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.
- 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.
- 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
Portable Pools in the News
- Study: Portable Pools as Risky as In-Ground Pools (Boston Herald)
- Portable Pools Claim a Child's Life Every 5 Days (MSNBC)
- Health Buzz: Portable Pools Pose Drowning Risk (US News & World Report)
- Portable Pools Pose Drowning Risk for Tots (USA Today)
Additional Portable Pool Safety Information
- PubMed Abstract: Pediatric Submersion Events in Portable Above-Ground Pools in the United States, 2001-2009 - July 2011
- Press Release: New Study Uncovers the Dangers of Portable Pools - June 20, 2011