Always Drain the Kiddie Pool

Cynthia Dermody
Toddlers & Preschoolers

Summer Safety Guide

toddler drowning risksEvery day I seem to hear about another toddler drowning accident and it freaks me out because my kids are both in that precarious age bracket between wanting to be in the water and not knowing how to swim.

The most recent tragedy that popped up in my Google Alerts involved a 19month old boy not five miles from my home. For some reason, the proximity makes the danger all the more real to me.

This tot was asleep for the night (or so it seemed) and in the care of his 15 year old cousin, while his mother ran out for a quick errand. For some reason the 15 year old thought it would be fine to leave the house and go fishing, since the mother would be right back.

The little boy busted down the baby gate, went outside, and climbed up the steps to the above ground pool. The mother found the toddler unconscious in the pool a short while later. He was brought to the hospital, but it was already too late.

I bought my kids a $24 kiddie pool this weekend. It's the kind with the PVC sides and the plastic liner that you roll out and fill up. It's a pain to drain, and I hate wasting water, but I told my husband yesterday that we HAVE to empty it each night bar nothing. Even though we only fill it a few inches, I have nightmares of one of the neighbor kids coming over when we're not there and drowning.

“Children can drown in even the smallest body of water including toilets, decorative fountains, bath tubs, and buckets," Wendy Pomerantz, an emergency room physician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, reminds me.

Childhood drownings and near-drownings can happen in a matter of seconds, and many occur when the child is left alone for just a few minutes, she says. Two minutes after submersion, a child will lose consciousness. Irreversible brain damage occurs after four to six minutes.

I can't think of a better reason to get a little messy and waste some water.

Click for more safety tips around water.

Do you drain your child's kiddie pool after each use? How carefully do you watch your toddler, even if they are playing in only a few inches of water?

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