Thursday, June 28th, 2007
Review: Nylon Toddler Pool for Backyard Summer Fun
(Jumping in sunshine is one thing you cannot do with a bath tub.)
Spring Pool by Swim Ways is an interesting toddler pool that meets my stringent pool criteria. I have criteria for toddler pools? You bet.
First, the pool should be easy to inflate, or come with a pump. On the Spring Pool, there is almost nothing to inflate! The floor and walls are heavy-duty nylon, with only a circular rim to inflate. The instructions actually state not to use a pump. Score one for old fashioned lung power that gets things done in a minute.
Second, the pool must be easy to store once summer is over. This nixes many large pools from the get-go that come in boxes. Can I really cram those things back into their boxes?
The Spring Pool comes in a circular mesh carrying bag (see the photos at the end of this article). Due to its nylon nature, and wire rims, it twists and rolls like a car window shade, except into three circles, not two.
One caution: examine the folding of the pool when you open it for the first time. The closure instructions state, "overlap your hands and pool will automatically close into 3 small circles." Our first time we spent quite a while figuring out how to close it, experiencing nothing close to an automatic closure. The simplistic photo instructions didn’t help either. Still, score one for great storage.
Third, a pool must be easy to empty because faucet pool water should be replaced once a day. Yes, pools come with drain plugs, but we all end up lifting the damn pools to make them empty quicker.
The Spring Pool comes in a 48" and 60" model, with my 60" model having a 100 gallon capacity. Draining it is a joy. Due to the nylon walls, I merely deflate the rim and then step on a wall (see photo below) and it dips and water pours out. Officially, you’re supposed to use the drain plug.
Fourth, a pool must be easy to move because I don’t want a pool-shaped patch of dead grass on my lawn. Size is the key. The 60" Spring Pool is easy for one person to lift and move, or to turn over while empty to drain lingering droplets.
Fifth, a pool must be rated for 3-year-olds. Many are not. This one is. I suspect a key element is the wall height, and thus, maximum water height. My pool is 9.5 inches deep when the water hits the inflated rim, though it could be filled above that level.
Now, due to the nylon walls, one thing you cannot do is rest against the walls. If you do, they give way, water pours out and you begin to fall backward. I see that as a safety feature. If a toddler is getting out of the pool, I favor having the wall push downward instead of being a rigid obstacle.
If you fill the pool up halfway, the walls will sag a bit. It’s the full water pressure and the inflated rim that keep the walls up.
The product photo for my 60" model shows 4 young children. On a functional level, I peg it for 3 toddlers, or 1 toddler and 1 adult in terms of ease of movement and playing room.
Our summer temperatures on the cloudy California coast are around 65 degrees. We work around that issue by warming the pool water in the sun for a few hours, although yesterday we took a lesson from 3 years ago when we used a birthing pool in our home.
We ran a hose from an indoor faucet to the outdoor pool. Many garden hoses contain lead and are not to be used for drinking. Umm, so why would I use a lead leaching hose for a toddler pool?
We found a 25-foot TastePURE Fresh Water Hose by Camco labeled as "drinking water safe" at K-Mart. Look in the boating and recreational vehicle accessories aisle. We needed two hoses to reach outside, and the hoses connect to each other.
We placed the pool on top of old foam mats on our concrete patio so a warm water hose would reach, and alleviate issues with the pool being on our lawn every day.
The Spring Pool is available on Amazon, but I picked mine up at Target. The price was $23 or $27, depending on if you believe: me or my wife. In typical Target fashion, the pool display was hidden behind a box of giant water noodles. That store is an expert at hiding its best products (talk to me about toddler toilet seats sometime).