With the heat of Arizona’s summertime comes the desire for pool time. While swimming is a great form of exercise and recreation, it can still be a dangerous activity, especially for children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 800 children drown per year, with two-thirds of these deaths occurring between May and August.
Pools with elements such as diving boards, ladders, suction lines, and surrounding decks present many risks to swimmers of all ages. However, many parents fail to recognize that a great amount of risk also comes from pool toys. Here is our list of the most dangerous pool toys this year.
Surprisingly, a pool toy that parents choose to help their kids swim is one of the most dangerous – floaties. Many parents rely on floaties to help their children stay safe in the water, however, it’s that surety that is part of the problem.
Both children and parents get a false sense of security when unskilled swimmers use floaties. With these, children learn that, even if they go underwater, they will pop back up above water. However, most children who are young enough to wear floaties often can’t connect that the floaties are responsible for keeping them above the water.
Just like with socks and hats, children often discard what they see as burdens – and floaties can feel that way. In a flash, they could remove them, and be left to the dangers of the water. The worst part of it is that the process will likely be silent. Parents may look away for a second, and that’s all it will take for a child to slip out of their floaties – and under the water.
Many of the same risks apply to other flotation devices. For an alternate solution, parents should instead focus on giving their child swim lessons. Floaties can be fun once the children already understand the dangers of the water. In the interim, Coast Guard-approved flotation devices are much more reliable than floaties.
Larger Pool Toys
Just because a company markets its product as a pool toy does not automatically mean the toy is suitable for use in a pool. Many larger pool toys, such as inflatable boats and large inner tubes, can cause problems when used in a pool. The smaller size of a pool and depth in comparison to natural waters makes these toys dangerous.
Many of us recognize that these toys are prone to capsizing. For younger swimmers, this can create a huge risk. A child may flip over on a larger pool toy and subsequently become trapped upside down underneath the water.
While you don’t need to throw these toys out, consider limiting their use to larger bodies of water, such as the beach or lakeside. If you do use them in a pool, make sure you are extra aware of the hazards these toys pose.
Inflatable Pool Slides
Pool slides are already a great risk factor because it is easy for a child to slip while climbing, which often leads to a fall on concrete or an unprepared drop into the water. The potential for serious injury from such falls is high.
Inflatable pool slides bring another level of risk to swimming. Unlike a regular pool slide, which is at least somewhat sturdy, an inflatable pool slide only has air to keep it steady. An inflatable pool slide can easily become unstable or even deflate. Children who are climbing on the slide could easily lose their balance and fall, risking the same types of injuries as regular pool slides.
One of the newest trends in pool toys are pool “houses,” which create a mini habitat for children to sit in while in the pool. These three dimensional toys include walls and a roof. Much like inflatable pool slides, these toys’ dangers come from the potential for instability or deflation but also because it’s harder to keep an eye on the children.
Because the house seems stable, a child may fall off the house while playing around. If the house starts to deflate, children may have a hard time detangling themselves from the roof structure.
These toys are not made perfect, they’re not made to save lives and because of those reasons it’s important to keep a good eye on a child who doesn’t know how to swim. However, in some cases it could be a product defect claim if a pool toy or pool accessory is defective. In these circumstances you should talk to a Las Vegas wrongful death attorney who can help you find options.