Portable swimming pools are potentially more dangerous than stationary
models, according to the first U.S. study involving child drownings in
The reason, experts say, is that the inflatable pools - which are relatively
inexpensive, readily available and don't require professional installation
- don't generate the same sense of risk among owners, according to
the study appearing in the journal "Pediatrics."
"Parents think if something is sold without a barrier it doesn't
need one. It's safe," said Richboro resident Beverly Payton,
a water safety advocate whose 3-year-old daughter drowned in a neighbor's
unsecured pool in 1988. "You have to think of it as a monster in
your backyard ready to eat your child."
The new study found that a child in the U.S. died every five days in portable
pools during warm weather months. Between 2001 and 2009, there were 209
deaths nationwide and 35 near-drownings involving children under age 14.
More than 90 percent of the children were under 5.
Researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio and Independent
Safety Consulting in Maryland say the findings are comparable to drownings
related to in-ground pools.
The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates an average of 5,100
pool or spa-related submersion injuries were treated in hospital emergency
departments each year from 2008 through 2010. Most involved children younger than 5.
The new study focused on temporary swimming pools, ranging from wading
pools that are less than 18 inches deep to inflatable pools and soft-sided
pools that can reach depths of 4 feet.
Study researchers found that many safety features, such as fencing, pool
alarms, safety covers and removable ladders used with permanent pools
are too expensive or not easily available for families who buy stationary pools.
Strong-Garner-Bauer P.C. handles premises liability cases, including swimming
Contact our firm for experienced counsel.