Keeping Kids Safe In and Around Spas
Are hot tubs or spas safe for children? Well, it depends on who you ask. Neither the American Association of Pediatrics nor the Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued any specific guidelines or recommendations when it comes to kids and hot tubs. Instead, they leave it up the advice of your family doctor. That isn’t much help when you want the answer now.
There are a few widely accepted safety spa guidelines, which say that children under two have the risk of overheating and dehydration, and older children should limit hot tub time to less than 20 minutes. The younger the child, the less time they should spend in the hot tub. Some recommend the temperature of the hot tub be kept lower if children will be in it. Larger than a risk of overheating or dehydration are the potential hazards of water in general.
Drowning is the biggest risk of hot tubs to children. As with other water, ensure the cover is locked or the water is otherwise physically restricted.
The suction of a hot tub drain can entangle hair, grab clothes, or even cause skin to stick on the opening and keep a child underwater.
Children should not become submerged because of the risk of overheating and also the risk of ear infections
Here are a few suggestions for safe use of hot tubs with children:
- Ensure children do not have access to the hot tub when not directly supervised.
- Ensure drain covers are installed and in working condition. Remember, hair can easily be sucked in past the cover, so make sure children do not go under water or play in any way that would allow their hair to get close to a drain.
- Newer hot tubs are equipped with two drains for each pump. This reduces the suction of a drain if it becomes blocked.
- Have an adult in the tub at all times when there are any small children. They should also be within touch at all times.
- Owners and all responsible users should be aware of the location of the shut off switch in case of an emergency.
- Reduce the heat down from 104 to a safer 102, or even better, 100 degree temperature.
- Limit the time in the water to 5-20 minutes. Have a few water bottles on hand to encourage hydration.
- As always, follow the recommendations of your doctor.