Hot tubs can be a fantastic source of relaxation and fun for the whole family. Yet, as much as we love the joy and entertainment they bring, we must be mindful of their safety risks, especially for children. As hot tub owners, it's our responsibility to ensure everyone's safety.

You're not alone if you've been putting off buying a luxury home spa because you’re concerned about your children’s safety. However, you can effectively manage these risks with a few simple steps. From using lockable covers to teaching kids about power controls, we're here to guide you in making your hot tub a safe and enjoyable space for everyone.

Understanding Hot Tub Risks for Kids

Hot tubs can pose significant health risks for children due to their high temperatures. As noted by the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), most hot tubs are pre-set to reach a maximum of 104 degrees, which is extremely hot for a young person. Excessive heat can cause overheating, dehydration, a loss of consciousness, and possibly drowning. Heatstroke is another potential issue, which could result in death.

Unfortunately, hot tub-related accidents aren't uncommon. According to reports from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), since 1990, there have been 43 incidents, including 12 deaths as a result of hair getting entangled in the suction fitting, causing the person’s head to be underwater.

Setting Safe Conditions

There are several steps you can take to keep children safe around hot tubs. From educating them about proper usage to maintaining a low-risk environment, here are some expert recommendations.

Enforce Age Limits

According to pediatricians, children under the age of 5 should not use a hot tub due to multiple risks, including overheating, dehydration, and drowning. For older children, PHTA says to limit the hot tub temperature for children to 98 degrees and keep soaking times to 5-minute intervals, with a maximum of 15 minutes total. 

Height also matters: Only children whose heads are entirely out of the water when they’re standing at the bottom should be allowed in hot tubs.

Use Safety Features

Apply child safety locks and childproof hot tub covers when you’re not using the hot tub, and set bars around the hot tub areas. This will keep young children from venturing near the tub unless an adult accompanies them. Learn how to use the hot tub’s emergency shut-off features and enforce quick and easy access to hot tub flotation devices to assist in emergencies if need be.

Ensure Constant Adult Supervision

Make sure an alert adult is available to constantly monitor children in or around a hot tub. Active supervision can effectively prevent tragic instances of hot tub drowning and other injuries. Non-slip surfaces for hot tubs can help to prevent slip-and-fall injuries, but it’s imperative you discourage children from running or moving recklessly around the hot tub. This is especially important if you rent out your home on Airbnb or another short-term stay service, as guests may be unaware of proper hot tub safety. Leave them a list of rules to ensure there are no accidents with children or damage to your hot tub.

Additionally, restricting little ones to the use of jump seats or benches for only partial immersion could be helpful in helping them to avoid overheating.

Check With Your Pediatrician

Consult with a pediatrician before allowing children with pre-existing medical conditions to use hot tubs. Soaking may not be wise for certain children, regardless of their age, height, maturity, or comfort level around water.

Educate Kids on Hot Tub Safety

Ultimately, educating kids on hot tub safety is just as crucial as implementing these protective measures. This means teaching them about dangers like suction entrapment, encouraging them to stay hydrated, and discouraging them from submerging their heads underwater. Reminding kids not to engage in games such as "hold your breath underwater" or sticking their fingers or toes into the drains should be a regular part of their tub-time lessons.

Maintenance & Hygiene

Improperly maintained hot tubs can lead to health concerns like skin rashes and infections. Keeping the hot tub clean with balanced chemicals is crucial. Regularly replacing filters and sterilizing systems such as chlorine or ozone treatments help free the water from infectious diseases.

At least once a year, have your hot tub checked by a professional who validates all systems, ensuring the best energy efficiency, no leaks, and overall proper functioning. Regular preventative maintenance aids in identifying problems before they arise, proactively extending the lifespan of your hot tub and keeping the environment safe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe for children to use hot tubs?

As a rule, children under 5 should never be allowed into a hot tub. You may choose to allow an older child in the hot tub if their head is entirely above the water when they are standing on the bottom. Adjust your hot tub temperature to 95F to 98F when kids use the spa since children usually struggle to regulate their body temperatures. Don’t allow children to stay in the water for longer than 15 minutes. Teens and adults should limit their time to 30 minutes.

Are hot tubs more unsanitary than swimming pools?

Despite similar sanitation methods and communal use, hot tubs pose a higher bacterial risk than swimming pools.

Who should not use a hot tub?

Using a hot tub is discouraged for certain groups of people, namely pregnant women, children under the age of five, and individuals with conditions like high blood pressure or heart disease.

Can babies use hot tubs?

The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly advises against children under 5 using hot tubs due to their susceptibility to overheating and the high heat levels being too intense for their tender skin and bodily systems.

April 09, 2024 — andrei newman