Hot tubs can be a huge amount of fun for kids, as long as the proper safety precautions are taken. Once your kids reach the appropriate age and height—with you monitoring, of course—they’ll be able to have fun with their siblings and friends and make lasting memories.

Small Children in Hot Tubs

When it comes to babies and toddlers, the answer is simple: Do not allow them to go into the hot tub. In general, kids under the age of five should not spend any time in or near the spa. Children that young have thinner skin that makes them more susceptible to overheating, and it’s not worth the risk.

Using five as the approximate safe age for hot tubs, kids still need to pass the height test. Unless a child can stand on the bottom of the spa with his or her head completely out of the water, he or she is not tall enough and shouldn’t be allowed in the hot tub.

Safe Hot Tub Temperature for Children

For kids who pass both the age and height tests, we need to consider the temperature. The maximum temperature for anyone—including adults—is 104° F. At that temperature, children should stay in the hot tub no longer than five minutes.

If your children want to stay in the hot tub longer, you can lower the temperature, but keep in mind kids should never spend more than 15 minutes immersed in the water, no matter what the temperature.

Also, it’s a good idea to have your children drink plenty of water while enjoying the spa. This will help prevent dehydration and overheating.

Family in a hot tub

Hot Tub Safety for Kids

In addition to the guidelines already discussed, it’s essential to put safeguards in place to make sure your kids don’t accidentally put themselves in danger.

During a child’s hot tub use:

  • Have an adult present at all times with the child within arm’s reach.
  • Tie hair back while soaking to avoid any risk of it getting it pulled into drains.
  • Consider a life vest for your child.
  • Limit your child’s soaking time to 15 minutes.
  • Use plastic cups and bottles rather than glass for beverages.

When the hot tub is not in use:

  • Lock your strong, durable hot tub cover.
  • Install a four-foot gate or fence around the spa, and keep the fence locked.
  • Remove stairs from the hot tub when not in use to prevent kids from climbing up.

Kids and hot tubs can be a great combination, as long as you prioritize safety. For more information on safety around pools and spas, check out the recommendations from C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.