We checked the weather right before we left for Phoenix, Arizona, in February, so we knew that it would be mild, but not hot (mid 60s). This led me to a dilemma - would TJ be able to swim in the outdoor pools at the hotel (they were heated, but still. . . ) or would he be happier in the warmer outdoor hot tubs? Thankfully, before we left, I did a little research.
Turns out, hot tubs really aren't safe for little ones. According to the Mayo Clinic, children should avoid hot tubs and spas until they are tall enough to keep their heads completely out of the water. Babies, toddlers, and little children can get overheated quickly in hot tubs, much faster than adults, so the water temperature can be a risk.
Even if you decide to let your older toddler have a brief splash in a relatively cooler hot tub, no one (child or adult) should ever dunk their head underwater in a hot tub. The high water temperature encourages the growth of certain microorganisms, and an earful of hot tub water could lead to an ear infection. NOT something you want your child to have on the airplane ride home!
Another danger to be aware of with head-dunking - long hair can get caught in spa drains and lead to drowning. I've noticed that most public pools do not allow children under 12 in a hot tub. Considering the grisly details of what could happen in one of those bacteria-laden soups, I think I'll ban TJ until he's considerably older.