Pool safety critical as more families stay home during coronavirus pandemic

Pool safety critical as more families stay home during coronavirus pandemic

BOSTON — As the weather heats up, many families in Massachusetts are opting to stay home this summer to protect themselves from coronavirus.

Backyard inflatable pools have become an easy buy to keep your family cool, but they actually could put your children at risk for drowning more than in-ground pools.

“The biggest risk of accidental death for children ages one to four is drowning, that is higher than anything else they could get into,” said Dr. Brenda Anders Pring, a Boston pediatrician representing the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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Dr. Pring said 12 children die a week in the United States from drowning. It’s a shocking number that may force parents to take a look at their backyard set up as the summer kicks off.

“Unfortunately, because of the pandemic a lot of people are changing their plans, spending a lot more time at home. In our climate, we don’t have a lot of pools, so people are putting in makeshift pools or above ground pools, blow-up pools, finding out ways to get through the summers,” said Dr. Pring. “The risk is almost higher because it’s right there in your yard and it may not be your child it could be a neighbor’s child.”

A spokesperson with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said those small inflatable pools should be emptied and put away right after use not matter how small in size.

“It only takes a few inches of water for a child to drown so if you use an inflate pool or portable pool you empty it and put it up out of the reach for children,” said Nikki Fleming, spokesperson for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Fleming said if you do have a standard in-ground or above ground pool, multi-layers of protection are needed, like a full fence and alarm. Fleming said a child could drown within a matter of seconds.

A 4-year-old Shirley boy was hospitalized at Boston Children’s after nearly drowning in a pool last week. Luckily, first responders were nearby.

Pediatricians echo that parents must be certified in CPR training and should know to call 911 and remove the child from the water if there is an emergency.

The family of the boy is still asking for privacy at this time.

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