Setting it Up
Setting up a kiddie pool is as simple as filling it with water from the hose and leaving it in the sun, right? Wrong. This is where many parents and care providers make their mistake. Improperly maintained kiddie swimming pools can harbor dangerous bacteria that can actually do serious harm to children. The main thing to remember is to read the instructions that came with it. Not all kiddie pools will have the same setup directions, as they are all constructed differently.
Some kiddie pools will be inflatable, while others may be plastic or made of other solid materials. Each pool will have specialized instructions for setting it up. Adhering to those will help to ensure proper kiddie pool safety. Once that part is done correctly, simply fill the kiddie pool with water. According to the Water Quality and Health Council, tap water is already chlorinated, so extra chlorine need not be added to a small backyard kiddie pool. However, that does not mean that it doesn't need to be kept clean and sanitary.
Treatment & Maintenance
To help keep bacteria away and the pool water clean and clear, a kiddie pool should be maintained on a frequent basis. Because bacteria can easily collect in the water of a kiddie pool, it is best to change the water frequently. Younger children often have accidents, leading to contamination. To prevent this, tight plastic coverings can be worn over diapers or undergarments. However, regular maintenance still applies.
If fecal matter is present, just removing it from the kiddie pool is not enough to ensure proper hygiene. Urine can be stabilized with chlorine. However, feces contain properties that are not easily removed in this way. Instead, the pool should be emptied and cleaned. Fresh water should then be used.
General Safety Tips
Both the Water Quality and Health Council and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have listed some general safety tips for using and maintaining kiddie swimming pools.
- When the kiddie pool is not being used, empty the water to prevent accidental drowning. According to the CDC, an average of 10 deaths related to accidental drowning occurred per day in 2005.
- Change the water often. This can help prevent bacterial contamination from fecal matter and other foreign properties.
- All pools should be surrounded by fencing that is at least 4 feet high, even kiddie swimming pools.
- Swimming lessons can help young children. However, there is no substitute for good adult supervision. Even children who have had safety classes can drown in a kiddie pool. Drowning can occur in just 2 inches of water.
- An adult who knows cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, should be present at all times when children are in a pool.
- Avoid using inflatable water toys as sole flotation aids. While these can be fun to play with, they do not have life-protecting properties. Life vests are far more reliable than floating rings, swim wings and other inflatable water devices.