Everyone is using backyard inflatables these days. With social distancing guidelines in place, we’ve all been spending a lot more time at home. However it is important to note that, while inflatables can be a lot of fun, they can also be quite dangerous. That said, if you’re taking the proper precautions, you can stay cool in your own backyard all summer long!
So let’s take a look today at some of your favorite backyard inflatables, along with some tips to keep you safe.
Why the Sudden Popularity?
Backyard inflatables have been around for years, but suddenly they are one of the summer’s hottest commodities. They’re selling out all over! Well, this really makes sense when you think about it. People are spending more time outdoors, but social distancing is still recommended. Luckily, we already know that COVID-19 doesn’t survive in water. So it’s no wonder inflatable water toys are all the rage this season.
If you’ve been lucky enough to get your hands on one of these, you should remember that the excitement can end abruptly and turn to serious injury if you aren’t careful.
Popular Backyard Inflatables
Kiddie and Inflatable Pools
We say this a lot on this blog, but drowning is the leading cause of drowning for kids under four years of age. Not only that, kids can drown in as little as two inches of water. All of this aims to remind parents that a kiddie pool is still a pool.
Similarly, all the same rules should apply to a kiddie or inflatable pool as they do for a permanent one. Children should never be left alone in the water. In addition, there should always be active supervision by an adult whose main focus is the safety of those in the pool. Here’s a report from Consumer Reports about these dangers.
Inflatable Water Slides
Inflatable water slides are the king of backyard inflatables. However, there are a number of safety risks associated with them. First, make sure the slide is positioned on level ground to avoid tipping over. The plastic that these toys are made of often gets slick. When your child is climbing to the top, be sure that they are careful not to slip. When they slide down, they should be sure that the previous person who used the slide is out of the way. This will avoid potential collisions. Last, some water slides require electricity to operate. Electric currents and water are obviously a dangerous combination. Keep children away from this power source.
Floating Pool Toys
Inflatable pool toys can be awfully inviting. In fact, that’s part of the problem. Young children may be tempted to play with these toys. If they try to reach them when no one is watching, and slip into the water, tragedy can quickly follow. As such, when it isn’t active pool time, these and any other pool toys should be immediately removed from the water. When children are permitted to be in the water with the toys, pay close attention. You’ll want to be absolutely sure that a child doesn’t get trapped underneath one of the larger toys, like blow-up rafts.
Water Wings, or Swimmies
While water wings, “floaties” or “swimmies” can seem like a safe bet for your children, think again. These floatation objects can cause a false sense of security and prevent adults from paying proper attention to a child that is in the pool. They should not take the place of active supervision. In addition, the floaties can pop, turning them into a drowning hazard. If you you’re taking a precaution in the pool, and want a reliable floatation device, it’s best to go with a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
Other Safety Tips for Backyard Inflatables
Here are a few additional safety measures you should consider when using backyard inflatables this summer:
- Deflate any inflatables when they are not in use. This will be less of a temptation for young children.
- Clean toys and inflatables before putting them away. A moist surface can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Beware of the water temp when using water from a hose to fill these floatation toys. If a hose is sitting outside, the sun can heat up the water that’s inside the hose, producing scalding hot water.