If you have a hot tub or are considering one, one topic that I want to cover today that gets brought up quite often is the concept of childproofing.
For the sake of your own children or others, there are a few easy things you can do to protect them and reduce your liability as a spa owner.
In this blog post, I’ll cover several effective ways to protect young children from hot tubs to consider.
1. Utilize locking straps for your hot tub
Especially for older or more basic hot tub covers, one way to keep out small children is to use locking wind straps.
Not only do these types of hot tub straps serve a very practical purpose during moderately strong winds, they also make it unlikely small children will be able to open them.
Wind straps like the ones pictured above are attached to both sides of a hot tub using screws and contain latches that accept a buckle mechanism (similar to the plastic male-female backpack clips you may be familiar with).
Once the male end of the buckle has been snapped into the female (latch), you can lock these straps in place with the key provided in the kit.
Wind straps can be adjusted to fit pretty much any hot tub.
Tip: Depending on the style of cover you have, you can purchase shorter straps a few inches long that attach to each corner of your hot tub (instead of spanning the entire cover with a long strap). More on that in a minute.
2. Install a fence with a locking gate
Another key defense mechanism to consider is installing a fence with a locking gate.
I recently covered the pool owner liability in a blog post here that you can read more about, but in general, many municipalities do legally require a barrier around hot tubs and pools.
Fencing laws vary state by state and locally, but many require you to surround a pool (including a spa, or hot tub) with a fence that is at least 4 feet in height.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission in the United States also recommends the ability to lock these latching gates.
This is mainly to reduce drowning risk among children.
Depending on how visible your hot tub is from the outside, you want to also make sure it can’t be considered an attractive nuisance for children who may be passing by.
Tip: Use both a fence and locking cover
While some states or municipalities may allow locking covers in place of a fence, it’s never a bad idea to use both. The best way to go about knowing what is required locally is to contact a local hot tub installation company and ask.
Again, I can only provide general guidance, and by no means am I a legal expert on these matters.
3. Install a locking latch to your cover’s built-in straps
One pretty inexpensive way to childproof your hot tub and one I’d recommend for most people is to install a locking latch if your cover is designed with straps on all 4 corners. If your cover doesn’t have this feature, you may want to opt for wind straps (or options 4 and 5)
By installing a cover latch you can ensure that no one without a key can enter the hot tub (including those unwanted adults from time to time!)
Below is a short video to illustrate how this works.
4. Purchase a cover lifter with a cover lock
If you are thinking about getting a hot tub cover lifter, another popular method for childproofing is to use a cover lifter that has a locking mechanism.
Most manual hot tub cover lifters do contain either locks or pins to prevent the cover from opening. If not, you can easily find one online that contains this functionality.
If you’re considering purchasing a hot tub cover lifter, check out my post, Hot Tub Cover Lifters 101: Types and What to Know for everything you need to know, including a few of my recommendations.
5. Opt for an automatic hot tub cover lifter with a lock
Probably the most convenient option for ensuring that children can’t access your hot tub is to install a locking automatic hot tub cover lifter like the one below by ConvertALift.
ConvertALift really dominates this category of hot tub ‘conversion systems’ or lifters. Whatever you prefer to call them!
In addition to a locking mechanism, some automatic systems open using either a button, remote control, or smartphone app.
These are relatively expensive, but well worth it if you have young children and want a simple solution.
to conclude, adding some sort of barrier around your hot tub in addition to a locking mechanism to your cover is really the best strategy for ‘childproofing’ a hot tub.
While you obviously want to keep infants and young children away from a hot tub to avoid drowning and overheating, educating children of age about the dangers of a hot tub is also a good idea.
As always, be sure to know what local rules and regulations are in place for owning a hot tub if you’re not familiar, and be sure to pick up a quality cover and locking mechanism at a minimum.
Hope it helps!