Summer’s here–time to cool down.  Put the kids in the portable pool and forget about it, right?  Wrong!  Every five days a child dies in a portable pool–this according to a recent U.S. study, first of its kind.

From 2001-2009 there were 209 deaths and 35 near-drownings of children, 94% of them under five, and 81% happening in summer.  Horrible.

“The anecdotal evidence was suggesting that because portable pools are readily available in many convenience stores and malls, and they’re relatively cheap, parents would pick them up, take them home, quickly assemble them, and all this would be done without a lot of forethought about the safety aspects,” said senior author, Dr. Gary A. Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

The study looked at portable pools, from wading pools less than 18 inches deep to inflatable pools and other soft-sided pools that can reach depths of 4 feet.  Researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Independent Safety Consulting in Rockville, Md. They say the findings are comparable to drownings related to in-ground pools.  Unfortunately, portable pools don’t have the many safety nets–like pool covers, fences, alarms, and removable and lockable ladders–that in-ground pools can have.

The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals supports “layers of protection,” and the study underscores the importance of active, undistracted adult supervision, said Carvin DiGiovanni a senior director at the Alexandria, VA-based association.

Listen parents–no kidding!  You can’t leave kids in, or near, a pool of any sort unsupervised.  Same goes for bathtubs.  I sure most everyone heard the news of the child drowning in the tub, while mom went to play on FacebookDuh!

I don’t mean to bash people here, because I cannot think of a more painful experience than losing one’s child to a bad mistake.  Nobody’s suggesting that people should be helicopter parents, but c’mon…gotta supervise the little tykes in the water, period.

According to the researchers: children were supervised by adults in fewer than half (43%) of the drownings and near-drownings, and that most (73%) were at home.

Further, the study showed that CPR was administered to the drowned or near-drowned child only 15-17% of the time.  Researchers conclude that it’s high-time every parent learned CPR.  I couldn’t agree more.  Take it from a guy who saved his own mother’s life with basic CPR–you’ll wish you knew it when the time comes unexpectedly.

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