen after tsunamis. While stagnant water diseases are usually transmitted when people drink the water, you can still get sick swimming in it.

Furthermore, if the source of this water is runoff, beside deadly bacteria, there can be dangerous chemicals such as lawn fertilizers, insecticides, and petrochemicals from cars, wild animal dung, dead animal carcasses and more.

Mom truly is right in this case.

Here is proof:

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I let my girl get dirty and wet and muddy.
Yes, stagnant water can carry diseases, so can flies, soil and the doorhandles and countertops in your mom's home. As long as they don't drink the water, eat the dirt or lick the countertops they should be fine! And honstly... even if they lick the counterops or eat a little dirt, they will probably still be fine... I think the last outbreak of cholera in this country occured in like 1910.

Get out there and let them get dirty!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Why just boys?
I've been known to play in a mud puddle or two, but the puddles were only a day old, not a week.
Your Mom was wrong about the tetanus (unless she knows there's a pig living in the vicinity of the puddle) but there's plenty of other things they can get from stagnant water - polio, tape worm, cholera, e-coli to name a few.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

i wouldnt worry but thats me. i would just tell them that it is not to go in their mouth. in my opinion its not different then going to the beach, creek or playing in the mud in your own back yard. yes things can happen but its it worth it to keep them from it?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

If it was there longer than a week they could get mosquito bites, but tetanus? I don't think so. I think if they were drinking it then yes they could get sick. It’s not like we are living in a third world country that does not have proper water to drink and proper facilities to put human waste. People hundreds of years ago got sick from things like this because they did not have the sanitary conditions that we have today (nor did they practice proper hygiene).

They are little kids and were just having fun. Tell your mom to get a grip.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

As long as they don't drink the water, yes they'll be ok playing in it. Tetanus?? Tetanus spores do live in soil. A puncture wound or injury that introduces that dirt into our bodies is a cause of tetanus. That's why we have vaccinations. Tetanus vaccine protects for 10-12 years.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

i never heard of that. i guess my son should be really sick.....when he was really small there was a big dip in the parking lot of our house and he would sit in there and play. as he got older he would ride his bike thru the puddle. and yes of course get dirty very dirty!!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Muncie on

Yes, they can get very sick from old still water, things grow in stagnant water. I know for certain that mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water.
Then again I would let kids get as dirty as they like so long as they're not in Sunday Best.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

I let my kids (boys and girls) get dirty. I don't like sitting water from the standpoint of being a breeding ground for germs and mosquitos. Just be sure they wash their hands when they are done and before they eat or drink and you should be good.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Umm, with the kids splashing through, it was no longer stagnant, right? Okay, just kidding. But think about all those nasty things in the local sandbox, at the beach, in the public restrooms! YIKES! That said, do what you do with everything else, wash well! I would have let them play too. They weren't drinking it right?

1 mom found this helpful

Next question: Question for Moms Who Choose Not to Vaccinate - Need Updated Information Source