Last Updated: Jun. 3, 2014
Check out this year's hottest toys and some tips on staying safe.
Kids never tire of throwing something in a pool, diving in, retrieving and returning it. And doing it again. And again. Save your pool filter by giving them toys that are actually meant for the pool. Dive toys - waterproof toys that sink in water - are the perfect answer. These are also called dive sticks, and you'll find them in many different designs and shapes, including hoops, disks, or even your kids' favorite characters. Dive toys are not only irresistible, they are a great way to practice swimming skills.
In terms, of diving safety, the Red Cross recommends a pool depth of at least 9 feet for diving from the pool deck. Most in-ground residential pools are not deep enough to accommodate diving. It's recommended that children jump in feet first, then dive down to retrieve toys once they're in the water.
What's more relaxing than floating in the water? Or more exciting than wrestling with your friends to be king of the raft? Inflatables are the ticket. They include cushions, rafts, ride-on animal shapes and more. Some even have built-in squirt guns that draw water from the pool so two or more and your kids can stage epic water battles all summer long. The newest inflatable toys are large house-like structures called habitats. Check your inflatable toys for leaks before letting your kids play. Also check weight limits for inflatables, as some won't support larger children. Additionally, inflatable rafts and rings are not a substitute for life saving devices.
Beach balls are the classic summer toy, and today's balls have taken it to a new level: Some are transparent and when inflated reveal a surprise character or shape inside (sharks are popular). Some light up: there are models that include LED lights, others have insertable a glow sticks. Beach balls are one of the safest toys around. Just remember to never try to use a beach ball as a lifesaving device. Popped beach balls or inflatables can be a choking hazard, so discard them immediately.