Pool toys are any objects that are used for entertainment in and around the water. They include noodles, floaties, dive rings, inflatable rings, kickboards, beach balls and inflatable rafts. They can be a lot of fun, but it is important to be aware of the dangers they can present.
When left in and around the pool they attract the attention of children who may try to get through or over a fence or reach out to try and get the toy from the pool’s edge. For this reason, all pool toys must be securely stored out of sight and reach of children and never left in the pool when not in use.
Toys, such as floaties and noodles, can also make a child seem more competent in the water, providing parents with a false sense of their child’s swimming ability. This can mean parents leave the pool area to do something else and do not actively supervise their children.
Pool toys can also be used to reach someone in trouble, although only as a last resort. Royal Life Saving recommends using a reach pole or a personal flotation device as part of a ‘reach or throw rescue’ so make sure you store one of these items around the pool for emergencies.
When purchasing pool toys, you should check the age and weight ranges recommended for them, ensuring your child is not too old or too heavy to use them. You should also ensure that children do not use pool toys for any purpose other than that for which they are recommended. Floaties should have three inflatable chambers and fit snugly around the child’s arms.
Pool toys that are inflatable, should be deflated when not in use, checked for leaks before use and all pool toys regardless of whether they are inflatable or not, should be stored securely, out of the sight and reach of young children. Never leave pool toys in the pool when they are not in use.
Children must be supervised whenever in, on, or around water. Pool toys do not replace the need for active adult supervision.