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The Best Kiddie Pools for Babies and Toddlers

Beat the heat this summer with a backyard kiddie pool.
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Updated May 15, 2024
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Want to avoid the crowds at the public pool or simply in the mood for some refreshing recreation at home? Enjoy all of the thrills and spills in your own backyard with a kiddie pool. While buying an inflatable baby pool may seem like a no-brainer, there are actually a few factors to consider. A wide range of styles and designs are available, and what may work well for one family may not for another.

To figure out what toddler pool will be the perfect fit for your household, shop our list of the best kiddie pools around below. Plus, check out our top safety, set-up and sanitation tips for added peace of mind.

How We Chose the Best Kiddie Pools

To help you find the best kiddie pool for your family, we did the bulk of the research and researched dozens of options from leading online retailers. This way, you don’t have to spend hours scrolling. Here are the steps we took to create this roundup:

  • We interviewed a pediatrician to understand how parents should safely set up and use a kiddie pool at home.
  • We researched what was being said about kiddie pools in The Bump community forums to learn what parents liked and disliked about specific styles and brands.
  • To understand how these kiddie pools have worked for families, we conducted exhaustive market research, scouring external forums and message boards and reading user reviews to find out what parents across the country looked for in a baby pool.
  • We consulted water safety recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and read up on hygiene tips by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Lastly, we considered several aspects when sourcing kiddie pools to include in our roundup, such as size, material, price point and play features, to name a few.

Editorial integrity is at the heart of everything we publish. Read about how The Bump develops and reviews all articles, including product reviews.

Best Kiddie Pools To Shop

Overall best kiddie pool

Intex Sunset Glow Kiddie Pool
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon|$22.99
What We Love
  • Easy set up
  • Inflatable base
  • Affordable price point
Things To Consider
  • Rings have to be inflated separately

When it comes to choosing a kiddie pool, many parents opt for inflatable styles due to their versatility and how easy they are to store. Take this option from Intex, for example. The blow-up kiddie pool is made up of three separate rings. While they have to be blown up individually, parents appreciate that this means if one pops, the others will stay intact. Moreover, this plastic pool for kids has a cushioned bottom layer to keep little ones comfy as they splash and play. ellewoodsSC, a parent from The Bump community forum, is a fan of this feature, saying, “inflatable kiddie pools with the padded bottom are nice to use over hard ground or deck because of the added protection they offer.”

Measuring 58 inches in diameter, it’s a great option for siblings, cousins or playdates with friends. As an added bonus, this inflatable kiddie pool comes with a patch kit. This way, you can easily repair tiny scraps or holes in minutes. However, according to Ashlee Neuman, content director for The Bump and mom of two, that hasn’t been an issue, even though she’s had the pool for several years. “It's super sturdy and durable—no leaks to date! Just be warned, it would take a whole lot of lung capacity to blow this up; we use an air compressor to make quick work of the job,” she says.

Dimensions: 58" (L) x 58" (W) x 13" (H) | Capacity: 79 gallons | Age rating: 2+ years

"I've had this kiddie pool for four+ years and definitely recommend it! It's big enough for me and my two little ones to be in at the same time but small enough to fit comfortably in my itty-bitty Brooklyn backyard." – Ashlee N., content director for The Bump and mom of two

"We got a smaller, inexpensive Intex 3-ring pool from Amazon, and after a summer of splashing around, we used it indoors as a ball pit." – elwoodsSC, The Bump forum member

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Most durable kiddie pool

VISTOP Hard Plastic Shell Portable Swimming Pool
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon|$64.95
What We Love
  • Ultra-durable material
  • Compact folding design
  • Convenient drain plug
  • Several sizes available
Things To Consider
  • No age rating

Durability is another key factor that parents consider when shopping for kiddie pools—which is why this option was a no-brainer for our roundup. This super-sturdy style features a thick, non-slip PVC inner layer complete with a high-strength, hard plastic shell. Together, these materials result in a highly durable kiddie pool that will stay firmly in place and can withstand scratches. That being said, the best part has to be the clever design, which can be folded compactly for simple setup, storage and portability. No air pump is needed here; you can just unpack it and it’s good to go. Even better, it’s also dog-friendly, so four-legged family members can join in on the fun as well. Get ready for tons of adorable videos of your pup and kiddo splashing together!

