Sure, for many of us the pool may be closed. That doesn’t mean we can’t talk about the very versatile pool noodle! Let’s take a look at the ever-popular pool noodle and its many uses, both in and out of the pool (as well as a serious note on how it should not be used).

What is a Pool Noodle?

Anyone who has even been to a pool party is surely familiar with these toys. These long tubes are typically about 40 to 60 inches in length. The noodle-shaped pool accessories can be inflatable, but more often than not they are made of foam rubber. Since the foam is easily torn, some models also feature a vinyl coating to enhance durability. These coated varieties can give them a little more protection.

How Not to Use a Pool Noodle

As many kids and adults have discovered, pool noodles are great for playtime sword fights and other games in the pool. That said, when it comes to pool-time, there are two important notes to keep in mind:

  • Be cautious of pool noodles around young children –The most common kind of pool noodle features a hollow core, which allows them to float atop the water. This makes them easy to retrieve when it is time to clean up. After all, the pool should always be free of toys when not in use. Leaving toys in the pool area once pool-time is over can encourage little ones to dive in without proper supervision. In addition, parents should be aware that longer pool noodles might be a bit too cumbersome for some young children.
  • Fun, but not a floatation device – Even though the pool noodle itself can float, that does not mean that it should be used as a floatation device. This can be very dangerous. As we’ve written about before, it is crucial that you only use floatation devices that has been approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. This will offer the best possible protection without the hazards of relying on swimmies or pool noodles. A pool toy can be fun, but it should never be used as a serious floatation device.

Off-Season: Other Uses for Pool Noodles

Beyond fun in the water, there are many other great uses for a pool noodle.

Arts and Crafts

Pool noodles are cheap and very colorful. In fact, they can usually be purchased inexpensively at dollar stores. The foam material is easy to cut and sculpt into all manner of inventive designs. It’s a great arts and crafts tool for kids and adults alike.

Temporary Baby Proofing

If you have an unconventional area of your home that you want to keep safe for kids, consider sacrificing a pool noodle to the cause. If there’s a sharp ledge, simply slice the noodle down one side and use it to cover the offending area. It won’t be as effective as a solid set of corner bumpers and other professional baby proofing tools, but they can work for homeowners or guests in a pinch. Just make sure not to use these foam tubes near any hot surfaces.

Helping Keep Bicyclists Safer on the Road

Here’s a neat trick we discovered while researching this topic: use a pool noodle for additional bike safety! For many bicycling enthusiasts, the roads can be a dangerous place. According to an article recently published in Quartz, a pool noodle can be a life-saver! Read the full article to learn more, but in a nutshell, the rider straps the pool noodle to their back. By having it extend out toward traffic, it basically creates a pseudo bike lane. Now that’s really using your noodle!