Above Ground Swimming Pools - Keeping children safe

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Does your swimming pool go green after a few weeks? Is the water cloudy? Is it safe for your kids to swim in? What can you do to keep the same water in all Summer long? What chemicals do I need? Where do I buy them? How much do they cost?

With the recent influx of above ground swimming pools on the market at reasonable prices, many of us now have the opportunity to have the benefit of a swimming pool in our gardens during the summer months when we need it the most. The problem is that in the UK we are not used to outdoor swimming pools and therefore have absolutely no idea how to look after them.

There are so many different chemicals on the market and none of them are cheap. So which ones do you really need?
It's my hope that these pages will help Above Ground pool owners. Above Ground pools can be great garden entertainment, inexpensive, easy, and fun. I've tried to include accurate and appropriate information that will help you care for your pool simply and inexpensively.


Home Above Ground pools home pools less than three feet in depth with missing or minimal filtration are the real 'orphans' of the swimming pool world.

Almost no information and no support products are commonly provided to this group of pool users. The strategy seems to be, 'Sell the pool, get them out the door, and move on to the next customer'.

From a retailer's point of view this makes sense: Above Ground pools aren't profitable enough to support real customer service. Unfortunately, this lack of service has lead to the very dangerous assumption that small swimming pools don't need regular pool care.

This is not correct!

The reality is that the smaller and warmer the body of water, the more likely disease transmission becomes.

Untreated Above Ground pools put your child's health at risk!

The purpose of this guide is to help parents to keep their Above Ground pools safe, easily and inexpensively. Please note that the guidelines below represent ONE good way to do this; NOT the only way.
It's my hope that these pages will help Above Ground pool owners. Above Ground pools can be great garden entertainment, inexpensive, easy, and fun. I've tried to include accurate and appropriate information that will help you care for your pool simply and inexpensively.

But none of it will help unless you take your pool seriously.


Improperly managed Above Ground pools expose your children to four types of risks:

   1. Improper chemical levels, leading to irritation or (rarely) injury.
   2. Improper sanitation, allowing the growth of germs in the pool, resulting in
      pool-to-person disease transmission.
   3. Improper sanitation, allowing person-to-person disease transmission.
   4. Improper supervision of the children, resulting in drowning.

Improper chemical levels caused by overdosing with pool chemicals. Above Ground pools require tiny doses - would most commonly lead to non-serious rashes, eye burns, red and itchy skin, and the like. But, more serious problems are possible. You must learn to use the RIGHT dose!

Possible pool-to-person infections include non-life-threatening problems, such as ear and skin infections caused by Psuedomonas aeruginosa and other common organisms. Serious infection are possible, but I would guess that they are uncommon.

Person-to-person infections are another matter.

A multitude of minor to moderate infections can, and almost certainly do, result, leading to colds, pink eye, bronchitis, gut problems (nausea and diarrhoea) and more. Much more serious infections, including giardiasis, cryptosporidiasis, and dangerous infections from hemolytic strains of E. Coli can result from fecal contamination (poo!) of Above Ground pools.

There's not much medical information about the frequency of children's pool related injuries and infections. The nature of medical reporting makes it very unlikely that such problems would be reported, but the nature of Above Ground pools makes it very likely that they are an extremely common origin of both minor and major infections.

Finally, you must remember that your child can drown in even a few inches of water. According to some sources, a small child can become unconscious and stop breathing after as little as 15 second submersion and only their face has to be submerged, for this to happen.

As your child's parent or carer, it's YOUR responsibility to make sure that the kiddie pool your child enters is safe. 


Six items are necessary to do a good job maintaining your Above Ground pool chemistry:

    - A test kit that measures chlorine and pH levels.
    - A pool brush or other plastic bristle brush you can use to brush the pool walls and floor.
    - A stabilized form of chlorine
          - Either in granule form or 20mg/200mg tablets
    - A type of pool algaecide
    - An un-stabilized form of chlorine
          - Commonly referred to as  Chlorine Shock - Either in granule form or 20mg tablets
    - A floating chemical dispenser (if using tablets)

The good news is that there is a product that combines both stabilized chlorine and the algaecide in perfect balance, which when used correctly will manage the chlorination of the pool without the need for much input from the owner. These are Multi-function Chlorine Tablets and are available in 20g and 200g sizes. The test kit becomes less important as the tablet releases chlorine at the correct rate thereby maintaining the balance of your pool.



