Today I’ve got the scoop on the BEST toddler pool I’ve ever used!
Summertime means a lot of time outdoors, a lot of time in swimming pools and can often also mean many trips to the beach.
Infants and toddlers can be especially tough when swimming in large pools or in the ocean water. When you attend a pool party with LOTS of kids in the swimming pool (whether it’s an in-ground pool or above ground pool) it can be overwhelming for the younger kids and can be anxiety-inducing as a mom to keep eyes on everyone everywhere.
Same goes for the beach! The ocean is unpredictable and taking a baby or toddler out in the crashing waves can be more worrisome than enjoyable.
We take a family vacation to the beach every summer and as we have added to our family we’ve grown accustomed to purchasing an inflatable pool every summer. We pack it in our beach stuff and then spend time blowing it up in the hot summer sun so our baby or toddler can play in it.
For years we had a plastic baby pool to use in our backyard beside our inground swimming pool as it was a great spot to keep the little ones safe and happily playing with their toys out of the way of the wild older kids!
Over the years we have learned a LOT about baby pools and toddler pools and have discovered THE very best toddler pool option!
Disclaimer: post contains affiliate links.
Disadvantages of a Plastic Pool
As I mentioned, for several years we kept a plastic baby pool in our storage shed to drag out to our pool deck for times when we had company over to allow little kids to play safely out of the larger swimming pool.
I didn’t LOVE this situation for many reasons. One being that the plastic pool is a more expensive backyard pool option and can sometimes be tough to find! It’s not like you can order the massive thing on Amazon!
So when I needed to replace it I’d have to go from store to store in search of them and they are often only available before summer when stores bring out their summertime merchandise.
Another disadvantage of a plastic pool is that it’s crazy tricky to store. It takes up a ton of space in our storage shed and it’s such a hassle that we usually end up just leaving it sitting out by the pool all summer so we have a wading pool on hand.
Having the plastic kiddie pool sitting out causes it to fill with rainwater, staining on our pool deck, or breakage if we try to store it upside down or leaning against something. It can also easily blow away in a storm or become damaged in bad weather.
Another downside? We were still stuck buying, and replacing, inflatable pools for travel. It’s not like you’re going to load up a big plastic pool anytime you go on family vacation to the beach right?
We eventually transitioned to no longer investing in plastic pools and instead just using inflatable pools for both our backyard baby pool as well as our travel beach pool too.
Disadvantages of Inflatable Pools
Inflatable pools are convenient to take on trips because they deflate for easy storage. They are easy to keep on hand in our backyard to blow up whenever we have guests over to swim. Inflatable play pools also provide a great spot for a play center to keep babies entertained when mama needs to do a million things 😉
However, they are also SUCH a pain.
For starters, you have to inflate the inflatable kiddie pool anytime you want to use it.
It’s not too bad if you have an air compressor or pump on hand to do the tough work for you, but who brings an air compressor to the beach? Or to a friend’s backyard pool party?
Instead, one adult is stuck blowing up the pool while the other has to manage to keep an eager infant or toddler entertained while they wait, often impatiently, to be able to play in their inflatable pool.
Summertime is hot. Kids come with a LOT of needs for things. So typically the parents are already worn out from lugging all the beach essentials down to the sand and then have to spend time sweating in the sun while blowing up a baby pool.
On top of that frustration, inflatable swimming pools can be easily damaged. All it takes is an eager toddler with a stick and boom – their toddler pool dreams are over.
One pop and it’s DONE.
While inflatable pools are easy to store, they also get easily damaged in storage. Every summer we tend to pull out our above ground blow-up pool only to realize it’s now got a rip or tear or hole in it or is in some other way unusable.
We end up having to rush order a new one, which adds up over time! When you have four kids and have to buy a new play pool every summer it gets pretty frustrating and starts to feel like a waste of money.
I knew there HAD to be a better option out there. So I went hunting for the best toddler pool I could find. And I had success!
(I do have to say though that the rainbow ring inflatable swimming pool was dang cute for pics!)
The Best Toddler Pool
In all my years of searching for an infant pool or toddler swimming pool option I never thought to look at dog pools. But somehow one night in my search I stumbled upon a pool that met EVERY need we had without any of the disadvantages of our prior kiddie pools!
We have used this pool for several years with infants, toddlers, and even older kids and still LOVE it.
We’ve never once had to replace it. It’s held up great through traveling and summertime sunshine.
It is easy to store – it folds up very small. Actually smaller than any inflatable baby pool too.
It is easy to set up. No inflating needed! No one has to blow it up. No one has to drag out the air compressor to inflate it.
Just unfold, fill with water and it’s DONE!
It is collapsible for storage but does NOT collapse when the kids are playing in it.
No worrying about it getting damaged, no needing to replace it year after year, and even the smallest size has been plenty big for our needs. Even three kids have played in it together with no complaints!
It has been perfect when my babies are new at sitting because it’s sturdy enough for them to lean their backs against without falling over. My older children love interacting with the baby and feeling part of the fun with them together in this pool.
My third daughter loves the pool so much that she says playing in it is her favorite part of our annual beach vacation 😉
It is hands-down my most must-have item for any beach trip with the kids and is an item we use all the time at home too when we have company over for pool parties!
I cannot recommend this toddler pool enough – it’s the best inflatable pool that you don’t have to inflate 😉
Other Uses for The Best Toddler Pool
Obviously, we use our travel pool for beach trips and pool days, but it has many other uses as well other than just keeping a little one safely away from the crashing waves of the ocean or chaos of the pool party!
Water play is SO wonderful for kids of all ages. Learning to love the water encourages children to quickly learn water safety skills necessary to be safe in the water and to be able to float if they were to fall in.
Flotation devices are not recommended in swimming pools (or the ocean) for children as they can cause kids to have a false security in the water due to their floaties. Using an infant and toddler pool allows a little one to play in the water without a floatation device!
It helps them gain confidence in the water and allows them to become familiar and comfortable in the water without a false sense of security.
The dog pool turned human pool isn’t only great for kids – the larger sizes would work GREAT for adults too! Prior to us putting in a pool I’d use a blow-up pool in my backyard to layout in during the summers. This adult pool makes for a way quicker set-up when you want to get some sun, stay cool in the water, and read a good summer book 😉
This wading pool doesn’t just have to be used outdoors either. It makes a great inflatable play center (without the inflation step!) to allow your infant a safe, confined place to play.
It would make a wonderful ball pit for kids of all ages to enjoy. For our playroom ball pit we found that these are the best balls and are a great size and don’t break as easily as some of the others we’ve tried. We also added this slide to our ball pit and even our pre-teen still enjoys playing!
The pool can also provide a perfect spot to start some independent playtime as well. Before baby is mobile enough to climb out, it’s a great confined space where baby can safely play on his or her own. Stick some age-appropriate toys in it and you’re good to go!
Since this pool is actually advertised as a place to give your dog a bath, it clearly works well for that purpose as well and can be enjoyed by your fur babies just as much as your human ones.
From travel to beach days to poolside, to a safe spot to play this pool is by far the best toddler pool we’ve found!