Inflatable swimming pool
A new study asserts that inflatable or portable swimming pools are involved in the death of a child every five days during summer. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

As summer approaches, many people will be pulling out tiny swimming pools for their tots to play in. However, safety experts are admonishing parents to be cautious  because those portable pools pose a greater danger than many realize.

One child killed by kiddie-size pool every five days

A report being published in the journal “Pediatrics” asserts that a child drowns in a portable, kid-size swimming pool every five days during the summer months, according to MSNBC. The report examines portable and inflatable pools, from the cheap, plastic tub style pools that are 18 or fewer inches deep to the more expensive, large inflatable pools up to four feet deep that can cost more than $1,000. There were 209 deaths and 35 instances of injuries caused by almost drowning from 2001 to 2009 in non-permanent pools. Only 6 percent of victims were older than 5, and the summer months accounted for 81 percent of the incidents. Pool depth was not a factor; children can drown in two inches of water, according to USA Today.

Lack of safety equipment a factor

Portable pools are not subject to safety codes like in-ground pools are. Lack of supervision is not always a factor; approximately 43 percent of all drownings occurred when children were supervised. The report says 39 percent were unsupervised and 18 percent occurred during “lapses” of supervision. About 73 percent of incidents occurred at the child’s home, according to ABC. Almost 70 percent of incidents occurred when children used the ladder to enter pools. The report noted an increase between 2001 and 2005, when above-ground pool companies started heavily marketing their products as they entered the market.

The report urges the use of safety equipment such as fencing that restricts access, especially to pool ladders. An enclosing four-sided fence can be more expensive than the pools themselves, but the Centers for Disease Control says a four-sided pool fence reduces risk by 83 percent.

Parents need to know CPR

The report also says more parents should learn Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation. CPR was performed in only 15 percent of drowning fatalities before paramedics arrived and in 17 percent of non-fatal injuries. Drowning, according to the Centers for Disease Control, accounted for 30 percent of all deaths among children age 1 to 4 in 2007 and was the second leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 14. Most drownings for children ages 1 to 4 occurred in residential pools, and the incident leading to death lasted less than five minutes. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 383 children age 15 or younger drown in pools or spas every year. Once a submersion injury occurs, it is usually fatal; 72 percent of victims die the day of the incident, and only 4 percent survive more than a week.

Sources

MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43460098/ns/health-kids_and_parenting/

USA Today: http://yourlife.usatoday.com/parenting-family/story/2011/06/Portable-pools-pose-drowning-risk-for-tots/48622550/1

ABC: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/portable-pools-increase-drowning-risk/story?id=13869625

Centers for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Water-Safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html

Consumer Product Safety Commission: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml11/11229.html?tab=news

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