About 40 percent of the drownings happened in a shallow wading pool, Smith said.
"That's in 18 inches or less of water," Smith said. "Children can drown in very small amounts of water. Very young children can drown in a five-gallon bucket with water in the bottom. It only takes a couple of inches and a few minutes."
"Close supervision of young children around water is really important, but supervision alone isn't enough," he continued.
While a variety of safety measures such as alarms and fencing are available for in-ground pools, Smith said, this is not the case for portable pools. The researchers call for industry development of affordable fencing and reliable pool alarms and covers for portable pools.
Many techniques used to deny access to in-ground pools, such as fencing, cost more than a portable pool itself, he said. "We have to come up with other strategies that are affordable and effective for portable pools."
Experts said the study also raises concerns about pool ladders. "Most of the kids got into the pool using a ladder that was provided with the pool," Smith said.
He suggested removing the pool ladder when no one is bathing and storing it where children can't get to it.
Dr. Barbara Gaines, director of trauma and injury prevention at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, said that "this reminds us that while water is very inviting for children, it is also extremely hazardous."
Parents need to be very watchful when their children are in and around water, including pools, ponds and bathtubs, Gaines said. "Never underestimate water."
Gaines advises parents who have wading pools to empty it out when the pool is not in use. "That's the safest thing," she said.
Also, parents must actively supervise their children, Gaines said. "Someone has to be on pool duty."
All rights reserved