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Like many adults, children often enjoy a soak in the hot tub to relax after a long day or just bask in the warm temperatures and grownup ambiance with you! The rules for children in hot tubs differ from those applicable to adults, however, because of their different size and age. Though adults can enjoy longer soaks, kids can be in danger if you allow them to stay in the hot tub for as long.
Here are some tips to keep your children safe the next time they decide to relax in a hot tub with you and your family. With the way hot tub prices currently stand, the last thing you need is your children damaging the tub you didn’t inform them of proper use. Don’t forget to check out the inflatable hot tubs as an alternative and cheaper solution.
Talk to your child’s doctor first
Some children are better-suited for hot tubs than others. Depending on your child’s age, any medical conditions, and their prior experiences with fainting or dizziness, your child’s doctor will have specific recommendations. General guidelines are helpful if you’re looking for information so your child can climb in right now, but more specific information is also important.
Keep infants and toddlers out
Due to the temperatures in hot tubs, small children and babies should not enter a hot tub. They could overheat or get dehydrated much faster than an adult would, and will not be able to tell what is wrong in time to tell you. It’s better safe than sorry with a small child under the age of five.
Check the temperature before letting older kids in
Carefully monitor the hot tub temperature and don’t let older children into a hot tub that is over 102 degrees. Most hot tubs are set to 104 by default and kids might be okay with it, but 102 degrees is safer. Make sure they don’t stay in for longer just because the temperature is a little cooler, though.
Monitor how long they stay in the tub
A child should not be in a hot tub for longer than five to twenty minutes depending on their age, body size, and the temperature of the water. After this time, you should make sure your child leaves the water, rehydrates, and cools down for several minutes before allowing them back in.
Never leave them unsupervised
No matter how long your child is in the hot tub, never leave them unsupervised. One of the biggest risks is drowning, and children can also get longer hair caught in a suction fitting or the suction of a drain. Children should not be allowed to go underwater to play (which will also reduce the risk of ear infections), and the hot tub should ideally have two outlets for each pump to reduce risk.
Locate the cut-off switch first
Before allowing a child into a hot tub, you should know where the cut-off switch is in case you need to turn the pump off in a hurry. Teach your child where this switch is, if it is safe for them to use, in case they get into trouble while an adult who doesn’t know this switch is around.
Teach them the signs of overheating
When you’re letting an older child into the tub, make sure they know what the signs of overheating are. Tell them that if they feel faint, drowsy, or sick, they may be in danger and should let you know immediately so you can help them get out of the tub.
Ensure your hot tub is covered
When you aren’t using your hot tub, it should be covered and locked. A curious child, especially a younger one, can very quickly get into trouble by shifting a hot tub cover off, so see if you can get a self-locking gate to fence off the hot tub area.
Children can be allowed into hot tubs in specific situations, but in general, you should be careful. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially since a child’s body will react faster and more severely to a temperature increase than an adult’s body will. Always be sure to monitor how long your children are in the hot tub.
Leonardo Dawson is a child health consultant. His articles mainly appear on home and family blogs where he enjoys sharing his expertise.