Swimming Pool Toy Safety

As summer approaches, more families are making use of public and private swimming areas. Swimming pool toys are a common addition to a day of fun in the water, as they provide children with added entertainment and convenience. While swimming pool toys can be enjoyable for children, it is important for parents and guardians to remember pool toy safety. These toys are not safety devices. Some products, such as inflatable swimming pool toys, can prevent hazards such as flipping and submersing children into the water unexpectedly. For safety reasons, swimming pool toys should never take the place of close adult supervision.

Pool Toy Flipping

Inflatable swimming pool toys present the possibility of flipping and capsizing while children are using them. These types of swimming pool toys include inner tubes and rafts. Special inner tubes designed for infants feature underside netting designed to support the infant’s rear and legs and prevent slipping through. However, tipping of these swimming pool toys can be life-threatening. When parents or guardians are not at arm’s reach, tipping can lead to drowning.

Habitat Pool Floats

Commonly called “habitats,” there are specialized pool toys which may feature walls and roofs. As indicated by the name, these toys give the image of a home or habitat in which small children can play without water submersion. However, research on swimming pool toys and their safety has shown that some of these toys may flip or capsize easily.

Choking Hazards

Small swimming pool toys and water toys may present choking hazards. In 2012, manufacturing company Dunecraft recalled a line of water toys designed to expand when placed in water. The marble-sized toys grew to up to 400 times their original size. The products were recalled after an eight-month-old child swallowed a pre-expanded unit and suffered an intestinal blockage as a result. The toy required surgical removal.

Lack of Warning Labels

A main issue with swimming pool toy safety is a lack of safety labels on products that pose potential dangers, such as flotation devices. Many experts and organizations urge manufacturing companies to include warning labels and directions for use on product packaging. The American Society for Testing and Materials has issued safety standards for flotation toys, and urges companies to include warning labels. While a number of manufacturers comply with voluntary standards set for these products, many fear that the general public may be uninformed and unprepared for the potential dangers.

Toys Are Not Safety Devices

It is a common misconception that foam and air-filled pool toys are meant to act as safety devices. Toys such as “floaties,” inner tubes, or “noodles” should not be used in place of life jackets, swim vests, or other personal flotation devices (PFDs) that are approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. Additionally, parents and guardians should continue to constantly supervise swimming children, regardless of whether they are playing with floating swimming pool toys.