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How do I Care for a Kiddie Pool?

By J. Beam
Updated May 16, 2024
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A kiddie pool is a great addition to summer landscaping, especially for households with small children and very little yard space. Though most are not large capacity, which makes emptying and refilling after each use tempting, this practice wastes water, time, and money. Learning to care for the pool properly will ensure less waste and more enjoyment, and extend the life of the pool.

Kiddie pools range in size, construction, and capacity, with most holding between 100 and 250 gallons (378.5 to 849.3 liters). The vast majority are of vinyl construction, but some are made of plastic. The key to the longevity of the pool is to purchase a relatively expensive one, constructed of quality material, and then care for it properly.

If you purchase an inflatable kiddie pool, be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions for proper inflation. Once you've inflated the pool and filled it with water, it's perfectly fine for the kids to use immediately. When play time is over, rather than draining 250 gallons of water into your yard or onto your deck or patio only to start all over again, clean the pool, cover it, and it's ready to go for next time.

A kiddie pool can be cleaned by first skimming any debris such as grass and dirt from the surface of the water. Small, handheld skimmer nets sold in the pool care isle of nearly any mass retailer will do the job. Once the water surface is skimmed, add pool sanitizer. Pool sanitizer kills any harmful bacteria in the water, clears out the sweat and sunscreen, and prevents algae growth. There are pool sanitizing products made specifically for kiddie pools and wading pools of 200 to 1000 gallon capacity.

Pool sanitizer comes in granule form and should be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Follow the directions for adding the granules according to the size of your kiddie pool. Sprinkle the granules into the pool, then take a kitchen scrub brush to the bottom and sides of the pool. Lastly, cover up the pool to avoid unwanted debris.

If your particular kiddie pool did not come with a cover, you can create a make-shift cover with either a patio table cover, large grill cover, or similar product. Pool covers for these pools are usually flannel-backed vinyl and have draw strings to adjust the fit. If you can't find the proper sized outdoor furniture cover, use a plastic tarp weighted at the corners.

With proper care, a kiddie pool need only be filled every two or three weeks with heavy use, and less often depending on frequency of play. Once the water becomes too murky or debris becomes too heavy, drain the pool and repeat the process. Your child's pool will stay cleaner and last longer, and there's no need to wait to fill it up before each use.

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Discussion Comments
By anon989958 — On Mar 29, 2015

SpaTime has some nice little test strips and products made for spas that will work great for keeping your kiddie pool nice. In order for your sanitizer (chlorine) to work effectively, you need to keep the water within proper PH and Alkilinity. I just use test strips to test the water daily before getting in. Also, a little pool vacuum (they make some for kiddie pools) will help get the debris out of the bottom.

By anon43622 — On Aug 31, 2009

Furthermore, if the child is given an initial bath using water from any other outside source like showers or the bath and then sent to the kiddie pool then there will be comparatively lesser chances of the bacterial contamination and then treatment will require lesser sanitizer and so on. The aesthetic conditions of the pond can also be maintained with this practice. To avoid entrance of grass and other debris, the kiddie pool can be placed in a clean area.

By anon42505 — On Aug 21, 2009

using the water to actually water things is always a good idea when you do need to empty it. so If you have to empty the pool, try placing it in a different spot in the yard each time. that way the trees or other plants get the benefit of the water too!

By Diwiyana — On Aug 20, 2009

One big, huge, gigantic caveat about keeping your kiddie pool full of water applies here. It all depends on how big your kiddies are, you see. A small kiddie, say, a toddler, can and will drown in as little as two inches of water. So, if you got your kiddie pool for a very little kiddie, go ahead and waste that water. For heaven's sake, drain that pool and don't take a chance on drowning your boobeleh!

By anon42267 — On Aug 20, 2009

Very dangerous to use any cover that is not tied securely *all* around the plastic pool,

to prevent any child from sneaking underneath.

Protect your children from accidents. Weighted at the corners is dangerous.

By frankjoseph — On Jun 22, 2008

For inflatable pools, laying down a tarp before you set the pool down can be a good idea to help protect that pool from being poked by a twig or some other unnoticed debris.

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