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Prevent Children From Drowning in Hot Tubs and Spas

Hot tubs and spas often are an overlooked drowning danger for children. Drowning can result from unintentional falls into the water, from hair that becomes tangled in drains or jets, or from body parts becoming trapped.1

Consider keeping hot tubs and spas off-limits to young children. Talk to your doctor before allowing children younger than age 5 to use them.

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If you allow children in a hot tub or spa, prevent a drowning incident by taking proper precautions and talking to your children about potential hazards. The following recommendations can help protect your children from an accident or drowning related to hot tubs and spas:

  • Closely supervise children around a hot tub or spa.
  • Do not allow underwater play in a hot tub. Hot tub and spa jets and drains can suck hair in, trapping a child underwater. Explain to children that hot tubs and spas are not swimming pools or places for active play.
  • Make sure all drains and jets are in good, safe, working condition. This includes compliance with current safety standards. The strong suction of some older jets has caused deaths.
  • Know where the pump cutoff switch is located so it can be turned off in an emergency.
  • Keep a locked safety cover on the hot tub or spa when it is not in use. If a drain cover is missing or broken, shut down the spa until the drain cover is repaired or replaced.
  • Do not allow the water temperature to exceed 104°F (40°C) in hot tubs and spas. Drowning has occurred from extremely hot water, which can cause drowsiness and loss of consciousness. Heatstroke is another danger.

Citations

  1. Consumer Product Safety Commission (accessed 2010). Spas, hot tubs, and whirlpools. CPSC Document No. 5112. Available online: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/chdrown.html.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Last Revised November 30, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 30, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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