Last year we had gotten the question about baby and wading pools for small kids. What better way to spend a summer afternoon than sitting in your backyard with some friends and letting the kids splash around? It’s a nice cheap afternoon. The kids are having fun, you’re working on your tan (in moderation of course), and you’re able to have a somewhat peaceful conversation with other adults. One of my friends has what we refer to as “block party,” during the summer. She puts every outdoor toy in her driveway, along with her pool and we all just hang out under umbrellas while the kids have fun. The only drawback is, her pool is vinyl, which makes me a little paranoid sometimes. I tend to be phobic of chemicals, so this year, I was determined to search for better alternatives. I wasn’t going to stop until I found a suitable alternative. And thankfully, I came up with a few ideas.
PVC Free Baby Pools
EverEarth Inflatable Pool: Looks like a regular blow up pool but it’s made of TPU (Thermoplastic polyurethane) which according to EverEarth is biodegradable and phthalate free. They also have a full line of pool toys, inflatables, swimmies, and rafts. Woo! Check out their website for the selection. I don’t think these are available just yet but as soon as they are I’ll update and let you know where to find them. I have to thank Inhabitots for the find – thanks!
Molded Plastic Pools: This is your typical and least expensive option if you’re looking to go with something PVC and phthalate free. You can typically find these anywhere, including grocery stores, toy stores and department stores like, Target and Wal Mart. They range from $8 to $20 depending on the size. They’re generally made of LDPE (low density polyethylene, which is #4 on the recycling scale). Sometimes they have a recycling code on them, and sometimes they don’t. But they are a good option if you’re looking for something inexpensive and fun. The only drawback to these is that they tend to be a pain to empty, but that’s a pretty low con to deal with for the price.
Sun Smarties Pop up Pool: Another great, but a little more expensive option is one that I found over at One Step Ahead, called the Sun Smarties Pop Up Pool. I was really excited about this find, and went ahead and ordered one (I can’t give you any details on it yet, though, because it’s back-ordered until next month. Thankfully it’s still late winter and not summer yet!). This pool just seems like an all around great option. The great thing about this pool is that it pops up easily folds up so flat, that you can pack it with you if you’re going on vacation! Neat. It comes with a sun canopy that clips on easily, which is great because you can move it around as the day wears on to make sure that your child has all day sun shade (but remember to still put sunscreen on them. You know how kids are, in out in out in out). Because of its ease of use, you can also get use out if it in the winter by using it as a ball pit. It also comes in three sizes, which is a nice plus. The smallest model retails for about $40, but the biggest one is pretty pricey at $90. The Sun Smarties pop up pool is made from puncture resistant polyester. Once I get mine, I’ll add my two cents to the information.Statia Says (5/20/09): I received my pool and unfortunately, I’m going to have to remove the Sun Smarties Pop up Pool from our list. Sadly, when I opened my pool, I noticed the plastic liner suspiciously looked like PVC (which is not mentioned in the product description). However, One Step Ahead will not confirm what the liner is made of, so I’ll leave this information here in case One Step Ahead wants to clarify any information, or if any of you went ahead and ordered the pool. I’m so disappointed, because this seemed like a great space saving option.
Little Tikes Butterfly Beach Sand and Wading Pool: This is a really cute, fun option for smaller toddlers. The pool is somewhat small, so use would be limited, but if you really wanted to, you could fill both sides with water for more pool room. Sometimes though, all kids need is just a little bit of water to have a lot of fun. I also like that you can fold it up when it’s not in use and that there’s an umbrella to give the kids some shade on a hot day. Little Tikes products are made of polypropylene (#5 plastic), which is recyclable in nearly all areas and Little Tikes products hold their value really well, so when you’re done with it, you could sell it to recoup your cost or donate it.
Phthalate free vinyl pool Perhaps this isn’t the most eco-friendly option, but there are PVC pools that are phthalate free. They’re made without using all of the phthalates to soften the pvc. I’ve researched and found some options, particularly one company by the name of Intex, that makes them, but they seem to be hard to find. Maybe as the demand becomes higher, they will be more readily available. There is however, the issue of how it could be recycled, and if it could be recycled easily, given that most PVC is made with phthalates. I haven’t done a ton of research on it yet, since summer is still around the corner. But it’s on my list of things to look into.
Little Tikes Wade Lagoon: This is beyond expensive as an option for something phthalate free, but it is phthalate free, nonetheless. Little Tikes inflatables are all made of a mix of polyethylene and phthalate free PVC (as confirmed by a rep from little tikes). All Little Tikes products are free of phthalates and BPA, so that’s comforting to know. This product is built to last, which is one of the things I love about Little Tikes. The inflatable products are expensive, but they definitely hold up to a beating (we have one of their bouncers, and a very active jumpy little boy, so I know how sturdy they are). The good thing about this, is that you’d no doubt get quite a few years out of it, and it would probably last until your kids outgrew it and again, Little Tikes products hold their value, so you can sell it later on down the road and extend its life a little longer.
Another option that isn’t technically a “wading pool” but could also be used as a pool, would be a stock tank. I’ve seen these as options around the internet, and while they could get pricey, they are a little bigger than your typical plastic molded pool. I actually researched this option, but we’re a little low on garage space, so I went with the foldable pool instead, to save space. They’re extremely sturdy and are higher on the sides than an actual wading pool, which might be nice if you wanted to say, fill it up on a hot summer day and kick the kids out, while the mom’s enjoyed some nice cold beverages. I’m just sayin’…
Know a product you think belongs in this list? Let us know!