This is a heavy-duty, solid pool. With a very large, removable, UV-blocking shade, everyone in the pool can be covered without having views completely obstructed. Pool can hold several people at once comfortably, and will hold up for a longer time than softer models, which can rip and tear more easily. Attaching a hose creates an inside-roof water sprayer, for an additional cooling effect on those extra hot days.
Large size not a great fit for very small yards/spaces. With the size and ability to fill deep, infants and small toddlers should be closely supervised. Can take a long time and a lot of water to fill.
Fills quickly, especially considering the large water capacity. With 4 cushioned seats and backrests, this comfortably sized lounging pool lets kids or adults sit, splash, lounge and play while enjoying the outdoors. Well-sized for a lawn or patio. Drain plug for faster draining. Comes with a repair patch for holes.
Some have problems with the air plug leaking, or other hard-to-find leaks that make the pool unable to hold air.
This is what many people grew up with as a backyard kiddie splash pool. Simple to use, lightweight, made of soft material and uber affordable, this little splash pool is great for yards, patios and other areas that have limited space available. Best for one or two small children.
Suggested age of use begins at two. With just over 6 inches of water depth, it’s too deep for anyone younger than that.
This pool features two small seats, and a molded bottom for better traction. There's an accompanying sun umbrella that can be attached to offer shade, and included funnel cups and a water wheel for in-pool play activities. We like that it is designed for a slightly wider age range than many kiddie pools meant for infants or toddlers only, which means you'll be able to get more use out of it.
Hard plastic and no drain makes it slightly more difficult to empty than a soft vinyl pool. On the small side.
With a small splash pool that includes a removable full shade tent (front opening), featuring 50+ UPF protection, this product ensures baby doesn't miss out on the fun at the beach. Made of a lightweight material, this is easy to carry, easy to assemble, and is built with pegs to help anchor everything to the sand. Water can be easily dumped out and the lightweight material dries so baby can lie in the shade for a nap.
Slightly more expensive than a typical splash pool. Designed primarily for infants/toddlers only. Can be tricky to package up.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
With about 70% of the earth's surface covered with water, not being comfortable in an aquatic environment can be somewhat limiting. The best approach is to be introduced to water at a young age so you can learn to fully enjoy it. Properly supervised playtime in a kiddie pool is an easy way to have that much-needed one-on-one time with your child while also fostering a love of the water.
There is a large variety of kiddie pools available, and finding the right one for your child depends on a number of features. Size, depth, and design are three important elements to consider, but you also need to take into account a number of other factors.
To learn more about what to look for and how to stay safe in a kiddie pool, keep reading. If you're ready to buy and just looking for the best, consider one of the kiddie pools we've spotlighted in this guide.
When choosing the best kiddie pool for your needs, there are four factors you should consider first: size, depth, sun protection, and construction.
How big of a kiddie pool do you want? The smallest ones are more like an inflatable tub and can be set up nearly anywhere. The larger ones – especially those that remain up all season – need a designated area that is level and free of debris that could damage the pool. You also have to think about the age of the child using the pool and how many children could potentially be in the water at the same time.
When considering depth, think about the size of your child. If you have a baby, two feet is too deep. In fact, even kiddie pools that are designed for active toddlers often have a fill line that is only six inches deep. Be sure the pool you’re looking at is shallow enough for your child to be able to play freely (with adult supervision).
Direct sunlight can be dangerous and lead to health issues in later life. Because of this concern, more and more kiddie pools are designed with built-in shade to help protect your child from direct sunlight. Note that this isn’t a replacement for sunscreen, which can only be applied to babies who are six months and older.
There are two main types of kiddie pools you need to consider: inflatable and rigid.
Inflatable: Inflatable kiddie pools are convenient, easy to transport, and affordable, and they offer a much wider variety of additional features. The downside is that they can take a while to inflate and are very fragile.
Rigid: Rigid pools are a little more durable, but they still must be treated with care. They take up more space, making one harder to transport and store than an inflatable kiddie pool. On the plus side, a rigid pool sets up quickly and isn't as susceptible to punctures as an inflatable pool. It’s still possible to find molded plastic kiddie pools, but these can crack from direct sunlight and might have sharp edges that aren’t safe for younger children. They are the easiest to set up but the hardest to store.
It's not a joke or an urban legend: if you’re in a kiddie pool, there's more than water in that pool with you.
