I'm sure you can get pools for smaller children...try Mothercare or ELC...the one we have is for 2yr+ and has a "roof", but as we will always be there and prob won't use with water (play balls) we've gone for it (DS is almost 15mths)
We got ds a pool from ELC when he was tiny. It's about half a metre diametre and has a built in canopy to shade from sun.
Any pool is obviously dangerous to leave them in but obviously you're not that daft. If you are sitting by the pool and holding your dd upright or supporting her as you would in the bath why would a paddling pool be any more dangerous than a baby bath ?
don't buy a paddling pool that doesn't have inflatable sides though or every time the child leans on it the water pours out! ELC have an ice-cream van on special offer I noticed - £15! Great for toddlers.
I bought one today from Tesco. It was only £2.74 but I had previously bought the slightly bigger one (£4.74) to take on holiday and fill with a bit of water for DS (& mths), so I knew they were good quality.