Portable Pools May Pose Submersion Risk for Children

Majority of cases involve boys, children younger than 5 years, and happen in a child's own yard

MONDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- The majority of pediatric submersion events in portable pools involve children younger than 5 years and take place in the child's own yard, according to a study published online June 20 in Pediatrics.

Brenda J. Shields, from the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and colleagues examined the epidemiology of pediatric submersion events occurring in portable pools in the United States. Injury and fatality data collected from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission pertaining to fatal and nonfatal submersion events involving children younger than 12 years in portable pools between 2001 and 2009 were analyzed.

The investigators identified 209 fatal and 35 nonfatal submersion cases, with 94 percent of cases involving children younger than 5 years and 56 percent involving boys. A total of 73 percent of cases took place in the child's own yard, and 81 percent during the summer months. From 2001 to 2005, there was a rapid increase in the number of submersion events, which leveled off from 2005 to 2009.

"The use of portable pools in residential settings poses a significant risk of submersion-related morbidity and mortality to children, especially in the <5-year-old age group," the authors write. "A strong and pervasive consumer education campaign is needed to make consumers aware of the dangers of portable pools, because these small, inexpensive, consumer-installed pools may not generate the same sense of risk as an in-ground pool."

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