Backyards have long since transformed from places to grill a few burgers and play with the dog to homeowners’ private sanctuaries. Pools and spas can help turn backyards into the oases modern homeowners crave.

Soaking in a hot tub can ease aches and pains and help people overcome stress. Hydrotherapy is shown to improve sleep quality, fibromyalgia symptoms, and may also relieve pain by relaxing tense muscles, tendons and joints.

Hot tubs can prolong the outdoor entertaining season by serving as heated retreats when the weather turns chilly. Whenever hot tubs are in use, certain safety protocols should be followed:

Maintain cleanliness
Hot tub water must be kept sanitary through testing and a careful balance of chemicals that will inhibit the spread of bacteria and other microorganisms. Those new to spa maintenance should consult with a spa expert on how often t
o test the water. Inquire about which products can help to maintain peak sanitation.

Be health smart
If you have a health condition or are pregnant, consult with a health care provider to determine if it is safe to use a hot tub. Individuals with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or diabetes should not enter a spa without a doctor’s approval. In addition, do not enter the water if you have an infection, open wound, or illness. Wait until you are symptom-free for 48 hours.

Be especially careful with children
Children may want to enjoy the hot tub along with their parents and other adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that children under five not use hot tubs. If children want to use the hot tub, consider dialing back the water temperature, as high temperatures can lead to heat stroke and loss of consciousness in young people. Turn the thermostat down to 98 F and limit children to five minutes at a time in the water. Play should never exceed 15 minutes.

Exercise caution around water
Adults and children alike should be aware of the hazards of drowning. It is possible to drown in a hot tub, even though it’s not as deep as a pool. Prevent access to the hot tub when it is unsupervised. Exercise caution when using a hot tub while taking medications that cause drowsiness or while under the influence of alcohol.

Hot tubs are coveted home amenities. When adding a hot tub to a property, homeowners should ensure safety guidelines are followed at all times.