The allure of the warm water and the soothing bubbles that come from a hot tub are often the way people love to end their days. Families often get hot tubs to enjoy together. But are hot tubs safe for babies and toddlers to use? Read on to learn more.
In short, the answer is no, hot tubs are bad for babies. If you do let a toddler or an infant in one, it should be for a very short span of time in water that is not over 104 degrees. 90 degrees is a much safer temperature. Public pools generally have rules that prevent children who are younger than 12 from going into a hot tub.
The American Red Cross’ guidelines are a bit different. They recommend that no children younger than five should ever be in a hot tub, because their body mechanisms do not regulate heat as well as an adult’s can. This can result in a condition called hyperthermia where the body overheats to a dangerous extent.
A child’s small body leads to overheating very quickly. Even just five minutes in a hot tub can raise an infant’s temperature to 104 degrees. In addition, water that is too hot can lead to painful burns on baby’s soft and tender skin. New parents are taught that a bath should be in tepid water for this very reason.
What are the signs of overheating or heat exhaustion? Very flushed skin tone is one significant marker along with being groggy or sluggish. Dizziness and lightheaded feelings are also common with heat exhaustion. A child who stops sweating is heading towards heat stroke, and needs to be seen by a medical professional right away. Cool compresses and lots of fluids are a must when someone is starting to suffer from heat issues. Not treating heat issues is very serious, as it can lead to permanent brain injury or death.
Something else to consider are pollutants in the water like bacteria that can make babies very sick. Their immune systems are not as strong as they will be later in life and so they cannot be exposed to germy conditions when they are very young.
A five-year-old can probably be in a hot tub for about 10 minutes, but she should not ever put her head under water. You should also turn off the bubbles because when the bubbles burst they can release chemicals used to treat and clean the water and cause breathing problems.
While it might seem like a relaxing way to spend time together as a family, having an infant in the hot tub with you is very risky, and should be avoided completely until she gets older.