Hot summer months and children go together like the sun and the beach. However, finding activities to keep kids occupied can drive an adult to distraction. One way of keeping small children entertained is by providing them with what are typically called "kiddie pools." Kids will wade and splash around in a kiddie pool to their hearts' content, happily enough. And keeping a kiddie pool sanitary can be as simple as just adding household bleach in the proper amounts on occasion.
Regular household liquid bleach contains the same chemical, chlorine, found in standard pool chlorine sanitizers. The only difference between bleach and pool chlorine is the amount of chlorine found in bleach, which ranges from 5 to 10 percent. In fact, bleach is often recommended for emergency water disinfection, so reasoning suggests it can work well in a kiddie pool. However, not much bleach is required to properly sanitize a given amount of water.
No standard definition states what constitutes a kiddie pool in terms of size or capacity. A quick scan of the market reveals kiddie pools that range in size from about 28 gallons for children 2 years and older up to 300 gallons or more. Some kiddie pools are for a single child only while others can hold several kids of different ages. How much bleach would go into a kiddie pool depends on how many gallons that pool holds.
According to the Clorox company, about 8 drops of its bleach is required per gallon to adequately sanitize water. A 150-gallon kiddie pool would need approximately 1,200 drops of bleach to disinfect the pool's water. Since there are 600 drops in a fluid oz. of water, only 2 oz. of bleach would be needed in a 150-gallon kiddie pool ( 1200/600 = 2 oz.). Simply figure out how many gallons the kiddie pool holds, and add bleach accordingly.
Though bleach can be added to a kiddie pool, the question is whether it really should be. Most kiddie pools are filled from a spigot or faucet with water that already has a small chlorine residual. There may already be adequate chlorine levels in the water going into a kiddie pool, especially if the pool is emptied and refilled daily. Adding chlorine bleach to a kiddie pool will also mean having to add other chemicals to balance the water chemistry.
If a kiddie pool's water isn't going to be changed regularly, disinfecting it makes sense, and bleach will work well in that regard. Add only enough bleach to a kiddie pool to maintain chlorine between 1 and 2 parts per million (PPM), and test to ensure proper levels. Also measure the water's pH, which should be between 7.2 and 7.8, to ensure kiddie swimmer comfort. And use only regular common unscented bleach, never the splashless type.
- TheCloroxCompany: Clorox Bleach Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
- Clorox: Can Clorox Regular-Bleach Be Used to Disinfect Water?
- TroubleFreePool: The ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry
- PoolSolutions: Household Bleach in Swimming Pools
- PoolCenter.com: Water Testing FAQs
- PoolPlaza: Chlorine Adjustments
- PoolSolutions: Kiddie Pool Care - Guide to Kiddie Swimming Pool Care
- Kalzac.net: A Guide to Choosing the Right Kiddie Pool for Summer
Tony Guerra served more than 20 years in the U.S. Navy. He also spent seven years as an airline operations manager. Guerra is a former realtor, real-estate salesperson, associate broker and real-estate education instructor. He holds a master's degree in management and a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies.