Just a few inches of water in a kiddie pool are enough to drown a child.
"When we think of pool risks, we think of the big pools, complete with deep ends, diving boards and swim parties," said Dr. Nina Shapiro, director of pediatric otolaryngology at Mattel Children's Hospital of the University of California, Los Angeles.
"But more than 10 percent of pool-related deaths in young children occur in what are best known as 'kiddie pools.' These include inflatables, plastic wading pools and larger above-ground pools," she said in a university news release.
Shapiro cited a 2011 study in the journal Pediatrics that concluded portable pools at homes pose a major threat of drowning injury or death to children, especially those younger than 5 years old.
Whether the pool is small or large, there are steps adults should take to reduce children's risk of drowning, she said. For instance:
- Constantly supervise children when they're in and around a pool.
- Have a phone by the pool in case of emergency.
- Around large pools, make sure there's a fence that's at least 4 feet high with a latched gate.
- Have life preservers by the pool and learn CPR.
- Drain kiddie pools when they're not in use and remove toys from kiddie pools when children aren't in them. Toys can be irresistible to small children, who have no concept of personal risk, Shapiro said.
"There is no magic bullet to prevent these horrors. So stock your safety arsenal with layers of prevention so that summer fun doesn't turn tragic," Shapiro concluded.