Summer is in full effect and pools are open! Time to take out the bathing suits, goggles, and snorkels and hop into the pool. While the family is having fun in the pool, it is important to remember water safety.
I wanted to take some time out to bring attention to some dangerous pool toys you might own. People are often surprised to find out that the “fun pool toys” can actually put swimmers at risk. This is why we are taking some time out to bring attention to some of these items!
1) Mermaid Tails/Dolphin Flippers
Chances are, you have seen one of these at some of the pools you’ve been to. Maybe you’ve seen people swimming around in them imitating your favorite little mermaid. These tails can help you move through the water with grace.
Why they’re dangerous
A recent study measured the swim performance of children wearing the mermaid tales with the following results:
The study found that the majority of children experienced an average decrease of 70% in their swimming ability while using mermaid fins, and a 60% decrease in their swimming ability while using mermaid tails. Younger children experienced greater difficulty than those in older age groups.
If you are familiar with competitive swimming, you should already know how difficult dolphin kick is. The kick requires a lot of energy and it is not something that children can maintain for long. The issue with these fins is that it locks you into the position, making that the only kick you can do. We recommend flippers for a much safer alternative.
2) Inflatable Pool Toys
Try to think of one pool you’ve been to that doesn’t have some kind of inflatable toy floating around. From blow-up flamingos to ice cream cones, anything can be made into a floating pool device. Unfortunately the most dangerous item, is the most common: Inflatable water wings/floaties.
Why they’re dangerous:
The issue with inflatable pool toys is the fact that they provide a false sense of security. A child might jump into the pool with their floaties only to find they deflated overnight. The same issue applies to all inflatable toys in the pool. A general rule: If the item can pop, don’t have someone who can’t swim rely on it. We recommend puddle jumpers, or other coast guard approved personal floatation devices.
3) Kiddie Pools
An easy way to introduce your young swimmer to the water. Throw one of these in the backyard and fill it up with the hose and you have a great way for the kids to enjoy the pool!
Why they are dangerous:
The issue is not so much the actual device. The safety concerns is because it’s easy to overlook. People often don’t realize that children can drown in as little as 2 inches of water. No matter how small the pool seems, it is important to be just as observant as you would be at a larger pool.
It’s very important to us that we all do our part to stay safe in the water this summer. Make sure to always keep an eye out, and always be aware of what’s going on in your pool.