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Hot Tub Safety and Your Children

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Hot tubs and spas can be a fun place for you and your children to relax and enjoy the warmth and soothing, swirling waters of your tub. However, it is important for you to be sure your children remain safe at all times.

Too often hot tubs are overlooked as a potential drowning hazard for children. However, hot tubs present several dangers that you must be aware of before you let your children play in your hot tub. The most common dangers are:

Hot tub safety should be the goal of every hot tub owner. There are several things you can do to improve the safety of your hot tub so you can make sure your children are free from danger whenever they decide to take a dip in the warm, bubbling waters.

Hot Tub Safety and Your Children

1. Sit Down and Talk with Your Kids

As soon as you install your new hot tub and before you let anyone soak in it for the first time, sit down and talk with your family and especially your children. Go over the potential dangers of using a hot tub with your children not so you can scare them, but so they understand it is important to be careful while enjoying the hot tub.

Establish a set of rules for its use and make it clear when they are allowed to go in it and how they are expected to act while they soaking. After you have established these rules, you have to enforce them. Your kids need to respect your new hot tub and follow the rules to make sure they are safe at all times. If you allow them to behave badly while using the tub, you could be opening up to potential risks.

2. Always Supervise Children

When your children are using the hot tub, never leave them alone. Always closely monitor them while they are taking a dip to be sure they remain safe. Children should always be monitored when they are playing in and around water especially if they aren’t good swimmers, but while you may think there aren’t as many dangers in what is basically an oversized bath tub, there actually are. Your children could become trapped in the jets at a moments notice and will need your assistance.

Keep a phone close by as well so you can call for emergency help if something does happen. Remember, safety is always paramount so keeping a watchful eye and being prepared for the worst is the best way to make sure nothing happens while they enjoy the warm water.

3. Don’t Allow Underwater Play

While pools are a great place for your kids to swim underwater, a hot tub is not. The jets and drains could easily snag their hair while they are underwater preventing them from surfacing for air.

A hot tub is no place for swimming underwater so it is a good idea to simply make a rule forbidding this type of play. Dunking their heads under will probably be alright depending on the location of the jets in your pool, but you will have to make that judgment call based on your specific tub and what you are comfortable with allowing in your hot tub.

4. Lower the Water Temperature

Children are much more sensitive to heat than adults, making the standard heat settings on your hot tub potentially dangerous for them. While no modern tub will heat above 104° F, this temperature is often far too high for your children. Keeping your hot tub at this warmer temperature will be uncomfortable for many kids and it can cause them to overheat much faster as well.

Instead, try lowering the temperature to 95° F so your child won’t overheat while they are enjoying a soak in the tub. This temperature will still be very warm and soothing for your children but won’t be too hot for them causing discomfort or overheating if they stay in the tub for an extended period of time.

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5. Lock Your Spa Cover

While most hot tubs come with covers, not all of them have locks. However, there are many types of covers you can buy for your hot tub that does have locks on them and this is one of the best defenses you can install to prevent your kids from entering the hot tub without your permission. If you don’t have a lock on your cover, consider purchasing a new cover with a lock or adding a lock yourself so no one including your children can open the hot tub without you knowing about it.

6. Consider an Alarm For Your Hot Tub

Children can be sneaky and no matter how closely you watch your children, sometimes they are able to sneak off and get into things they shouldn’t. Every parent knows this. If you have a hot tub, you want to be sure they don’t wander into that area unattended.

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There are many types of alarms you can install that will alert you if they open the gate to the hot tub area or even try to open the cover on your hot tub. Consider installing these types of alarms to be sure your child doesn’t accidentally wander into the hot tub area without proper supervision.

7. Check for Hot Tub Product Recalls

Just like your car, your hot tub can experience recalls that can impact various parts such as the drain, pump, heater and much more.  As a hot tub owner, it is up to you to be sure your hot tub is safe and all the parts are working as they were intended as you won’t always be notified about recalls on your hot tub.

Luckily, it is easy to check for recalls on your hot tub by visiting PoolandSafety.gov.  On this site, you can search for your particular model of the hot tub to see if there have been any recalls that you should address.

8. Hot Tub Bottom Drain Cover Safety

Your hot tubs drain should always be concealed by a proper drain cover that meets industry standards.  The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Safety Act was created in response to the death of Graeme Baker, granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker III, who was killed by being trapped in the suction of a drain on a hot tub.

The suction on a hot tub drain can be powerful and can easily trap young children.  In addition to establishing rules of no underwater swimming in a hot tub, you must make sure that your drain is properly covered by a drain cover that meets the standards set forth by the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Safety Act.

Hot tub safety is a very important responsibility of every hot tub owner, especially if you have children. Following good safety practices can help you make your hot tub a safe place for both children and adults to enjoy.

Happy Soaking!

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Last Updated: Thursday, April 23rd, 2015