4 common hot tub safety risks

| June 10, 2014 | 0 Comments

The tragic death of four-year-old Cameron Nunez — who drowned after his arm became entrapped in his grandparents’ hot tub — is a good time to stop and think about spa safety. While much attention is focused on swimming pools when it comes to water safety, hot tubs, or spas, can be just as dangerous. In fact, the girl who inspired the original Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act died in a hot tub entrapment. Here are 4 common hot tub water safety mistakes to avoid — and stay safe this summer!

adults drinking beer in hot tub

Not a great idea, as it turns out. From Flickr’s Joe Shlabotnik.

  1. Improper safety drain covers. The drowning of Cameron Nunez — the first such death since the Pool & Spa Safety Act began in 2008 — could have been avoided if the spa had the proper drain cover. Spas are especially dangerous when it comes to entrapment because soakers are so close to the drain. Limbs, hair and even jewelry can easily become tangled or stuck in drains, which can lead to drowning. Make sure you drain is covered with a VGB-approved safety drain cover before you take your next soak!

  2. Drinking or drugging in the hot tub. Forget what you see on TV and the movies! Experts warn that drinking or drugging (even the prescription variety) before – or while – soaking in a hot tub can be deadly. That’s because alcohol and drugs increases the likelihood of passing out and heart attack. Inebriated people also injure themselves when they pass out and slip into the water, sometimes drowning. Save the drinks and drugs for after hot tubbing.

  3. Missing or inadequate hot tub safety covers. Unused spas are still bodies of water, and they can be an invitation to disaster if a child or nonswimmer inadvertently falls into them. A spa that is not in use should always have a locked safety cover. Keep young children away from spas unless there is constant adult supervision. Remember, unsupervised hot tubs can be an attraction to curious children. Use spa cover straps to secure the cover, and make sure they are tight enough to stop a child from slipping under the cover.

  4. Becoming overheated, especially for children. The CPSC says hot tubs are safe up to a temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit. But that doesn’t mean they’re safe indefinitely. Pregnant women should always check with their doctor before getting in a hot tub. Never bring infants or toddlers into the water. Their skin is often too thin to protect them from the heat. All children are especially susceptible to the high temperatures and can easily pass out or become sick. The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals recommends that only children who can stand in the middle of the hot tub with their heads above water should be allowed to soak. All soakers need to take regular breaks every 15 minutes or so and drink lots of water.

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Category: Hot tubs, Safety

About the Author

Gary Thill is the former editor of Aquatics International, an award-winning magazine for the commercial pool and waterpark markets. He is a nationally recognized writer and editor with an extensive communications background that includes print, online and social media.