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.