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Kiddie Pools

Get details on the benefits and safety precautions associated with kiddie pools.

Kiddie pools offer a chance to splash and play for children too young for larger pools. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Kiddie pools offer a chance to splash and play for children too young for larger pools.

Kiddie pools are fun for small children, especially those who are too young to swim in a large pool. They offer kids a chance to splash, play and cool off on a hot summer day. Those purchasing a kiddie pool, from parents and grandparents to day care centers, may be surprised, and perhaps overwhelmed , by the many styles available today.

Inflatable Kiddie Pools

The low price of inflatable pools makes them particularly attractive to the consumer on a budget. These pools don't need to be winterized with expensive chemicals, and they take up little storage space once deflated. Inflatable pools are easy to assemble -- all that is required is an air pump.

According to ServiceMagic, an online resource that connects customers with home improvement professionals, the majority of kiddie pools on the market today are inflatable, and consumers have many options when choosing this type of pool.

Very small, shallow pools are available for babies and toddlers. These pools hold only a few gallons of water, are brightly colored and have inflatable toys attached to them . Larger inflatable pools are available for children who are at least 3 years old. These pools hold about 55 gallons of water and are 5 feet wide.

Some inflatable pools are several feet deep and large enough for the family. These large kiddie pools may hold 180 or more gallons of water and are more than 7 feet wide. Larger inflatable kiddie pools typically have drains to make them easier to empty.

While inflatable pools are generally inexpensive, costing about $25, those with special features (such as slides and water fountains) can be a considerable amount more, ranging upward of $200.

Hard Plastic Kiddie Pools

Hard plastic kiddie pools are another option when choosing a kiddie pool. These pools, commonly called wading pools, are sold at discount, grocery and hardware stores. They typically are 4 or 5 feet wide, with the smaller size costing only about $10. Their main advantage is simplicity: Individuals need only fill them with water from a hose and they're ready to use. If well-cared for, a hard plastic kiddie pool may last several years . Today's hard plastic kiddie pools come in bright colors, and some have a small sliding board.

Because they're sturdy, hard plastic kiddie pools are great wading pools for dogs, as well. Some companies even cater to dog pools that are specifically made of chew-resistant materials and are shaped like a large paw or a bone. These pools cost much more than hard plastic kiddie pools, however, so consumers should expect to pay from nearly $200 to $400.

Hard plastic kiddie pools have some disadvantages. They take up more storage space than inflatable pools when not in use. Inexpensive pools that don't have a drain are difficult to flip over, since the pools are heavy when filled with water. Some children don't like the feel of the hard surface of these pools.

Kiddie Pool Safety Precautions

Despite their innocent appearance, kiddie pools can be dangerous for young children who are unsupervised. A 2007 article from CBS News recommends treating the kiddie pool like a full-size in-ground pool and supervising children appropriately.

Inflatable pools can pose a safety risk if the water is not emptied after each use. An article from the WashingtonPost.com warns that inflatable pools are dangerous and have been responsible for many drowning deaths. Because larger inflatable pools come with filters and pumps, users often think they do not have to be drained.

Kiddie pool drains can also pose a threat to young swimmers. In 2007, a 6-year-old girl was seriously injured after sitting on a kiddie pool drain. Drains can also catch hair and other body parts, like fingers. Make sure the kiddie pool has a good drain cover to prevent such accidents, and be sure to provide adequate traction around the pool area to prevent slipping when entering and leaving the pool.

Kiddie pools can still be a fun treat for everyone during the summer months; however, those supervising need to remember to take proper precautions to insure that everyone is both safe and healthy when in or around the pool this season.

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