Pool time for the whole family
This pool was created for parents who want to share the water with their kids and not just bask in the hot sun. This Intex pool has four built-in seats with backrests and is recommended for ages three and up. The sides of this inflatable pool are 26 inches tall, and it holds approximately 200 gallons of water.
Before purchasing a kiddie pool, you'll want to be sure it's as fun as it is functional. In addition to the above considerations, you'll also want to think about the following to find the best pool for your needs.
If your child enjoys water sprays, slides, basketball, ring toss, or other activities, look for a kiddie pool that has these desirable features.
Inflatable kiddie pools offer the widest range of designs. You can find almost anything your child enjoys, whether it's certain colors, a specific theme, or a favorite animal. If your child wants a dinosaur-themed waterpark with a slide, it's available.
Suitable for adults
There are a number of kiddie pools that are not only larger in size but also have built-in seats so mom or dad can cool off while supervising. If this sounds appealing to you, look for a kiddie pool with this feature.
It’s possible to use some of the smaller kiddie pools year-round. If it fits in your playroom, it can turn from a kiddie pool into a ball pit during the colder months.
Portability and storage
If your kiddie pool survives the summer, you'll need a place to store it. This is where the inflatable pools become appealing because most can compress down to a small enough size to fit on a shelf during the off-season.
Anything that’s on you or your child when you enter a kiddie pool will be in the water. This includes sweat, body oils, lotions, and hair products.
Inexpensive: A kiddie pool is one of the most affordable forms of healthy entertainment you're likely to find. There are several small inflatable pool options available at or around $10. These are the no-frills, “blow it up and fill it with water” models. Most can also be used as ball pits.
Mid-range: As you move up in price, from around $17 to $25, you'll find small kiddie pools in the shape of animals, as well as some rigid pools (that you don’t have to inflate). Additionally, some kiddie pools in this price range offer shade.
Expensive: From $25 to $40, you can get an inflatable water playground with slides and other activities. Alternatively, you’ll find larger-size rigid pools.
Premium: If you’re looking to spend more than $50, you want the pool to be large enough to accommodate a lounging adult or be a more permanent pool. If you're not getting an appreciably larger size or a more durable item, the pool might be overpriced.
A kiddie pool is an excellent way to safely introduce your child to water-themed recreational activities.
Affordable and fun
This Intex pool is lightweight and affordable, and at just 45 inches it’s small enough to fit in any backyard. The water fills to about 6.5 inches and so is recommended for kids who are older than two. The pool takes about ten minutes to inflate, and it comes with a repair patch. If you prefer, it can be used as a ball pit instead – about 200 balls will do the trick.
Kids and adults appreciate options. Although the kiddie pools we've spotlighted elsewhere in this article are all highly rated items, there are a couple more pools we'd like to bring to your attention. The Intex Sunset Glow Baby Pool is an affordably priced, brightly colored option suitable for one child. It’s perfect for that all-important one-on-one bonding time. If the shark is your child's favorite fish, the Intex Sandy Shark Spray Pool is one you’ll want to consider, not only for the design but also for the sprayer spout that attaches to a hose, effectively increasing the pool's fun factor.
Q. At what age can a baby use a kiddie pool?
A. A baby can drown in just two inches of water. However, if parents are vigilant, distraction-free, and focused, you can introduce your baby to water as early as six weeks old. The vigilance doesn’t diminish as your child gets older because it can take less than 20 seconds for a child to drown.
Q. My child is still in diapers. Can she go in our kiddie pool?
A. Yes, but you want her in a swim diaper because there are definite problems that arise with regular diapers when they’re immersed in water. Regular diapers absorb, so they can quickly cause an issue with weighing your child down in the water. Additionally, regular diapers quickly deteriorate – soiled diaper bits are not what you want floating around in your pool. If there is an accident, you should dump the water and start over.
Q. How much chlorine should I add to a kiddie pool?
A. This is a hotly debated issue. Pool companies want you to buy chemicals to sanitize and balance the water, while the position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is that it’s not as effective as you might think. The levels are hard to monitor, and it could be dangerous – just a dash of chemicals in a smaller pool can make the water unsafe. If you choose to side with the CDC, use no chemicals. If you side with the pool companies, you need to really know what you’re doing so you don’t inadvertently harm your baby.
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