One adult should be watching children in the pool or spa at all times. Even if there's a lifeguard. Even if the kids can swim. Pledge to use the Water Watchdog system to divide supervision responsibilities; pass on the Watchdog tags when you're ready to switch.
Inflatable Swimming Pools are an Unacknowledged Risk
Minneapolis, July 24, 2013- Summer is in full swing. The sun is shining and the beaches and pools are packed. And the Consumer Product Safety Commission has declared July 28 through August 3rd as Pool Safely Week. Most people know the dangers a public, municipal pool poses for an unattended child, but do those same people perceive small, inflatable pools found in backyards and retail stores all across America to be just as dangerous?
"The number of children who drown in inflatable pools has increased as these pools have become more affordable and available," said Katey Taylor, co-founder and President of Abbey's Hope Charitable Foundation. " Abbey's Hope wants to remind all parents and caregivers that inflatable pools pose the same risks as in-ground residential and public pools."
An average of 280 children under the age of five drown each year in swimming pools, and far too many of those deaths are in these inexpensive, inflatable pools that have been incorrectly deemed less dangerous than pools with a "deep end."
Inflatable pools that are about 2-feet deep can cost as little as $50, and larger pools that are up to 4-feet deep and 18-feet wide can cost under $400. The price makes these pools easily accessible to parents and the low barrier to entry makes them easily accessible to children. The sides of inflatable pools are flexible, often slanted and low, making it easy for a child to quickly climb in without supervision.
Smaller backyard, inflatable swimming pools also often fall outside of local building codes that require barriers, and parents purchase them without considering the cost and need for installing extra protection to prevent children from drowning.
To reduce the risk of drowing, Abbey's Hope Charitable Foundation recommends "layers of protection" to be installed around all pools, including smaller, inflatable pools available at most larger, big-box retail stores. Here are some layers of protection and tips you can implement this summer to help prevent tragedy:
- Install a fence with self-closing, self-latching gates that completely surrounds the pool.
- If the house forms a side of the barrier, you can use alarms on doors that lead to the pool area.
- Use a safety cover on larger backyard pools when they are not in use.
- Empty smaller backyard pools when they are not in use.
- Remove any structures that may provide access to the backyard pool (outdoor furniture, entry ladders and playground equipment).
- Keep toys away from the pool when the pool is not being used since toys can attract children to the pool area.
Additionally, parent who are serious about water safety should consider taking the Water Watchdog Pledge and following the pledge when supervising children in the smaller, inflatable backyard pools.
About Abbey’s Hope:
Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation is a Minnesota nonprofit organization named after Abbey Taylor, the Edina, Minn., 6-year-old who died in 2008 as a result of injuries sustained in an improperly maintained pool drain cover.
The Foundation’s goal is to:
- Promote awareness of and education related to child safety issues, including educating pool owners, operators, inspectors, and the general public about the dangers of pool entrapment, evisceration and drowning and the need for physical inspections of pool equipment.
- Work with the pool and spa industry to improve the design of its products, packaging and warning labels, and assist in the development of product safety standards related to such products.
- Identify and provide support and assistance to organizations and programs that help educate parents, children, and pool and spa manufacturers about the prevention of entrapment and traditional forms of drowning.
Find out more about Abbey’s Hope at http://abbeyshope.org.