MONDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- Portable swimming pools, including the increasingly popular, inflatable models, pose serious risks to young children, experts warn.
In a new study, investigators at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, detail the drowning deaths of more than 200 children under 12 years old linked to a variety of above-ground pools, some large and deep, others small and shallow.
"About every five days a child drowns in a portable pool in the U.S.," said lead researcher Dr. Gary A. Smith, director of the hospital's Center for Injury Research and Policy.
Because these pools are inexpensive and easy to assemble, many parents may not consider them as big a risk as in-ground pools, he said. The greatest risks are for children younger than 5 years, the researchers found.
The report, published in the June 20 online edition of Pediatrics, highlights the need for safety precautions around all pools, safety advocates said.
"Safe Kids has been concerned about the increasing use of backyard pools that are too small for consumers to consider investing in fencing but too large to make them easy to empty and secure safely after each use," said Meri-K Appy, president of Safe Kids USA in a statement Friday. "This important study confirms our speculation that portable pools in backyards across America pose special risks to young children."
For the study, Smith's team used 2001-2009 data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. During this period, the researchers identified 209 drowning deaths and 35 near-drownings in children under 12.
They found that 94 percent of the children were under 5 and most (56 percent) were boys. In addition, about three-quarters of the deaths took place in the child's own yard, usually during the summer.
More than 40 percent of the drownings occurred when the child was being su
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