Today, an early release article in the journal Pediatrics tells us that pop-up or inflatable kids pools have caused hundreds of deaths in the U.S.
In general, drownings are a leading cause of death in young children — the report put it as the second most frequent cause of death from unintentional injury to kids. In 2006, for example, drownings caused 756 deaths out of 4434 in the country that year.
We’ve heard it before — parents worry about kidnappings and strangers, when car and pool safety are where we should be spending our fretting energies.
But here’s what the report found specifically about the wading pools parents run to the convenience store, pick up, and inflate for the back yard:
The researchers found 244 pool submersions in children under age 12 between 2001 and 2009, with 209 resulting in death — the average age of drowning was 2.2 years old.
Not surprisingly, most occurred in the summer months, and in almost half the cases the pools were described as “wading pools” and were 18 inches or lower in height. The water depth at the time of submersion in the reports ranged from 2 inches to 4 feet. Three quarters of the time, the pool was in the parents’ yard.
In 66 percent of cases, an adult was supervising, and had either gone to chat with a neighbor, answered the phone, fell asleep, or went inside to do chores.
The point of the article is that little kiddie pools can be just as dangerous as full-fledged swimming pools. The researchers speculated that parents don’t think of these small splash pools as dangerous, but that kids can drown in just the smallest amount of water. They say pools should be emptied immediately after use, and parents should think about gates, locks, or covers to make sure little kids don’t have access to pools on their own.
Stay Alert: Babble’s 10 Pool Safety Tips for Kids!