How to Keep Kids Safe Around Hot Tubs Whether you’re dreaming of installing a hot tub or there’s already a home swim spa in your beautiful backyard, you’re probably envisioning hours of family fun. While bonding for all ages is a fantastic home spa benefit, water safety always comes first.
So how can you keep your kids safe in a hot tub?
We’ve broken down the best tips and tricks for hot tub safety. With a little due diligence, simple mindfulness, and small investments, your children will remain safe around every home swim spa.
Rules of thumb
No child below the age of five should be playing in your hot tub. If they’re too small to stand up, they’re at high risk for drowning. Children should always be supervised by an adult in any type of water no matter their age.
Because children have thinner skin, they’re unable to dissipate heat at the same rate as adults and therefore are at a higher risk of overheating. If you’ve got young ones in the tub, never raise the temperature above 104 degrees. 98 -104 degrees is ideal.
And remember to be mindful of your child’s reactions to the hot tub. Increased body temperature can lead to drowsiness, unconsciousness, and ultimately drowning or fatal heat strokes. If you notice a child feeling ill, dizzy, or sleepy, remove them from the spa or hot tub immediately.
Keep it short
If your hot tub is set to 104 degrees, limit your child’s swim time to five minutes. For a longer dip, lower the temperature to 98 degrees and pull them out after fifteen minutes.
Hydration Is Key
Swimming in hot temperatures can quickly dehydrate children and adults alike. Keep water bottles close to the tub and remind everyone to keep sipping.
Don’t go all in
Because they’re smaller and at a higher risk for slipping beneath the surface, or simply overheating due to full-body immersion, keep kids’ waist above the water. Try using “jump seats” to keep them waist-high.
A less obvious hazard, most parents underestimate the power of spa suctions. Powerful suctions can pull children in by their hair, especially if they’re playing fully submerged (another reason to keep them waist-deep!).
Use CPSC-developed drain covers to reduce the risk of suction injury. Always ensure covers are in place and lower the suction levels when children are splashing around.
Keep it covered
On that note…keep the top covered with a heavy, child-proof cover. Whenever the tub is not in use, make sure the top is covered with a safety lock securely in place.
It’s true that hot tubs are safer than full-sized pools because they’re above ground and therefore more difficult for children to accidentally slip into. However, we recommend surrounding your hot tub by a four-foot-high fence just as you would a full-size swimming pool. Additionally, include a self-latching gate or door to ensure children can’t easily sneak through.
Maintenance is key
If you can smell the chemicals in your hot tub, you’ve got a maintenance problem. Strong odor indicates a chemical imbalance that can be especially toxic for kids. Use hot tub disinfectant test strips found at home improvement and pool supply stores to frequently check the pH levels.
Also, consider having a professional check your spa every so often for peace of mind. Drain covers should be properly in place without cracks or holes, water should be kept sanitized yet not overly-chlorinated, and temperature should be monitored frequently to ensure safe swimming.
Is it safe for my infant in the swim spa?
Even if you’re holding them the entire time, babies and infants have skin so thin that bathing in hot tub temperatures is not recommended. Keep your infants dry and stick to kiddie pools.
What if I’m pregnant?
Always consult your doctor before hot tub use. Together you can decide what temperature and duration is best for you and your baby.
Extra safety tips
Before every session in or around a hot tub, assign a “water watcher” in charge of monitoring the swim spa. If someone is assigned to supervise your children at all times, the risk of injury decreases dramatically.
Secondly, if your spa sits uncovered, remove all toys and colourful objects that may be floating on the surface. These objects lure children into the waters with potentially fatal results.
There’s more to be mindful of than constant supervision (although supervision is essential!) when you’ve got kids in swimmers and goggles splashing around. By following a few precautions, spa-related injuries are 100% preventable. Safety awareness will make your hot tub use more enjoyable and give you peace of mind!
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