Hot Tub Safety for Kids
Hot tubs can be fun for the whole family, but those with small kids often put off the purchase because of safety concerns. However, with a few simple, proactive steps, any risk posed by the hot tub can be managed, making it safe for the whole family.
Keeping the Kids Out
If you’re worried about small children finding their way into the hot tub, your first line of defense is the hot tub cover. Many high-quality hot tubs come with locking covers (as in, it requires a key to open). In the event the model you’ve chosen doesn’t come with this feature, there are separate locking mechanisms that can be purchased from retailers.
When choosing a locking mechanism, you’re following the same procedure as keeping the knife drawer on lockdown—you want something that the child can’t outsmart. Key-based systems are best, as long as you can keep the key out of their reach.
If you’re looking for an added layer of protection, consider installing a pool fence around the spa area to further restrict access. Properly installed, the fence itself can prevent unwanted access to the spa and, depending on its height, add a measure of privacy.
Babies in Hot Tubs
As a rule, no one under 5 years of age should be allowed in a hot tub, so babies should be kept away for their own safety. Due to their small size, their bodies can heat up to unsafe temperatures much faster than an adult and babies can’t communicate about their discomfort. This means that hot tubs, as a rule, are unsafe for babies, even for short periods of time.
Additionally, as children learn to crawl and walk, they are naturally curious about their surroundings, which is why it’s so important to have a locking hot tub cover. Other safety features like a mesh pool fence are wise additions.
Keeping the Swimmers Safe
Time and Temperature
As for keeping the kids safe when they’re in the hot tub, there are several things you can do to ensure you’re enjoying the spa responsibly:
- Children under the age of 5 should never be allowed into a hot tub.
- Set hot tub temperature at or below 95 degrees if children will be using the spa.
- Don’t let children stay in the water longer than 10 or 15 minutes at a time (you can potentially extend this time by having them dangle their legs in the water).
- Teens and adults shouldn’t go longer than 30 minutes in the hot tub.
- Pregnant women should consult with their doctor before entering a hot tub.
Suction drains, which are typically located at the bottom of the spa, pose a unique safety concern, especially to children. The powerful suction force can trap limbs and hair, preventing the child from returning to the surface of the water. Like other safety concerns, there are ways to prevent mishaps and ensure the safety of your family and friends.
First, make sure that the drains have appropriate covers, and that the covers are up to date. This will help prevent things from getting stuck down there. Second, choose a hot tub model that uses a dual drain system, as this decreases the suction force, lowering the risk of getting hair or clothing sucked into it. Lastly, hot tubs come equipped with an emergency off-switch for the drains. Locate this off-switch on your model for use in case of emergencies.
Maintenance & Additional Tips
Hot tubs that are not properly maintained can result in more concerns, including rashes and infections. These problems are handled by keeping the hot tub clean, maintained, and the chemicals balanced. Sterilizing systems like chlorine or ozone treatments help keep the hot tub free from infectious diseases, and balancing the chemicals properly ensures that it doesn’t irritate the skin. Replacing filters will likewise help keep the water clean and safe for swimmers.
Beyond minor maintenance you can perform by yourself, you should have your hot tub checked annually by a professional. They will evaluate each of the systems to make sure everything is working properly, running at peak energy efficiency, and that there are no leaks. Regular preventative maintenance by a professional will help identify problems before they arise, and will extend the life of your spa.
To make sure everyone has a safe, enjoyable time in the spa, here are some additional tips:
- Establish rules with your kids and make sure they understand the consequences and safety risks.
- Always supervise minors in the hot tub.
- Hot tubs aren’t swimming pools—no “underwater” play, which could lead to ear infections.
- Stay hydrated, and exit the spa regularly to cool off.
- Install hot tub steps and hot tub safety rails to ensure that your guests can enter and exit safely.
If you’ve found this article informative, be sure to share it with your family and friends, and let them know that Bullfrog Spas is the trusted source for safe and enjoyable hot tubs and spas.