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My 5-year-old daughter loves to swim. She’s like a fish and always gets in the water whenever we give her the opportunity. We want to nurture her love of swimming wherever possible as it’s a great way to exercise.

This is where the problems start. We live very far away from the nearest public pool (over 3 hours drive). Our schedules allow us to take her there once or twice a month, but as you can imagine it takes up the entire day. For her the 6 hour round trip is no problem (she is excited on the way there and sleeps on the way back), but for us it’s a little less enjoyable.

We have looked into open water (natural) swimming options near us and to be honest there is nothing suitable at all. There’s a river that adults swim in, but it's fast flowing and far too dangerous for a child learning to swim.

We have looked into the possibility of getting a swimming pool in our home, but we just don’t have the space. It would be big enough for her to swim in for a while, but it would be unusable for me and my partner. We love our little girl, but paying $5,000 to $10,000 for a pool we can’t really use isn’t really an option for us.

A friend of ours suggested a swim spa as a possible alternative. They seem to be a compact way to allow us and her to swim in our back yard. However, I know nothing about them. I can’t even find how much they cost accurately (there are no price lists online for any swim spa manufacturer and the only pricing information I have found ranges all the way from $8,000 to $60,000).

Even the lower end of that price bracket isn’t a small investment for us, so we want to make sure it’s going to be suitable for our daughter before we actually even consider the prospect.

Are swim spas safe for young kids?

Obviously me or my partner will be closely supervising but I’m a little bit worried about accidents. Have any of you heard of a young child (5 / 6 years old) swimming in a swim spa? Are the water jets too powerful for them or can they be turned down really low?

The various swim spa manufacturers websites all say that they are totally safe and kids love them, but they don't give any ages (and they would say that wouldn't they).

  • I find the information you link highly suspect. "The Limits Are Endless"? Really? – Weckar E. Aug 23 '17 at 14:59
  • Many county and all state fairs in my region have these things set up to be modeled and sold. It may be a lower hassle way to look at them than going to a manufacturer if trips to town are a big deal. – user26011 Aug 23 '17 at 17:57
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    I think unless your daughter is unusually motivated to swim, swimming in one direction for a long time might be boring. You might actually get more use from a pool, unless you and/or your partner want the exercise. – anongoodnurse Aug 24 '17 at 0:03
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    Do you have a hotel in your area? Where I live is also incredibly far from most public access to such things. In summer, the local high school has some open swim times if you check (most do not know this) and the local hotel allows us to use the pool for $5 per person. If you asked around 95% of people here would tell you there is "no pool access" anywhere. Most simply don't know. I only know because I kept making more inquiries. I couldn't imagine there were so few options. – threetimes Aug 24 '17 at 2:34
  • I will also add that if you intend her to swim often and weather is reasonable to have any pool outdoors, that is the best option for health. Indoor air quality around pools is troublesome if you do a little digging. I would much prefer we swim outdoors and we do all summer. Indoor swimming is only when weather doesn't allow outdoor for us. swimmingworldmagazine.com/news/… – threetimes Aug 24 '17 at 2:36
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Are the water jets too powerful for them or can they be turned down really low?

I think for a 5 year old, they will be too big for a hot tub from a learning to swim perspective. Have you considered swimming lessons? Even if they can swim, this is a great way for them to improve and gain stamina in a full size pool.

The endless pools are nice, but very expensive and prone to break down ( based on experience with several friends who tried them ).

In your case, if you have the yard for it, I would get an above ground pool. They can be had at a reasonable price, would be convenient, and cheap to maintain.

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A swim spa will be interesting for kids maybe first 5-10 min. Water jets are not powerful but simply too boring after some time. Kids need space to swim.

Any kind of swimming pool or swim spa in your backyard are very dangerous if it's filled with water and left unattended. Access to it should be restricted.

You mentioned that there is a river close to you. I would buy a wetsuit for your child. It will allow your child to swim in any weather, with the wetsuit your child can stay as long as he\she wants in the water and it's much harder to drown in it.

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A hot tub is not a great place to learn to swim. It doesn't provide enough room for a person to learn the maneuvers and you generally don't want to teach someone to swim in moving water anyway.

If you do get one, be sure to never leave her unattended as these can be very dangerous. I hear about a couple kids getting sucked to the bottom on the news ever summer here in Florida.

If you mean one of these, that looks fine to me as long as the jets are off until she learns to tread water.

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    I think by "swim spa", the OP means an endless pool. Not sure though. – anongoodnurse Aug 24 '17 at 0:01
  • @anongoodnurse, Some endless pools can double as hot tubs too. And if we're talking about suction being a risk, the endless pools are the ones with the most suction. – Stephan Branczyk Oct 24 '17 at 22:03
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Also they can be too hot. Your little one can overheat very easily. Mine used a spa only with immediate in-person supervision and on the understanding they didnt go deeper than waist height so they'd keep cool at least in part, and not for very long.

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