Inflatable and Portable Pools
Kids Can Drown Without a Sound!
The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN) is conducting a state-wide portable pool safety campaign “Kids Can Drown Without a Sound” for English and non-English speaking community groups. The campaign was developed after experts were concerned by the number of children experiencing drowning and near drowning incidents in portable swimming pools.
The campaign poster and brochure and the Protect Your Pool, Protect Your Kids checklist that have been produced to raise awareness among the community of the safety issues and fencing requirements associated with portable pools will soon be available to download in English and 16 community languages.
For hard copies of the poster and brochure in English, Arabic, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese, please fill out this order form and email to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to (02) 9845 3562.
The Protect Your Pool, Protect Your Kids checklist is also being translated into 16 community languages and will soon be available for download from the pool fencing section of the website.
Inflatable pools can be more risky than pools that have been built.1 This is because most of these pools do not have fences and some are not able to be emptied after use due to their size. Without fences children have easy access to the water in the pool, placing them at high risk of drowning.
Of the children under the age of five who drown in NSW, about 50% occur in swimming pools.2-3 Drowning in inflatable or portable pools has been increasing over the years in America with a peak of 29 deaths in 2009 (see Table 1).4,5,6
Table 1: Drowning in Inflatable or Portable Swimming Pools, America
In NSW, over a quarter (28.2%) of all drowning deaths among children in backyard swimming pools, occur in inflatable or portable swimming pools.7 8 of the 11 deaths (72.7%) that occurred in inflatable or portable pools between 2007 and 2011 did not have a fence which was required under the Swimming Pools Act 1992 (NSW).
Please click here to view a paper developed by Kids Health which includes further information on the issues with inflatable and portable swimming pools.
- Small pools should only be used if you will empty and store them away after each use.
- Use larger portable pools only if you are willing to fence them.
- Fines apply if you do not have a four sided fence around any pool that can be filled with more than 30cm of water (the size of an average ruler)
- Inflatable and portable pools are not toys and children under the age of five should be supervised by a responsible adult at all times.
Please visit the pool fencing section of the website for more information on safe pool fencing.
To watch a news story on inflatable pool safety, please click on the following links:
1. Shields BJ, Pollack C, and Smith GA. (2011) Pediatric submersion events in portable above-ground pools in the United States, 2011-2009. Pediatrics. 128(1):45-52.
2. IRMRC. Injury related hospitalisations (unpublished data). Sydney: NSW Ministry of Health; 2012.
3. Royal Life Saving Society Australia. The 2011 New South Wales Drowning Report. Sydney: Royal Life Saving Society Australia; 2011.
4. Miles J. Wal-Mart Sued Over Inflatable Pool Drowning. Pool and Spa News. 2009 June 23 [cited 2010 Jan 17]. Available from: URL: http://www.poolspanews.com/2009/062/062n_walmart.html
5. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). As Pools Open for Summer, Young Children Face Drowning Risks. CPSC: Washington DC. 2006 May 17 [cited 2010 Jan 17]. Available from: URL: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml06/06164.html
6. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)-National Injury Information Clearinghouse. Inflatable pools (unpublished data). CPSC: Bethesda, MD; 2012 January 6.
7. NSW Child Death Review Team. Child deaths: Drowning deaths in private swimming pools in NSW. NSW Ombudsman: Sydney. 2012 April.