Hot tubs are well known for bringing people together. Couples, friends, families and even strangers can all benefit from the social aspects of spending time in and around a hot tub. You may also wonder, “What about young children?”, “How appropriate are hot tubs for them?” or “At what age can a child get in a hot tub?”. Of course, there are safety concerns with any body of water and hot tubs are no exception. In this article we’ll go over the suitable age for hot tub use and other safety measures that need to be employed when it comes to children and hot tubs.
What Age Can A Child Get In A Hot Tub?
According to the CDC (Center For Disease Control) children under five years of age should not spend any time in a hot tub whatsoever. The skin of infants is not fully developed and can be susceptible to burns or scalding when exposed to the temperatures found in a hot tub. Young bodies are also unable to properly thermoregulate themselves in the same way as older children or adults. This can lead to rapid overheating which could result in heat stroke and related complications.
Another major concern about young children using a hot tub is drowning. Drowning has been found to be one of the top causes of death in young children. Adding to that the fact that hot tubs have powerful water pumps which can increase the risk to small children makes them particularly dangerous. It’s important to keep an eye on children any time they’re around a hot tub. If the hot tub is not being used it should be secured and locked with a properly fitting hot tub cover. This is important for hot tub owners who don’t even have children as natural curiosity can lead to unwanted or accidental access. Some locales require a hot tub to be fenced off, but this should be considered even if it’s not regulated.
If children under the age of 12 are going to use the hot tub, it’s important to turn down the water temperature. The typical maximum temperature of a hot tub (104F) is higher than the normal internal body temperature (98F) and can cause a child to quickly overheat. Bringing the water temperature down to 98F can reduce the chances of this happening. Children should also spend much less time in the hot tub than the recommended 15 to 20 minutes for adults. Keeping the soaks down to five minutes before requiring them to get out and cool off will prevent a spike in body temperature. Make sure to monitor children for signs of overheating, drowsiness, dizziness or nausea.
Children should be tall enough to stand flat footed on the bottom of the hot tub and still have their mouth and nose above the waterline. If they’re shorter than this they shouldn’t be using the hot tub. Although most hot tub manufacturers have addressed the issue, if a child’s hair or limb got sucked into the drain or filter being able to stand up on their own could save their life.
Younger children should not submerge their entire body in the hot tub water. Having them sit on an edge or in a children’s seat can keep their upper body out of the water and greatly decrease the chances of overheating. Young children can also be more susceptible to ear infections, so keeping their head above water can prevent this from happening.
Dehydration while spending time in a hot tub can happen to people of any age, but children may be more susceptible to it. It’s important that anyone planning on using a hot tub is properly hydrated before, during and after its use. Symptoms of dehydration may take some time to present themselves, so when using a hot tub it’s important to be proactive with proper hydration.
After learning about child safety, you can find more information about hot tubs by downloading a free buyer’s guide.