Hot tubs can provide a relaxing experience for adults, but can be very dangerous for young children, as they are especially vulnerable to the heat of a hot tub and can drown or risk infection. Before letting your child use a hot tub, be sure that they are old enough and familiarise yourself with safety precautions.
Infants and toddlers under the age of 5 years should not use hot tubs as their thin skin makes them more susceptible to overheating, because they have very little control over bodily functions. Spas could also become unsanitary almost instantly when “accidents” happen.
If your child is old enough to be in a hot tub, you still need to keep an eye on them to prevent any overheating. High temperatures can cause drowsiness, unconsciousness, heat stroke or death. Keep the temperature in the hot tub below 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), and do not allow your child to be in the hot tub without adult supervision.
To prevent drowning it is important that your child is tall enough to stand in the centre of the hot tub and is still able to keep their head above the water. No young child should be allowed in a hot tub until they can stand on the bottom and have their head remain completely out of the water.
Children who are big enough to be in a hot tub should not use it for more than five minutes at a time, especially at the maximum temperature of 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). Dropping the spa temperature to 36 degrees Celsius (98 Fahrenheit) would allow for longer soaks – but never more than 15 minutes at a time. It is also recommended that young children avoid full body immersion, so make use of a booster seat or something that only allows waist-high immersion.
High temperatures promote the growth of bacteria. An earful of the water can lead to an ear infection, especially if your child is already prone to them. To help prevent ear infections, be sure that they do not fully submerge their heads in the water while in a hot tub.
It is vital to drink fresh water while soaking and if at any time you or your kids feel sick, dizzy and/or sleepy, they should exit the spa immediately.
To prevent your children from using the hot tub when you are not around, it is best to cover your hot tub when it is not in use. You may also want to put a self-locking gate around it to prevent younger children from playing near the hot tub. Have a professional regularly check your hot tub to be sure that it is in good working condition and that any drain covers are securely in place.