   1. Buy your supplies (We suggest measured dose of Chlorine Shock, Multifunction tablet/s, Floating Dispenser and some test strips)

   2. Fill the pool.

   3. Add the start up shock dose. If you buy a measured dose from us, it will clearly state the size of pool that it is suitable for and the number of doses you require. If you are not using measured doses then you will have to work out the volume of water in your pool then follow the instructions for your particular shock.

   4. Test the water after 1 hour. The chlorine level should be over 3ppm but less than 9ppm and the pH 7.4 or slightly higher. If the level is too low then you will need to add more shock and repeat the above.

   5. Add the Multifunction tablet to the dispenser and allow to float in the pool with the adjuster fully open. (You must however remove it before swimming and replace afterwards)

   6. For a few days we suggest you test the chlorine level. If the level is increasing, then you will need to close the adjuster on the dispenser a little. A bit of trial and error is required over the next few days but once the correct setting is found no more adjustment is required. You should just need to add a fresh tablet as needed.

   7. If you do not have a pump and filter, DRAIN the pool regularly! If you don't care about your children's health, you don't have to bother with draining. The pump circulates the water and therefore ensures the chlorine is dispersed correctly. If the pool is not being used daily then the chlorine will not do its job as it will be concentrated in the immediate area of the dispenser. Better still get a pump and filter and save the grief.

   8. Check the chlorine level twice a week just to make sure everything is working correctly. This is especially important during spells of very hot weather and high pool usage. Occasionally the chlorine level can drop because more chlorine is used than the tablet can replace. If this happens then you will need to add an additional dose of shock to raise the chlorine level. 


A variety of problems can occur. Here's how to deal with them.

Poo in the pool
    If you don't have a filter and pump, drain the pool, and refill. Don't mess around with poo: urine is normally sterile, and may be gross, but is not really a health hazard. Feces are dangerous! Chlorine does NOT instantly clean things up. Without a pump and filter, it can take days to assure safety.

    If you DO have a filter and pump, you have two choices: you can drain and refill OR you can clean it up. If you choose to clean it up, you'll need to add a SHOCK start-up dose as soon as you find, and remove, the poo, and again the following morning. Brush, vacuum, and filter, and then clean the filter. Make sure the chlorine levels stay high (3.0+) the entire 24 hours, before reusing the pool.

    By the way, the child swim nappies do NOTHING to make the pool safer hence they are banned in most public pools! The ONLY garment that offers some protection to other pool users, is some type of waterproof pants over the nappy.

    But, quite honestly, fecally incontinent individuals of any age, sex, mental capability, etc. should not be sharing a pool with other people.

Cloudy Water
    The Multifunction tablets contain clarifier but these are not infallible. Some clouding is acceptable especially in dusty conditions but this should settle overnight. If it doesn't then you can try adding a SHOCK start-up dose in the late evening, and then keep chlorine levels up for the next day or two, to see if it clears. If so, great. If not, drain and refill.

Problems with Skin/Eye/Ear Irritation
    Most cases of irritation are a result of a failure to use pool chemicals properly. To avoid problems you must:

        * use enough, AND
        * not use too much, AND
        * be consistent.

    Generally Multifunction tablets will prevent this happening in the first place.

Overdoses of Chemicals!
    Some people often individuals, like myself, of the male persuasion find it impossible to abandon the 'MORE is BETTER, and a LOT MORE is BEST' philosophy, and will 'nuke' the pool. Above Ground pools are especially easy to 'nuke', since the doses are so small to begin with.

    If you, or someone you know and love, has 'nuked' your Above Ground pool, drain and refill.

    Or, if you are following the chemical prescription above, you can possibly salvage the pool:

        - chlorine overdoses will generally dissipate after a day or two of full sunshine;

    Again, if you use Multifunction tablets it is very difficult to overdose.

Algae, Slippery Sides, Green Cloudy Water
    Algae and biofilm forming bacteria (slippery sides) can cause health problems, both directly and indirectly. If you follow the program recommended above faithfully, it's VERY unlikely you'll have problems.

 Respond by killing the culprits by brushing and treating with chlorine.

 - Add a SHOCK start-up dose.
 - Then, brush the pool.
 - Add ANOTHER SHOCK start-up dose in the late evening.
 - Brush again the next morning.
 - If there are any green or slippery spots, add another chlorine dose.
 - Wait till the chlorine levels drop below 3 ppm (or 10ppm if you have a kit that accurately distinguishes 10ppm from 15 ppm) before re-entering the pool.


Previously candymaniasweets now nogreenpool

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