Dimensions: 67" (L) x 67" (W) x 12" (H) | Capacity: N/A | Age rating: N/A

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Best baby pool

What We Love
  • 3-in-1 design
  • Removable sun canopy
  • Travel-friendly
Things To Consider
  • High price point
  • No drainage holes

Babymoov’s Aquani Marine is specifically designed for the smallest of sunseekers. The mini oasis functions as a baby beach tent, ball pit and wading pool. In tent mode, it’s the perfect spot for a mid-morning nap, thanks to the removable mosquito net and cushioned base. And when you want to turn it into a “paddling” pool for your baby over 6 months old, simply remove the comfort mattress and fill the waterproof base with up to 20 gallons of water. The best part? It sports a large UPF 50+ canopy that blocks up to 99 percent of harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Dimensions: 35" (L) x 35" (W) x 24" (H) | Capacity: 20 gallons | Age rating: 6 months to 10 years

Buy Now

Best kiddie pool play center

Intex Dinoland Backyard Play Center Kiddie Inflatable Swimming Pool with Slide
Image: Target
What We Love
  • Cushioned slide
  • Plenty of fun play features
  • Convenient drain plug
Things To Consider
  • Thin base
  • Some parents say it’s tricky to inflate

When the kids are getting antsy and you can’t face the local splash park, tide them over ‘til the next time with the Dinoland Backyard Play Center from Intex. This inflatable kiddie pool actually features two wading areas—a smaller one up top and a larger one below—so it’s ideal for siblings to use together while still offering them separate spaces. What’s more, this blow-up kiddie pool is packed with other fun features. Some highlights include the ring toss held by an orange dino and brightly colored balls that can be rolled down the volcano-inspired back wall. But even with the prehistoric critters swimming alongside them, one part of this pool impresses kids more than anything else: The extra-cushy slide with a safe landing pad at the bottom! Once this toddler pool is set up, you can count on it to entertain your kiddos for plenty of sunny afternoons to come.

Dimensions: 131" (L) x 90" (W) x 44" (H) | Capacity: 77 gallons | Age rating: 2+ years

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Best kiddie pool with a canopy

Intex Sun Shade Inflatable Kiddie Pool
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon|$43.99
What We Love
  • Extra-wide sunshade
  • Convenient drain plug
  • Inflatable base
Things To Consider
  • Air pump sold separately

If your outdoor space doesn’t offer much shade or you’re searching for more sun protection, look no further than this kiddie pool. The blow-up design is complete with an extra-wide sunshade that covers the entire swimming area for added protection from harmful UV rays. Attached by Velcro, the canopy can also be removed when it’s not needed. The simple style features beachy illustrations along the sides—plus, it’s made from 10-gauge vinyl for added durability. Last but not least, this large kiddie pool has an inflatable bottom, so your kiddo will be cushioned as they play, whether placed on your deck or in the grass.

Dimensions: 62" (L) x 62" (W) x 48" (H) | Capacity: 78 gallons | Age rating: 2+ years

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Best kiddie pool with activities

What We Love
  • Full-coverage umbrella
  • Built-in activities
  • Doubles as a sandbox
Things To Consider
  • Small size
  • Low water capacity

What do you get when you combine a water table with a classic hard plastic paddling pool? The Step2 Play & Shade Pool—which offers the best of both worlds. With this engaging pool, toddlers can splash around and use the funnel cups to activate the spinning water wheel. It has two molded seats that hold up to 50 pounds each, meaning siblings or friends can play side by side. And parents don’t have to worry (too much) about slips and falls, because the bottom of this small kiddie pool is embossed with sea creatures that provide traction for tiny feet. Better yet, it comes with a detachable sun umbrella that provides a shady spot for summertime fun.

