The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) helped develop standards
to prevent hair entanglement and body part entrapment in spas, hot tubs, and
whirlpools. These standards should help prevent deaths and injuries.
Consumers should fix their old spas, hot tubs, and whirlpools with new,
safer drain covers. CPSC warns about these hazards:
- Drownings --
The main hazard from hot tubs and spas is the same as that from pools -
drowning. Since 1980, CPSC has reports of more than 700 deaths in spas and
hot tubs. About one-third of those were drownings to children under age
five. Consumers should keep a locked safety cover on the spa whenever it
is not in use and keep children away unless there is constant adult
- Hair Entanglement
-- Since 1978, CPSC has reports of 49 incidents (including 13 deaths) in
which people's hair was sucked into the suction fitting of a spa, hot tub,
or whirlpool, causing the victim's head to be held under water. Hair
entanglement occurs when a bather's hair becomes entangled in a drain
cover as the water and hair are drawn through the drain. In some
incidents, children were playing a "hold your breath the longest" game.
Permitting their long hair to be sucked into the drain. CPSC helped
develop a voluntary standard for drain covers that helps reduce the risk
of hair entrapment. Consumers should be sure they have new drain covers
that meet this standard. If you are not sure, call a pool or spa
professional to check the spa. Never allow a child to play in a way that
could permit the child's hair to come near the drain cover. If a drain
cover is missing or broken, shut down the spa until the cover is replaced.
- Body part Entrapment
-- CPSC knows of 18 incidents since 1980 in which parts of the body have
been entrapped by the strong suction of the drain of pools, wading pools,
spas, and hot tubs. Of these, 10 resulted in disembowelment and 5 other
people died. CPSC helped develop a standard requiring dome-shaped drain
outlets and two outlets for each pump. This reduces the powerful suction
if one drain is blocked. Consumers with older spas should have new drain
covers installed and may want to consider getting a spa with two drains.
- Hot Tub Temperatures
-- CPSC knows of several deaths from extremely hot
water (approximately 110 degrees Fahrenheit) in a spa. High temperatures
can cause drowsy-ness which may lead to unconsciousness, resulting in
drowning. In addition, raised body temperature can lead to heat stroke and
death. In 1987, CPSC helped develop requirements for temperature controls
to make sure that spa water temperatures never exceed 104 degrees
Fahrenheit. Pregnant women and young children should not use a spa before
consulting with a physician.
CPSC recommends these safety precautions
when using a hot tub, spa, or whirlpool:
1. Always use a locked safety cover when the spa is not in use and keep
young children away from spas or hot tubs unless there is constant adult
2. Make sure the spa has the dual drains and drain covers required by
current safety standards.
3. Regularly have a professional check your spa or hot tub and make sure it
is in good, safe working condition, and that drain covers are in place and
not cracked or missing. Check the drain covers yourself throughout the year.
4. Know where the cut-off switch for your pump is so you can turn it off in
5. Be aware that consuming alcohol while using a spa could lead to drowning.
6. Keep the temperature of the water in the spa at 104 degrees Fahrenheit or