Injury Research and Policy Portable Pool Safety :: Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio

Portable Pool Safety

Portable pools, which include wading pools, inflatable pools and soft-sided, self-rising pools, can be a low-cost and easy-to-set-up alternative to expensive in-ground pools and waterpark visits. Yet many parents underestimate the potential dangers associated with these products. During the summer in the U.S., a child drowns every 5 days in a portable pool. By taking a few precautions, parents and caregivers can help children remain safe as they cool off during hot summer days.

Preventing Unsupervised Access to Pools

  • Only allow children to be in the pool area when an adult is present to supervise.

  • Empty wading pools immediately after use.

  • The safest option is to place the pool inside a fenced-in area of the yard. The fencing should:

    • be non-climable

    • be at least four feet high

    • have self-closing and self-latching gates that open away from the pool

    • not have any spaces under the fence or between uprights that are more than four inches wide

  • Remember that the safest type of fencing is isolation fencing, which is 4-sided fencing that goes around the pool only.

  • Remove items that could be used by a child to gain entry to the pool area.

  • If possible, remove steps and ladders leading from the ground to the pool when the pool is not in use and keep these items locked away.

  • Use door locks and alarms to prevent children from going from the house into the pool area without an adult.

Swimming Rules

  • Children should never swim alone or only with other kids. An adult should always be present when children are in a pool.

  • When watching children in the pool, the adult’s full attention is needed. Avoid distractions such as reading, doing chores, talking on the phone or chatting with others.

  • Have children take swimming lessons and learn about water safety.

Poolside Safety

  • Keep toys out of the pool when not in use.

  • The following items should be kept by the pool:

    • warning signs

    • CPR instructions

    • a telephone and emergency telephone numbers

    • a shepherd’s hook

    • life jackets

Additional Portable Pool Safety Information

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NBC TODAY Show: Inflatable Pools: Dangers of Drowning
Portable Pool Safety
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