Dimensions: 40" (L) x 40" (W) x 52" (H) | Capacity: 12 gallons | Age rating: 2 to 10 years

Buy Now

Best large kiddie pool

Evajoy Large Inflatable Kiddie Pool
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon|$72.99
What We Love
  • Durable PVC construction
  • Can be easily emptied
  • Stays inflated
Things To Consider
  • Air pump sold separately

Many above-ground pools are billed as kiddie pools, but they call for more advanced assembly and sophisticated filtration systems (or adding chemicals to keep them clean). For something that’s safer for kids and easier for parents to set up, turn to Evajoy’s large kiddie pool. It doesn’t have any crazy bells and whistles, but the roomy pool comfortably fits two adults or up to five kids—so if your little ones want a party, they’ve got it! Bonus: This inflatable kids’ pool doubles as a ball pit. What’s not to love?

Dimensions: 118" (L) x 72" (W) x 20" (H) | Capacity: 312 gallons | Age rating: 3+ years

Buy Now

Best cheap kiddie pool

Sun Squad Wading Kiddie Pool
Image: Target
Buying Options
Target|$12
What We Love
  • Affordable price point
  • Doubles as a sandbox
  • Timeless design
Things To Consider
  • No drainage holes

You probably remember splashing about in a kiddie pool like this when you were younger, right? The streamlined, no-fuss hard plastic design has been around for decades—with good reason. BananaPancake, a member of The Bump community forums, says, “I recommend the hard plastic pool as opposed to the inflatables, just because they're so much easier to clean and you can move them daily so that you don't hurt the grass."

The Sun Squad Wading Kiddie Pool is no exception. It’s easy to set up, easy to dump out and easy on the wallet as well. Plus, the embossed design around the perimeter and on the base helps slippery feet gain traction. It’s made from lightweight yet extremely durable plastic that won’t bend or cave inwards when you pick it up. Not bad for $12!

Dimensions: 45" (L) x 45" (W) x 8" (H) | Capacity: 26 gallons | Age rating: 3+ years

Buy Now

Best kiddie pool with a slide

Little Tikes Slam 'n Curve Inflatable Water Slide with Blower
Image: Walmart
What We Love
  • Huge slide and rockwall
  • Air pump included
  • Sturdy ground stakes
Things To Consider
  • Best for older kids
  • High price point

If you plan to use a kiddie pool regularly, this one by Little Tikes is a worthwhile investment. It boasts an incredible water slide that flows into a spacious wading pool area—plus, a climbing wall and basketball hoop to keep energetic kids busy. We also like the fact that it’s large enough for multiple children to use at once but folds compactly for easy storage. However, it’s important to point out that if you’re using this kiddie pool with preschoolers or younger kids, the large size can make it tricky to stay within arm’s length of your child.

Dimensions: 168" (L) x 108" (W) x 84" (H) | Capacity: 350 lbs. | Age rating: 5 to 10 years

Buy Now

Kiddie Pool Safety Tips

Kiddie pools are great places for your little ones to cool off on a bright sunny day, but safety should never be overlooked. “Drowning is one of the leading causes of death in childhood, so safety in any type of water is key,” advises Loretta Cody, MD, a board-certified pediatrician based out of Connecticut. According to the AAP, babies can drown in 1 or 2 inches of water in as little as 20 seconds. Drowning occurs quickly and quietly, so the AAP recommends constant adult supervision whenever a child under the age of five is near water. “Never leave your baby alone in water. Always have a good support on your infant and stay within an arm’s reach of a toddler,” Cody explains. When your child is using the pool, always have your eyes on your child. “Don’t text or use your phone,” says Cody. The AAP and Cody both advise parents to never leave the pool filled with water when not in use. After using it, “store the kiddie pool dry and in an upright position,” says Cody.

