How to patch a leak on an inflatable toy

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Inflatable toys provide hours of entertainment for children, but all that play may lead to the toys getting punctured and leaking air. While this is disappointing for the kids, leaks are usually rather easy and inexpensive to fix.

Most of the time, there is no reason to rush out and buy a replacement toy because you can quickly fix the leak yourself.

Find the leak. Fill a tub or sink with water and submerge the toy. Apply pressure to the toy with your fingers. When you apply pressure near the leak, air bubbles will escape from the toy. The area where you see air bubbles is the source of the leak. You can also fill the toy with air and listen for a quiet whistling noise from the area where air is leaking from the toy.

Buy a vinyl patching kit. Most inflatable toys come with these kits, but if yours didn't or you can't find it, you'll have to buy a replacement. A small piece of duct tape might work if you don't want to buy a kit.

Wipe the area surrounding the leak with a wet sponge. Dirt will interfere with the patch's ability to bond to the toy. Clean the area well so the patch stays in place.

Examine the leak. Use scissors to cut the repair patch to slightly larger than the size of the leak. Most holes that cause leaks are small, so the patch needn't be large. If a large tear is causing the leak, it may be impossible to fix.

Peel the backing off the patch to reveal the adhesive side. Place the patch, adhesive side down, completely over the leak.

Check the patch by submerging the toy in water again. If the leak is properly patched, no air bubbles will release from the toy.