It isn’t just hot outside; this summer feels downright sweltering. So, naturally, everyone’s just looking for options to stay cool. A classic choice? The kiddie pool. Mama gets to kick back with her feet up under the shade of a big umbrella while her progeny splash around and burn off some of their pent-up energy. If your budget allows, you might even spring for an above-ground pool – whether it’s the kind with the flexible plastic walls or the stiffer molded plastic kind. But many families opt for the old-school inflatable pools. Are they the most amazing things ever? No. But do they keep your kiddos cool and entertained as summer stretches on and the temperatures continue to rise? That they do. However, one TikToker recently highlighted an important but often overlooked kiddie pool safety tip: You need to cover your kiddie pool when not in use.
User TripleXVirus came out into his yard to drain his small blow-up pool but quickly found something had gone awry. The problem? A neighborhood squirrel had managed to fall in and couldn’t grapple up the side. He came out to find an alive but slowly drowning animal. If he’d come out minutes later, he might have discovered a dead squirrel instead.
“This is awesome,” TripleXVirus begins, somewhat sarcastically. “I came out to drain my pool, and I see something swimming in it. There’s a freakin ‘squirrel over here … He’s literally drowning.”
The TikToker jumped into action to save the squirrel. He offered him a piece of wood to cling to, then laid the exhausted squirrel down into the grass to gather himself. Many were quick to comment on the user’s tone because he honestly sounds like any other dad trying to save something with a tiny brain.
Could this have been avoided, though? Probably. Like the rest of us, this dad got as far as blowing up and filling the kiddie pool before calling it a day. Since kiddie pools are so shallow and seem like a giant yard toy, it’s easy to assume they’ll be fine if you leave them out and uncovered until the next time your kid wants to cool off. Kiddie pools come with risks, though, and not just for furry woodland creatures. Kids can drown in any depth of water – sometimes even when you’re “right there.” While built-in pools come with their own safety concerns and measures you can take to keep them safe, kiddie pools often go ignored.
However, there are some really simple, easy safety measures all kiddie pool owners can take.
Kiddie Pool Safety Tips
1. Cover Your Pool
There are so many options for covering a pool, and they’re all perfectly effective. You can use cheesecloth and clothes pins to clip it to the edges or toss a large sheet over the top and secure it to the ground with rocks or bricks. If you have a small molded plastic pool, you could even grab a larger pool to turn upside-down over top of it. Not only will this help keep your kiddos and animals safer around the pool, but it also helps keep yard debris out of the water.
2. Leave an “Exit Ramp” in the Pool
Remember how TripleXVirus used a 2×4 to help the squirrel climb out of the water? Sitting a long board or large brick at the side of the pool will help give animals something to climb onto if they still find a way into the water.
3. Consider a Fence / Baby Gate to Baby-Proof
You know how they say “it only takes an inch” to drown in water? There’s probably more than an inch of water in that kiddie pool … so what are you doing to keep it secure in your yard? Let’s face it: A sheet draped over the top isn’t enough to hold the weight of a clumsy toddler. Consider putting your play yard around the kiddie pool when it’s not in use. Turn a playpen upside down over the top of it. Or, if all else fails, drain the pool after each use.
4. Keep Your Water Clean
Covering your pool will go a long way in keeping the water clean. But, you can also treat the water with shock and chlorine just like you would with a bigger pool. If you really want to invest a bit of money and do everything possible to save the water for as long as possible, you could even grab a small pool pump. Keeping the water moving through a filter will help keep the water from breeding potentially harmful algae or bacteria.
Even if you’re jumping through all the hoops to keep your pool clean, you should still change the water regularly. For chlorinated and well-maintained water, pros suggest you change your pool water every two weeks at a minimum. If you’re not doing anything to the water after the hose drops into the pool, you should change the water every other day.
5. Never Leave Kids Alone With the Pool
No matter how good of a swimmer your child is, never leave them unsupervised in or around the pool. Kiddie pools are notoriously slippery (especially as the water gets older). All it takes is one false move for your kiddo to slip, fall, and crack their head or, in the worst and most unthinkable tragedy, drown. Keep someone responsible with them at all times,
Is this going to be a hassle? Yes. Welcome to pool ownership. On the plus side, kiddie pools are still easier than the “real thing,” and it’d be a bummer to try to get through summer without splashing in the cold water of a pool. Just enjoy. mindfully.