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-climbable
    • 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 Resources

  • Pediatric submersion events in portable above-ground pools in the United States, 2001-2009