Portable pools are also associated with drowning in young children, according to a new study. Researchers report that about 209 children died due to drowning in portable pools during the time period from 2001 to 2009. A portable pool is a structure that is generally used in the place of an in-ground swimming pool or any water recreation.
Researchers considered the risk with different types of portable pools like wading or ‘kiddie pools’, inflatable pools, and self-rising pools. In most of the cases of drowning, the children were younger than 5 years. Among the 209 deaths reported, 73% of drowning occurred in their own backyard and 50% of the children were boys. According to researcher Brenda J. Shields, MS, of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio and colleagues, in spite of the risk, many people do not consider their pool as a hazard to the children.
Researchers feel that a strong campaign is needed to make the consumers aware of the risk of portable pool. This is particularly true because, small portable pools do not create the same sense of danger as an in-ground pool, they add. Portable pools are less expensive and easily available in toys store, home stores, and online.
In this study published in the journal Pediatrics, the researchers analyzed all the data available about drowning related issues in portable pools available at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) from 2001 to 2009. A total of 209 fatal and 35 non-fatal events were reported in the commission during this time period. The result showed that:
- 94% of the cases involved children younger than 5 years of age
- 56% of the children who drowned were boys
- 85% of the cases were reported in summer
They also reported that the number of drowning cases increased considerably from 2001 to 2005, which then levelled off till 2009, perhaps due to the increase in media campaigns about the risk of drowning. The risk can be reduced by many layers of protection in children. The first step is to prevent access to the pool by using fences and pool alarms. Parents and caregivers should also closely supervise the children while using the pools.