Inflatable and Plastic Kiddie Pools
Inflatable or plastic kiddie pools and inflatable water slides, with a small pool at the bottom, can bring fun to your summer. But they can also pose a drowning risk and spread germs that make children sick. Keeping a close eye on children when they are in the water and knowing how to properly clean the pool or water slide after they’ve used it can help ensure a safe and healthy experience for everyone.
Germs can spread more easily in kiddie pools and water slides
Drowning occurs quickly and quietly
- Always closely supervise children when they are in or around water. Supervising adults should not be involved in any distracting activity, such as using their smartphone.
- State or local laws in your area might require fences or barriers around inflatable and plastic kiddie pools and water slides.
Small inflatable or plastic kiddie pools and water slides don’t have the same protection against germs that a swimming pool, hot tub, or water playground do. That’s because it is unsafe to add germ-killing disinfectants, such as chlorine or bromine, to the water in kiddie pools and water slides.
It is not safe to use bleach or pool disinfectant (chlorine or bromine) in the water in small inflatable or plastic kiddie pools and water slides for a few reasons:
- A large portion of the water can be lost quickly through splashing or from spilling out, making it hard to figure out how much disinfectant should be added.
- They don’t have filters to remove debris such as leaves, dirt, or skin cells which can use up the disinfectant needed to kill germs.
Because disinfectants are not added to the water, germs can spread more easily in small inflatable or plastic kiddie pools and water slides.
Larger inflatable or plastic pools will require a filter and disinfection. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for filtering and disinfecting these types of pools to prevent the spread of germs and protect everyone’s health.
It is NOT safe to add disinfectant to water in small inflatable or plastic kiddie pools and water slides.
Clean the pool or water slide daily
The water in small inflatable or plastic pools and water slides should be emptied at least daily to help prevent the spread of germs. After emptying the water from the pool:
- Remove any debris.
- Rinse off any dirt with fresh water.
- Let the pool or water slide air dry.
Keep sick children out of pools and water slides
Germs that cause diarrhea or vomiting can spread in inflatable or plastic kiddie pools and water slides. These germs include Cryptosporidium, norovirus, Shigella, and Escherichia coli. If someone who is sick with one of these germs has diarrhea or vomits in the water, they can contaminate it. If another person swallows this water, they can get sick.
To help keep others healthy, children who are sick with diarrhea or have been vomiting should stay out of small inflatable or plastic kiddie pools and water slides. This is particularly important if children from different households use the pool or water slide.
To prevent the spread of germs, small inflatable or plastic kiddie pools and water slides should not be used at child care programs, schools, camps, or similar locations where there are children from multiple households. This includes child care programs in private homes.
How to clean and disinfect if a child poops or vomits in the pool or on the water slide
Take these steps, even if the child is wearing a diaper:
- Get children out of the water.
- Put on disposable gloves.
- Remove as much poop or vomit as possible and dispose of it safely (for example, put the poop or vomit in a plastic trash bag or flush it down the toilet).
- Pour out or drain all of the water.
- Clean and disinfect the surfaces of the pool or water slide. Do the same for any objects that were in the water with the poop or vomit.
- Clean surfaces with soapy water.
- Rinse soapy water with fresh water.
- Allow surfaces to air dry completely.
- Disinfect dry surfaces using a bleach solution.
- Dilute ½ cup of household bleach (5.25%–8.25%) in 1 gallon of room-temperature water. Do not use “splash-less” bleach.
- Apply bleach solution to all surfaces.
- Follow the manufacturer’s application instructions for the amount of time the bleach solution should stay on the surfaces. If no instructions are available, leave the bleach solution on the surfaces for 6 minutes.
- Rinse with fresh water.
- Allow surfaces to air dry completely.
- If the poop was diarrhea, leave the pool or water slide and the objects in the sun for at least 4 hours after they are completely dry.
- Remove gloves and place in a plastic trash bag with all dirty cleaning materials.
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.