What to Know About Kiddie Pools

Here are some top tips for buying, maintaining and safely using a kiddie pool.

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Generations of kids have enjoyed kiddie pools during the dog days of summer. Here’s what’s worth knowing before buying one for your family.

What is a Kiddie Pool?

As its name implies, a kiddie pool is a small pool designed for children. It usually measures between three and five feet in diameter and is made of inflatable or hard plastic.

Types of Kiddie Pools

  • Inflatable kiddie pools are made of soft plastic that you inflate with air.
  • Hard plastic kiddie pools save you the trouble of inflating anything, but will take up more storage space. (On the plus side, they can double as sandboxes when not filled with water.)
  • Splash mats are typically made of inflatable plastic and feature a shallow pool area. They are usually inexpensive and a good option for small children.

Kiddie Pool Pros

  • Inexpensive. Even the nicest kiddie pools will cost far less than an in-ground or above-ground pool or a membership to a private club with a pool. Expect to pay anywhere from $10 for a basic inflatable plastic kiddie pool to more than $100 for one with lots of bells and whistles.
  • Easy to set up. Hard plastic kiddie pools require no work on your part while inflatable plastic kiddie pools can easily be inflated with a pump. (No pump? Try using the top half of a plastic bottle and a hair dryer on the cool setting to inflate.)
  • Many options. Kiddie pools range from simple to totally tricked out. Some of your options include slides, play centers, decorative arches and fountain-like sprinklers.
  • Readily available. Once the temperature starts to rise, big box stores like Walmart, Home Depot and Target will stock lots of kiddie pools. More options can be found at online marketplaces like Amazon.⁠ Just know that hard plastic kiddie pools may be limited on the web because they’re tricky to ship.

Kiddie Pool Cons

  • Not usually very durable. This is especially true of inflatable plastic pools, which are prone to punctures.
  • Tap water can present risks. Most people fill their kiddie pool with hose water, which doesn’t usually have enough (or any) disinfectant in it to kill germs. Since it’s not recommended to use chlorine in kiddie pools, there can be an increased risk of kids catching a recreational water illness.

Kiddie Pool Buying Tips

Kiddie Pool Maintenance Tips

  • Check the kiddie pool for tears, punctures, cracks and other damage before each use.
  • If a child has an accident in the pool, clear the pool ASAP before emptying and cleaning it.
  • Let the pool completely dry after each use, then leave it in the sun for least four hours.
  • Regularly clean your kiddie pool with a mixture of one part bleach to five parts water.

Kiddie Pool Safety Tips

  • Help check the spread of germs and viruses by having kids take a shower or bath before using a kiddie pool.
  • Don’t let kids who are sick or ill with diarrhea use the pool.
  • Remind kids to avoid swallowing pool water.
  • Supervise kids the entire time they are in the pool.
  • Learn how to perform CPR on infants, children and adults.
  • Completely drain the pool after each use to prevent an unsupervised child or pet from drowning.

Amanda Prischak
Amanda Prischak is a freelance writer based in Erie, Pennsylvania.