Between the ages of one and four, the AAP suggests enrolling your child in swimming lessons as an initial step toward water safety; “if your child seems ready, it’s a good idea to start lessons now.” Currently, the AAP doesn’t recommend infant swim classes “because there is currently no evidence that infant swim programs for babies under 1 year old lower their drowning risk.” That being said, you could enroll in a parent-baby swim class with infants over the 6-month mark as a fun activity to help your infant get used to the water while being safely in your arms.

What To Look For in a Kiddie Pool

Beyond safety concerns, there are several design specs you’ll want to consider when picking out a kiddie pool. Keep the following features in mind as you shop:

  • Size. Think about what size baby pool will fit best in your space—and about what size would be best suited for your child’s age, says Cody. While you probably won’t find hard plastic options that exceed 45 inches in diameter, inflatable varieties are available in a wide range of sizes. (For instance, a mini round pool at 40 inches or a towering activity center pool that soars to over 12 feet high). Remember that larger pools are heavier and less portable, and inflatable options need to be blown up. Some come with a manual or electric pump, but others don’t, which means you’ll need to provide the air via a pump or your own lungs.
  • Easy-to-store design. Cody suggests looking for a kiddie pool that’s easy to store. If you’re short on space, inflatable pools can come in clutch, as they can be emptied and compressed after each use. Hard plastic pools must either sit out (which isn’t the best idea when animals are afoot) or be stored inside a home, garage or shed.
  • Age suitability. Kiddie pools are generally suitable for toddlers, little kids and tweens. Some baby pools are appropriate for infants as young as 6 months old, provided they’re sitting up without assistance. Use the pool manufacturer’s age recommendations as a reference point, but never as a reason to leave the pool unattended.
  • Shade. A dip in the kiddie pool is super refreshing, but when the sun is shining, shade is a wonderful thing. Kiddie pools with canopies or alcoves work well, but the best options include full-coverage sun shades or an umbrella to protect kids from harmful UV rays.
  • Special features. From slides and sprinklers to climbing walls and ring toss games, options abound when it comes to kiddie pool add-ons. However, remember that these “activity center” pools still have water in them, so slips and falls are bound to happen. This is why you’ll want to set up on a soft, level surface like grass (versus a driveway). Keep in mind that features enjoyed by older children—think sprinklers, sprayers or waterfalls—may be bothersome or overwhelming for younger toddlers and infants.

How To Keep a Kiddie Pool Clean

Kiddie pools lack filtration systems and should never be treated with chemicals (chlorine or bromine). As disinfectants are not added to the water, germs can easily spread in small inflatable or plastic kiddie pools and water slides. To avoid a grotty pool, regular cleaning sessions are a must. The following cleaning steps are recommended by the CDC:

  • Drain or dump the water after every swim session
  • Remove any debris
  • Rinse off any remaining dirt using fresh water
  • Leave the pool to air dry

If your little one gets sick or soils themselves in the pool (with or without a swim diaper), it’s important to clean it out as soon as possible. If any poop or vomit is floating around, you’ll want to put on gloves and use a bag or a filter to scoop all of the particles out before cleansing the rest of the area. In general, it’s best to “keep sick kids out of a kiddie pool,” says Cody.

About the writer:

Danielle Halibey is a contributing writer for The Bump, where she pens e-commerce content focused on baby and toddler gear, pregnancy and postpartum must-haves, and thoughtful gifts for everyone in the family. Over the last seven+ years, she’s become a trusted voice for new and expectant parents as they navigate the beautiful yet sometimes chaotic journey of raising little ones. No matter which publication she’s writing for (from Babe by HATCH to Cubby at Home), she delivers carefully curated product roundups highlighting the latest trends, safety considerations and value for money—all to help parents make informed purchasing decisions.

Sources

Loretta Cody, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician based out of Connecticut. She received her medical degree from New York Medical College and completed her residency at Yale New Haven Children's Hospital.

Healthy Children (AAP), Infant Water Safety: Protect Your New Baby from Drowning, November 2019

Healthy Children, Swim Lessons: When to Start & What Parents Should Know, May 2023

CDC, Inflatable and Plastic Kiddie Pools, September 2020

Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial process.

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