What You Need to Know About the Dangers of Inflatable Pool Toys

Our gorgeous South Florida weather makes year-round pool parties a viable option. Unfortunately, these festive occasions are not without risk of pool accidents.

The Florida Department of Health reports our state leads the nation in annual fatal child drownings for children younger than five years. In fact, the rate of drowning for kids ages one to four was 6.98 per 100,000 (based on statistics gathered between 2007 and 2009, the most recent available data).

These statistics serve as a sobering reminder of the importance of pool safety, no matter the environment. Your child could be subject to injury or accident even while in the midst of a bustling backyard get-together.

One of the most over-looked sources of risk or injury is inflatable pool toys, so avoid dangerous toys the next time you head to the pool. Below are a few things you need to know about the dangers of inflatable pool toys and how you can protect your children.

Steer Clear of Pool “Habitats”

The Good Housekeeping Research Institute (GHRI) found enclosed pool toys to be especially dangerous. The toys were found to flip easily, putting children at risk for injury (from striking the sides of the pool) or drowning (especially if the children were ejected into deep water).

Some of the toys were so slippery, children fell into the water while attempting to climb them during testing. Testers also noted that some enclosures had “blind spots” that prevented parents and other supervisors from safely monitoring children inside. Other toys were so flimsy as to easily collapse under the weight of one child. The GHRI advised parents to avoid the use of habitat toys altogether.

Don’t Mistake Inflatable Toys for Flotation Devices

Inflatable pool toys (including rafts, tubes, water “wings” and other toys) are not intended as life-saving or safety devices.

Inflatable toys are not a substitute for:

  • life preservers;
  • adult supervision; and
  • swim lessons.


Many inflatable pool toys can easily flip, sending a child into the water or trapping the child below the surface.

Beware of Too Many Toys in the Pool

An abundance of inflatable toys in a pool can make it difficult for even the most vigilant adults to supervise a pool party. Young swimmers can become “lost” and difficult to spot among the toys. Even one single, large toy can obscure the pool’s bottom, making it impossible to spot when a young swimmer is in distress.

Pool Toys Should be Properly Stowed

Inflatable pool toys are an irresistible temptation for small children and should be safely stowed when not in use. This includes any time when there is no adult supervision in the pool area.

For instance, if everyone were to head inside for lunch or birthday cake at a party, toys should be locked away in a pool shed. The pool fence/gate also should be latched and locked to prevent access to the pool and any dangerous toys.

Was your child injured at a pool party? Contact us at Chalik & Chalik — we’re parents too; we understand your top concerns. Call 888-476-4697 or contact us online.