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Kids in Hot Tubs: Important Safety Rules | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey


Most people know that pool safety dictates that young children shouldn’t use hot tubs or spas because they’re more sensitive to heat than adults. But drowning is an even greater risk for kids in hot tubs than the heat, especially when it comes to young children.

In fact, the 2020 Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) pool and spa submersion report indicates that 75% of the fatal drownings and 76% of the emergency-department-treated nonfatal drowning injuries involved children under the age of 5.

With this information in mind, you may be wondering whether it’s safe to allow your kids to get in a hot tub at all. The answer is complicated. Here’s a closer look at the things you should be mindful of when considering whether or not a hot tub is safe for your kids.

Parents / Emily Roberts


Hot Tub Hazards for Kids To Know

Hot tubs and pools are a wonderful way to relax and de-stress, but they pose risks to children. Neither the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) nor the CPSC has issued specific guidelines for hot tub or spa use for children, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that children under age 5 should not use hot tubs.

In addition, here are some other hazards that you should consider before allowing your kids to use a hot tub.

High temperatures

According to the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), most hot tubs are preset to reach 104 degrees, which can be extremely hot for a child. High temperatures can result in a loss of consciousness which could result in drowning.

Additionally, high temperatures can lead to heat stroke and possibly even death. If you’re considering allowing your kids to use a hot tub, make sure you turn the temperature down first.

Bacteria

Hot tub owners need to be knowledgeable and vigilant about maintaining the correct balance of chemicals to keep a hot tub safe and sanitary. A well-chlorinated or well-brominated hot tub will have a little odor, but if the smell is overpowering, the hot tub may need to be looked at by a professional. Likewise, the hot tub’s sides, ties, and straps should not be sticky or slippery.

Tip

Hardware stores, home improvement stores, and pool supply shops sell test strips that check the safety of the water. But if you’re using someone else’s hot tub, don’t hesitate to ask the owner how often the chemical and pH levels are checked as well as when the latest inspection was.

Allowing a hot tub to get dirty or not keeping up with routine cleaning could result in bacteria growth and the spread of infection. According to a report by the CDC, there were more than 27,000 illnesses and eight deaths in 2018 linked to pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds. Among the outbreaks that occurred, people experienced everything from gastrointestinal illnesses and Legionnaire’s disease to hot tub rash and swimmer’s ear.

To reduce the risk of spreading infectious illnesses, keep your child out of the hot tub if they are sick or have diarrhea, and remind your children not to swallow water from the hot tub.

Drowning

Of course, drowning is the most serious hazard connected with any body of water, including hot tubs. In fact, according to the AAP, drowning is the leading cause of injury or death in children in the US between the ages of 1 and 4 and the third leading cause of unintentional injury or death in children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 19.

To help prevent accidental drownings, hot tubs should be equipped with locking covers, and children should never be left in or around a hot tub unsupervised. What’s more, hot tubs should be surrounded by fencing and inaccessible to young children.

Another drowning hazard is the entanglement of hair in the suction fitting of a hot tub. Drain covers that reduce the danger of hair entanglement are available, but children should be advised not to go underwater in a hot tub, or play in any way that would bring their hair near the drain cover.

Similarly, there is a danger of getting caught by the strong suction of a drain. Newer hot tubs are equipped with two outlets for each pump, reducing suction if one outlet is blocked. Finally, owners and users of hot tubs and spas should know the location of the cut-off switch so the pump can be turned off in an emergency.

Hot Tub Safety Rules for Kids

If you have questions about allowing your kids in hot tubs, or if your child has a pre-existing medical condition, you should ask a health care provider for advice about hot tub use.

In general, children under the age of 5 should not use a hot tub due to the risk of overheating, dehydration, and drowning. For older children, here are some additional safety guidelines to consider:

  • Supervision: At least one adult should be responsible for supervising the kids anytime you are around a hot tub or a pool. This means being within touching distance of young children while in the water and keeping an eye on them at all times while outside the water.
  • Heat: If your children are going to be using a hot tub, the PHTA recommends turning the thermostat down to 98 degrees. However, children should be limited to five minutes at a time and should never play for more than 15 minutes.
  • Height: Children should not be allowed in hot tubs unless their heads are completely out of the water when they stand on the bottom of the tub. 
  • Hydration: Children (and adults) should avoid dehydration by drinking fresh water while using the hot tub. If anyone using the hot tub feels sleepy, nauseous, or dizzy, they should exit the hot tub immediately
  • Immersion: It’s safer for children to sit on benches or jump seats that allow for their upper body to be out of the water, which helps keep their core temperature down. It’s recommended that children avoid complete immersion in a hot tub.

Hot Tub Safety on Vacation

If you’re traveling, be aware that commercial establishments may not be as mindful as they should be about the safety and cleanliness of their hot tubs. If you plan to use a hot tub on your trip, travel with a thermometer to check the water temperature and consider bringing test strips. When on vacation, don’t enter hot tubs with cloudy water or strong chemical smells.

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