How Your Hot Tub Can Kill You

What a gruesome title! But if you own a hot tub or spa this article might be one of the most important things you could read.

If you start considering all the dangers of a hot tub you might talk yourself right out of using yours or of buying a tub if you are considering owning one. Like most any physical activity, using a hot tub can be dangerous.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) keeps records of different kinds of accidents that occur in the U.S. each year, including accidents that occur because of hot tubs.

As you might expect, the main hazard from hot tubs is drowning. Since 1990 more than 800 people have died this way. So how does an adult drown in 3 feet of water? Here are a few of the ways.

  • If you heat the water too hot or stay in too long you might pass out. 104 degrees should be the warmest the water is ever heated and the recommended time to soak is about 20 minutes.
  • If you drink too much alcohol you could pass out in the water.
  • If you leave the hot tub cover on and lift only one side and don’t remove the cover then – clunk – it can fall and hit you on the head, possibly knocking you unconscious.
  • If you use an older model spa without certain safety features in the way the drains are positioned or covered, long hair can get sucked into the drains, holding your head under water. Also, the strong suction on older spas, again without safety drains, can suck against your body and hold you against the bottom drain. The CPSC has a nasty sounding name for this – body part entanglement – and people using hot tubs have died from it.
  • If you fail to maintain or wire the electrical parts properly electrocution can result.

In addition to watching the temperature, the amount of time you soak, and your alcohol consumption, the CPSC recommends that:

  • You know where the cut-off switch is and how to operate it quickly so that you can shut down your spa in an emergency.
  • If anything breaks or you suspect that there is any problem with your hot tub, hot tub cover, or electrical system, have a trained professional check it out before using the tub again.
  • If you have an older hot tub, have your drains checked and if you don’t have two dome shaped inlets then do not use the spa until this has been corrected.
  • You don’t use the hot tub alone. This doesn’t mean that someone has to be in there with you, just that they are close by in case of a problem.

Of the deaths reported by the Consumer Product Safety Commission over 160 of them were children. The dangers to children are the same as listed above for adults and in addition children have poor judgment about safety issues. That’s why it’s extremely important to keep the hot tub cover locked down so that children will not have access to it without adult supervision. If your tub is inside you might have less of a concern unless there are young children living in or visiting your home. If your hot tub is outside a cover lock is almost a necessity.

There are millions of hot tubs safely in use today, and this article is meant to help you protect yourself, not frighten you from one of the most relaxing and satisfying experiences you can have. Follow some simple rules, use good judgment, and you can have a lifetime of safe and fun times in your hot tub.