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Florida Swimming Pool Safety : Portable Pools Pose Infant and Child Drowning Risk, Pediatrics Journal Reports

As a Miami, Florida swimming pool accident lawyer sadly knows, swimming pool drowning accidents are a leading cause of death in infants and children, in Florida and around the country. Any Southwest Florida injury attorney with experience in this area is aware of the swimming pool accidental drowning risk to babies and children.

When lay people think of infant, toddler and child swimming pool accidents and accidental drownings, the obvious dangers of in-ground swimming pools come to mind. Decks and diving boards are slippery. The deep end is treacherous. Even the shallow end is above a small child’s head. Swimming pool drains pose a suction risk that could entrap infants and children on the pool bottom (a much-discussed topic in the Florida pool industry — see related drowning injury attorney article links below). Parents and other adults also be aware of the dangers of above-ground pools, where children can slip and fall in the water and drown.

Anyone who has flown into Palm Beach, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood or Miami, Florida airports can see that Southwest Florida is dotted with literally thousands of swimming pools. These include pools at private residences, condos and hotels, and public pools in South Fla. communities. Now, the journal Pediatrics has published a report highlighting a backyard child safety hazard that people may not be aware of: portable swimming pools.

According to new research, the increase in popularity of portable swimming pools poses additional dangers of infant and child death by drowning. Plastic and inflatable portable swimming pools are a staple in backyards across America. They are affordable, and installation is as simple as inflating the pool or just plopping it on the lawn, and filling it up with the garden hose. These include wading pools, inflatable pools, and soft-sided rising pools. But the low cost and ease of setup does not mean the pools don’t pose drowning risk to babies and kids.

Using data collected from the Consumer Products Safety Commission between 2001 and 2009, Pediatrics reports these startling statistics:

  • Some 209 children under age 12 drowned in portable swimming pools, while another 35 survived portable pool accidents.
  • 73% percent of the accidents happened in the child’s own yard, and in 94% of the cases, the children were younger than age 5.

The report goes on to say that portable pools do not come with the safety options that in-ground and above-ground swimming pools may offer, such as locking gates, pool alarms and pool covers. Swimming pool safety advocates recommend that parents be vigilant if they’ve purchased these pools for their young children, and do not let the children use the pools unattended. The experts go on to say that drowning can occur in just 12 inches of water. Sadly, childhood drowning death often occurs when children are unsupervised in swimming pools, including portable pools.

Portable Pools Increase Drowning Risk (video and article)
ABCNews.com June 20, 2011
Pediatric Submersion Events in Portable Above-Ground Pools in the United States, 2001–2009
Pediatrics, accepted March 10, 2011
Related Florida Swimming Pool Accident Lawyer articles:

Florida Swimming Pool Safety Alert : Pool Drain Covers Recalled for Entrapment Hazard, Could Lead to Drowning Accidents (May 2011)

Swimming Pool Safety Law Update: Child Advocates Concerned About Compliance (Jan. 2009)