By Sue LaPLante
As summer approaches, you might find yourself and your family invited to pool and hot tub parties by friends and family. While your first priority is to have a great time at these parties, you also need to teach your children how to be safe around pools and hot tubs. We have a few tips that will help you keep your children safe while they have a blast splashing around this summer.
When it comes to keeping your kids safe near the water, you need to understand the risks that hot tubs and pools pose. Children playing around water are at risk of:
Drowning: Bodies of water pose a risk of drowning. No matter how shallow the water is, there is a possibility that drowning could occur there.
Overheating: Being out in the sun, especially in combination with the use of a hot tub, can lead to overheating in children. Exposure to extreme heat for an extended period of time or lack of water can lead to both overheating and dehydration. At the most extreme, overheating can lead to heat stroke.
Falls: Running and climbing on pool and hot tub equipment can lead to falls. If a child is knocked unconscious during a fall and ends up in the water, they could drown in the water.
Injuries from jets and drains: When kids play in pools and hot tubs, they may get too close to the drains or jets. Hair and small fingers are easily caught in the drains and jets, which can cause injury. In addition, if children get caught and can’t surface from the water, they could drown in the pool or hot tub.
To prevent all of the above problems, here are a few tips for keeping your children safe at pool and hot tub parties.
Supervising Children Near Water
At public pools, lifeguards watch out for children while they play in the water. When at private parties, you should either ensure that your children will be properly supervised, or you should attend the event with them. In some cases, you will already be invited to the party so that you can monitor your own children
If you happen to be throwing the party, you should make sure that you have enough adults around to supervise all the children in your care properly. You should always have an adult near the pool to make sure that the children are following the rules. In addition, the adult can help rescue children in the event of a drowning.
When possible, keep your pool and hot tub covered. If you aren’t going to be using them, they should be covered to prevent anyone from falling into the water. It is especially important to cover your pool or hot tub when you can’t supervise your children when they are outside playing. Pools and hot tubs can also tempt neighbor children to sneak onto your property, so covering and locking pools and hot tubs can also keep unwelcome guests out.
Talk to Your Children About Water Safety
While you should make sure that your children are always supervised when playing in or near water, it is also beneficial to sit down with your children to discuss water safety. Before any pool parties, you should discuss what appropriate behavior around hot tubs and pools is; for example, teach your children about the dangers of running near a pool or hot tub.
This conversation isn’t meant to scare your children, so it is important that you are careful in how you approach the topic. The conversation should focus on preventing accidents, injuries, and drownings.
Drop the Hot Tub Heat
Hot tubs are supposed to contain hot water, but small children are much more susceptible to high heat, and the high temperatures in the hot tub can be dangerous for them. The maximum hot tub temperature is 104°F, but if children are using it, you should drop the temperature to 98°F. At 98°F, you should not allow children to be in the hot tub for more than 15 minutes at a time. If the tub is any hotter than that, you should limit the time to just five minutes.
Children who can’t stand in the hot tub with their head above the water shouldn’t be allowed in the hot tub. It is also a good idea to keep young children from being fully submerged in the hot tub. Instead, use jump seats that allow for only waist-high immersion.
When it comes to pool and hot tub parties, you want to make sure that your children are safe. These simple tips will help you ensure that your children are safe whether you are with them or not. Teaching your children about safety precautions to be used around pools and hot tubs is the best way to keep them safe at all times.
Sue LaPlante is the owner of SpaMate, a high quality hot tub cover and spa accessories supplier. She has been an expert in pool, spa, and hot tub care since 1979.