Families with children often delay purchasing a hot tub due to safety concerns for their kids. However, following safety guidelines and taking proactive maintenance steps can minimize the risks of a hot tub for children.
Safety Recommendations for Children Using a Hot Tub
The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under the age of five not go into hot tubs. Older children, over the age of five, should always be accompanied by an adult in a hot tub. The temperature of the water should be 95 to 98 degrees, and kids should spend no more than 5-15 minutes in the tub. Overheating can happen faster when submerged in hot water because blood vessels dilate and accelerate the absorption of heat and sweat can’t evaporate like it normally does as a cooling mechanism for the body like when we go out on a sunny day or after exercise. Therefore, one should be extra cautious and observe children while using hot tubs.
Children should not go underwater, because their hair could get caught in the suction drain. Going underwater in a hot tub may also increase their risk of getting an ear infection or other bacterial infection.
Suction drains, typically located at the bottom of the spa, are a major safety concern for children. A child of any age can get their hair caught in the drain, which could lead to their drowning. To prevent this, make sure your hot tub’s drains are properly covered, and not cracked. If you have an older model hot tub, be extra cautious. Some newer hot tub models use a dual-drain system that decreases suction force, lowering the risk of something being sucked into it.
Hot tubs come with an emergency off-switch for its drain pump. Find the off-switch on your model so you know where it is in case of an emergency.
Other Safety Rules to Follow
• Always cover your hot tub with a locked safety cover when it is not in use.
• Make sure your hot tub’s drains are properly covered.
• Impress this rule on your kids: No children allowed in the hot tub without an adult.
• Show your kids, and other users of your hot tub, how to use the pump’s off-switch so they can turn it off quickly in case of an emergency.
• Avoid drinking hot tub water or getting it in their mouths
• Make sure children understand to not run or jump near hot tubs as slips and falls can occur
• Have bottled water nearby to keep kids hydrated.
In addition, have a hot-tub professional check your spa or tub, at least annually, to make certain that it’s in a safe operating condition, and its drain covers are in place. You can also check the drain covers and the hot tub cover yourself periodically throughout the year – just to make sure.