The number of kids in plastic water parks has tripled in the last two decades, according to new research published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Plastic swimming pools in the United States alone account for more than two-thirds of all outdoor water toys, according the study, which used data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
A majority of the children participating in plastic playgrounds have been born before 1991, which means they are at least three to four years older than the majority of those participating in non-pink playgrounds.
The study also found that children in plastic swimming pools were three times more likely to have had a stroke than those in nonplastic pools, and that their stroke risk increased dramatically over the course of their lives.
Plastic pools have been linked to a range of health risks, including respiratory problems, dental problems, and cardiovascular disease.
While the American Academy of Pediatrics recently endorsed a new policy called Preventing Plastic Ingestion and Ingestive Device Use in Children, it still recommends that children stay away from plastic pools, as well as those in which they are more than three feet from the edge of the pool.
In addition to the potential health hazards of swimming in pools, there is the added danger of being hit by a plastic toy when it comes to getting sick from an allergic reaction.
The American Academy for Pediatrics recommends that all parents use common sense when it toggling the toy on and off, and to always supervise their children.
“Kids are at a higher risk of illness and injury from being in a pool than from being outside in a car, but they are less likely to die from drowning,” says study co-author Dr. Stephanie Miller, a pediatrician at the University of Texas Medical Branch.
“It’s not as if a child is being left alone, but if a parent can’t get their child out of the water, that’s a problem.”
The study analyzed data from 4,871 children participating at 19 different pool facilities across the United