Danger to Kids in Portable Pools

The "Sprinkler Solution"

The “Sprinkler Solution”

It’s hot out and getting hotter.

Since it’s hot out and I usually only get to the pool with my family on the weekends, I’ve been thinking about digging out the portable pool for the kids. My oldest daughter noticed it lying in the corner of the basement and asked if I could bring it out.

As much as I hate to disappoint her, the darn thing is a pain to blow up – that’s why, it’s only partially deflated from last summer. But my hesitation was reinforced when I saw a study online in the journal Pediatrics. Now I’m really opposed to using this plastic portable pool.

Researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, Ohio State University and elsewhere analyzed data on fatal and nonfatal drowning in portable pools from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission from 2001 through 2009.

They found 209 children died in portable pools and another 35 injuries were reported, most (94 percent) involved kids five and younger and three out of four were victims in their own backyard.

The researchers called the drowning and near drowning “submersion events,” but as a parent it’s hard to get past the idea that more than 200 babies died in small plastic pools, mostly in their own yards.

The researchers concluded that there was no single approach that would prevent such deaths and injuries but had several suggestions:

  • “Industry is advised to engage in development of protective devices that are effective and affordable for portable pools, including isolation fencing, pool alarms, and safety covers.”
  • “A strong and pervasive consumer education campaign is needed to make consumers aware of the dangers of portable pools, because these small, inexpensive, consumer-installed pools may not generate the same sense of risk as an in-ground pool.”

I, for one, am leaning toward the “sprinkler solution.” Instead of that portable pool in the basement, I’ll stick with the hose and sprinkler approach to cooling off the kids this summer.


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