The Dangers of Spas and Hot Tubs for Kids

three kids in a hot tub having fun

After a long day, there’s nothing better than taking a dip in your spa! Hot tubs and spas are enjoyed by folks of every age, from the adults who use them to relax their aching joints to the kids who like playing with the bubbles from the jets.

Hot tubs are so popular that many of us forget that they can be dangerous. Just like swimming pools, stoves, and a variety of other household items, hot tubs carry many risks — and if used improperly, they can be very harmful. This is particularly true for young children, who are less likely to watch out for danger while they swim.

Thankfully, protecting your children from the dangers of hot tubs is actually quite simple. Protecting the safety of your kids starts with supervising them while they use it, and keeping an eye for any dangerous behaviors.

Lounging Near the Filter

If your child has long hair, it’s very important that you teach them to steer clear of the filter. Most hot tubs and spas have very powerful filtration systems, which help clear out dirt and debris to keep the water nice and clean; however, these filters can also trap a swimmer by their hair and hold them underwater.

Swimmers who are trapped by a filter can suffer terrible injuries, and may even drown. Sadly, this hot tub danger is a very common one. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), about 24% of all “circulation entrapment” incidents in swimming pools and spas are caused by long hair getting stuck in the filter.

How do you mitigate this hot tub risk in your household? Teach your children to stay a safe distance from the filter when they’re in the water and invest in a quality drain cover. You can also make sure anyone in the hot tub has their hair tied up, just in case. And of course, always have a responsible adult nearby to watch everyone while they’re in the water. 

Getting TOO Relaxed

For many people, the hot tub is a perfect place to relax and unwind at the end of the day. Maybe the massaging jets soothe their aching muscles. Maybe the warm water provides stress relief (particularly with some aromatherapy granules sprinkled in). And maybe some people follow advice from the scientific journal Sleep, who argue that a dip in the spa before bedtime can help fight insomnia.

While we certainly wouldn’t dispute these claims, we would like to point out that getting too sleepy in the hot tub is a serious risk. Falling asleep in the tub (be it a spa or a bathtub) is a major risk factor for accidental drowning. In fact, some public health experts estimate that someone drowns in a hot tub, spa, or bathtub every single day on average in the United States.

You can fight this hot tub danger in two ways: always have someone supervising when using the hot tub, and don’t get in the water if you think you’re too tired! This particular danger is one that affects adults and kids alike, so make sure you’re always cautious.

Soaking in Dirty Water

Like swimming pools, hot tubs and spas require special care and maintenance to keep them nice and clean. Every time someone enters a hot tub, they introduce body oils, dirt, and chemicals from their makeup, body lotion, or deodorant into the water, which makes the right combination of sanitizer, oxidizer, and calcium an absolute necessity.

However, caring for a hot tub isn’t exactly like caring for a swimming pool. Because the water is much hotter, these chemicals break down much faster — and if the water isn’t treated often enough, a dip in the hot tub can put you and your children at risk for a host of illness, from hot tub rash to Legionnaires disease.

We would argue that this is the easiest hot tub danger to mitigate. While you may not always be able to control your little one’s behavior in the spa (and if you’ve figured out how, give us some tips), you can control how clean the water is in your hot tub.

Test your water two to three times per week and add the necessary chemicals to keep everything in balance. Use a shock treatment after every use, change your filters once a month, and completely drain your spa water every six months. It may be a little extra work, but a spa filled with clean water is worth it!

hot tubs pool cover for kids

Sneaking In for a Dip

Now we’ve come to the one hot tub danger every parent fears the most. What can you do to keep your kids from hopping in for a dip without your knowledge? As we’ve discussed before, kids always need to be supervised when they’re in the water — no matter how old or how good a swimmer they are.

Of course, it’s hard to keep our eyes on the kids every minute of the day, and sometimes they can get into something they shouldn’t when we parents aren’t looking. If your hot tub doesn’t come with a locking cover (or even if it does, but you want some extra assurance) it’s absolutely essential that you have safety measures in place, so that your children cannot get into your hot tub without your permission and your supervision.

The easiest way to keep your kids away from the pool area is with a mesh fence. These fences are tough to climb and made from solid mesh panels no little one can squeeze through. You can also use a pool safety net to keep everyone out of the hot tub and eliminate this risk.  

Get a Fence or Net for Your Pool & Spa Area

Don’t have a pool net or fence in your home yet? Get started today by calling your local All-Safe dealer! We can’t wait to help you make your pool — and your family — a whole lot safer.

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