It’s 85 degrees out, and your kids are complaining about the heat, so you pick up one of those plastic or blow up portable pools at the store to splash around in. They’re cheap, low maintenance and though it would be nice... you don’t need a pool boy.
But the Consumer Product Safety Commission is taking to the airwaves this week to give parents a warning before summer kicks into full swing: Use common sense precautions if you set up a plastic or portable pool in your backyard. The Feds say about 35 kids under the age of four die each year in these pools. CSPC Chairman Inez Moore Tenenbaum warns, "1 in 10 pool drownings each year are related to portable pools. A child can drown in just inches of water, so parents and caregivers need to constantly supervise kids in and around these pools."
The pools in question are usually are about 18 to 48 inches deep, can hold anywhere from approximately 200 to more than 5,000 gallons of water and range in price from around $50 to $750. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports there's been a recent increase in the sales of these pools and the group's Technical Report on the Prevention of Drowning says, “These pools are often left filled for weeks at a time, which presents a continuous danger. The soft sides of some models allow children to lean over and easily fall into the pool headfirst.” The report also points out that many parents don’t consider fencing their yards in if they leave a portable pool unattended and usually the pools aren’t included in local municipal building codes regarding pool fences.
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Plastic and Portable Pool Precautions
Of course these pools are a great, low budget way to cool off in the summer, but the CPSC says be smart about using them, you'll keep your kids and other children in the neighborhood safe. Tenebaum says it's simple, "We want parents to know that if they have a portable pool, they should cover it, drain it, or fence it in."
So be sure to:
• Empty and put away smaller portable pools after every use.
• Once the pool is set up, ensure high levels of supervision.
• Fence portable pools and encourage your neighbors to do the same.
• Cover larger portable pools and put access ladders away when adults are not present.
• Install alarms on doors leading from the house to the pool area that will alert you when someone enters the pool area.
• Teach children to swim, float and other basic life-saving skills.
• Do not consider young children “drown-proof” because they’ve had swimming lessons.
• Make sure your neighbors, babysitters and visitors know about the pool’s presence in your yard.
• Learn and practice CPR so you can help in an emergency.
For more information click here to read the CPSC’s safety guide for portable pools.
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