Hot Tub Safety Tips for Children and Adults

by Terry Bryant

jacuzzi hot tub dangers

Familiar with the dangers posed by hot tubs?

At present, the U. S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission’s statistics concerning annual hot tub injuries and deaths can be difficult to interpret since they’re commonly grouped together with swimming pool accidents and drownings. However, ongoing news stories clearly indicate that hot tubs still pose serious safety threats for all age groups. For example, in April of 2016, an older couple in their early 60s were discovered dead in a hot tub in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. One year earlier in 2015, a Canadian couple in their 60s died while using a hot tub in Mexico, before attending their daughter’s wedding. In the latter instance, the husband had a heart attack while inside the hot tub with his wife.  He then fell on top of his wife — drowning her. When young children are injured or killed in hot tubs, it’s often due to their little hands and feet getting trapped near suction devices located at the bottom of hot tubs. The following hot tub safety guidelines, gleaned from both government and disability websites, can help all of us better prevent all future hot tub injuries and fatalities.

Ways to Lessen Your Family’s Chances of Being Injured or Killed in a Hot Tub

  • Stay aware of all current health conditions and avoid hot tubs when necessary. Those who suffer from heart disease or seizure disorders are especially at risk when using hot tubs – along with those who drink alcohol or use any illegal (or highly sedating) drug;
  • Avoid using a hot tub unless someone is periodically checking on you. While you can get around this problem by using a hot tub maintained near an indoor or outdoor pool (that’s constantly monitored by a lifeguard), it’s never wise to use a hot tub alone. After all, nearly anyone can suddenly become too dehydrated or dizzy to stay above water. And certain viral infections can make people very nauseated or dizzy. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is best when performed quickly on anyone who is close to drowning;
  • Be careful about using feet and hands near hot tub suctions and drains. When a healthy or disabled child or adult drops below the water surface to look around, their carelessly placed fingers, hands and feet can get caught in suction devices and even cause them to drown. Likewise, children or adults with long hair can suddenly feel it get caught in a drain or suction – possibly pulling them down until they drown;
  • Limit your time spent in a hot tub. Even if you continually drink fresh water while in the tub, you’re still likely to become rather dehydrated if you stay in the tub too long;
  • Know your prescription drugs and all potential side effects before using a hot tub. Many drugs can accelerate your heart rate, possibly making it harder for a heart patient to breathe properly and stay afloat in an unusually warm hot tub;
  • Ask how often the hot tub is fully cleaned. No one needs to soak in any water shortly after another person has possibly urinated in it – or simply left behind a considerable amount of sun tan lotion and other topical creams or ointments;
  • Make sure the temperature is properly maintained. Just like swimming pools, patrons can become ill when the temperature isn’t kept within a narrow safety range. Go ahead and ask what the current water temperature is – and then compare it to what your personal doctor has indicated is safe for you, given your specific medical issues;
  • Pregnant women and very young children under age five may want to skip using hot tubs altogether. Given the often fragile state of these individuals’ health – as well as those battling one or more physical or developmental disabilities – soaking in a hot tub may not be worth the increased health risks;
  • Always keep an especially close eye on young children and the elderly. Those who are no longer steady on their feet may tend to slip below the surface quicker — long before anyone else notices.

Finally, try only to use a hot tub that’s surrounded by plenty of safety strips or properly treated surfaces since many people suffer serious slips and falls in pool and hot tub areas.