Family Health: Keeping Kids Safe Around the Pool

Photography by Bart Everson, via Flickr (CC)

With a long weekend on the horizon, our thoughts are shifting to pool parties, swimming at the lake and cooling off at the local water park. When it comes to keeping kids safe around pools and lakes, one piece of advice is always key: close supervision is a must. But a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics shows that inflatable and other “portable” pools are just as dangerous as their in-ground and above-ground counterparts when it comes to cases of drowning, reports Reuters.

The study’s researchers looked at data from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission regarding pool-related injuries and fatalities among children younger than 12, between 2001 and 2009. The study revealed that of the 209 fatal and 35 non-fatal cases, 94 percent involved children younger than 5 years old and 73 percent took place in the child’s yard.

“Because portable pools are generally small, inexpensive and easy to use, parents often do not think about the potential dangers these pools present,” said Dr. Gary Smith, study author and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, in a news release. “It only takes a couple of minutes and a few inches of water for a child to drown.” In the United States, a child dies every five days in a portable pool during the summer months.

Bottom line? Portable pools are a great way to cool off during on hot summer days, but swimming lessons or water wings alone will not keep your little one safe, regardless of how small the pool or how deep the water. Proper supervision and education are the keys to safety, so go over water safety with your kids the same way you would for the lake or the water park.

For more information about water safety, visit out our guide to preventing accidents in the water.

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