What Age Can a Child Get in a Hot Tub?

Hot tubs are well-known venues for social gatherings with family and friends. Hot tubs become a natural focal point in backyards, resorts, and community centers. But what about young children? What age can a child get in a hot tub? One would think their young bodies would be prone to overheating and that’s very much the case. But most accidents involving children and hot tubs are related to drowning. In an effort to promote safe hot tub use for people with children, we’ve put together this safety guide.

What Age Can A Child Get In A Hot Tub?

It’s generally recommended that 5 years old is the minimum age for hot tub use. Children and toddlers younger than that may not have completely developed thermoregulation processes that allow them to maintain an appropriate body temperature when submerged in hot water. Combined with thinner skin that only develops with age, it’s very easy for a young child to quickly overheat and become dehydrated in a hot tub. For children older than 5 years of age there are also several other precautions that should be taken before they use a hot tub.

Adult Supervision

Even if the children aren’t using the hot tub, it’s imperative that they’re supervised any time they’re around one. If the hot tub isn’t being used it should be covered and locked to prevent inadvertent access. Many municipalities require hot tubs to be surrounded by a childproof fence.

Water Temperature

Most hot tubs have a maximum temperature of 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit.) However, this is too hot for young children. It can often be too hot for adults as well! If children are using the hot tub the temperature should be reduced to 36C or 98F. And while the recommendation for adults is to limit their soaking time to 15 or 20 minutes, children shouldn’t spend more than 5 minutes in a hot tub before getting out and cooling off.

Height

Because drowning is a very real possibility with children, it’s important that they don’t use a hot tub until they’re tall enough to stand on the bottom with their heads remaining above water. This will allow them to keep their head above the water line even if no other help is available.

Body Immersion

To prevent young children from overheating while using a hot tub they should not completely submerge their entire bodies in the water. Having them sit on the edge or on a kiddie’s chair that keeps the top half of their body out of the water will reduce the chance of overheating.

Hydration

It’s important to ensure children using a hot tub remain hydrated. They may be more susceptible to dehydration than adults. Dehydration can lead to heatstroke, fainting, or worse. If a child appears dizzy, lethargic, or nauseous while in the hot tub they should be immediately removed.

Drowning

It’s essential to understand that drowning is one of the leading causes of death among young children. This is why adult supervision around any body of water is so important. Hot tubs also have some features that can increase the chances of drowning and therefore should be noted by any attending adult. Although improvements to hot tub design have been made, there is still a possibility that long hair or body parts may get sucked into the drain. For this reason, it’s important that children not go underwater or stray anywhere near the drain in a hot tub. Supervising adults should also know where the hot tub’s kill switch is located in case of emergency.

Now that you’ve updated your knowledge on child hot tub safety, download a free hot tub buyer’s guide for more information.

HT Guide

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