Far too many small children keep drowning in inflatable pools. We must realize that small children can just as easily drown in inflatable pools as they can in bathtubs or larger pools. One of these most common, overlooked problems is that when small children walk up to small inflatable pools filled with water, they often actually trip and fall into these pools face down. A parent briefly interacting with another child may not turn around in time to save the drowning toddler.
Some Eye-Opening Statistics About Portable/Inflatable Pools
· It only takes two minutes for a young child to drown in a little pool filled with just two inches of water;
· Eighty-one (81 %) of serious submersion accidents take place during the summer months;
· Somewhere between one-half (to two-thirds) of all children are being watched when they fall beneath the surface of the water (numbers vary, depending on which study you’re reviewing). Parents who choose to answer their cell phones, visit with others nearby or handle some simple chores in addition to watching their kids may fail to see one of their children suddenly drowning;
· One study that relied on U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) data stated that a child drowns in a portable or inflatable home pool every five days in America;
· Regarding unintentional deaths of children between the ages of one and four: more children die from drowning in this country than in car accidents;
· About 3,000 children under the age of five require emergency room treatment for pool submersion injuries every year;
· According to a June 2011 Pediatrics journal study, “portable pools” were involved with 11% of the deaths of children under the age of five (that were reported to the CPSC from 2005 through 2007); and
· One study showed that 209 children, under the age of 12, died in inflatable or portable pools between 2001 and 2009; another 25 kids almost drowned during that same time period.
Suggestions for Improving Child Safety When Using Portable/Inflatable Pools
1. Never mix pool supervision time with any other activity. Always view the time you’ll spend watching your kids while they swim as supervision time only. Any other activities could lead to the death of a child.
2. Turn off your cell phone while watching your kids. Remove all items from the swimming area that might tempt you to briefly stop watching your children play in the pool.
3. Remove the children from the pool and then toss out all of the water if you must leave the pool area unexpectedly. Whether there’s a special delivery person at your front door or you belatedly remember you left something cooking on your stove, never leave a pool filled with water to go handle unexpected events (even if you’re going to take your kids with you). A neighborhood child might sneak into your yard and drown while you’re away. Once you finish using your child’s pool each day, immediately pour out the water and store it somewhere where children cannot reach it until you need it again.
4. Never try to supervise more than two or three children in a small pool at once. If you’re going to watch three or more children, hire a babysitter or get a close friend to help you. Should an emergency arise, you’re going to need someone else to keep the other children calm and dial 9-1-1 while you apply CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) or provide other care.
5. Keep a regular first aid kit handy while your children are playing in the pool. Before filling the pool with water, sit your children down and quickly look over the ground area where you intend to place the pool. Carefully remove any sharp objects that might cut your children’s feet or deflate the pool. If you need to apply first aid to one child, have all of the other children step out of the water before tending to the injured child.
6. Position the pool in the shade. Children will remain properly hydrated longer if you avoid placing the pool directly under the sun. Apply ample sunscreen, even if the sun isn’t clearly visible.
7. Don’t let any child play with your garden hose while others are swimming. You need to minimize all possible distractions so you can keep both eyes on the pool.
8. Never treat small flotation devices as secondary babysitters for your children. While you may want to use these items, keep in mind that some children may just fall forward while wearing them. These same kids may be unable to quickly turn themselves over so they can start breathing again.
9. Try to limit each pool session to no more than 30 or 40 minutes. This will let you take the children inside periodically where you can more accurately evaluate whether or not all of them can handle any more sun or heat exposure that day.