Scary news to keep in mind as temperatures rise: A child dies in a portable pool every five days during warm-weather months, according to the first US study on child drownings in such pools. Researchers found that 94% of the children were under 5, and 81% of the accidents happened during summer months. The study focused on portable pools, from small wading pools less than 18 inches deep to inflatable pools and other soft-sided pools that can reach depths of 4 feet.
They say the findings—which showed 209 deaths of children under 12 from 2001 through 2009—are comparable to drownings related to in-ground pools. Many safety methods used for permanent pools, such as fencing, pool alarms, safety covers, and removable or lockable ladders are too expensive or not available for families who purchase portable pools, the study’s author said. But safety methods or no, supervision is the best safeguard against drowning; the study shows that children were supervised by adults in only 43% of the drownings and near-drownings. (Read more drowning stories.)