The cool outside temperatures mean a soak in the hot water of your hot tub or spa is a must… well, at least in my family. Using your spa can be relaxing, fun and enjoyable… but just like any body of water, spas have a high risk from moving from fun to dangerous.
Tips for keeping your hot tub safe and sound!
Control Sanitizer Levels
Make sure the sanitizer level is adequate to keep the water healthy and free of harmful microorganisms. Maintain the Total Alkalinity (TA) and pH for proper water balance and regularly shock the water to make your sanitizer much more effective in controlling bacteria. Creepy crawlees in the water is unhealthy for our bodies.
Don’t Drink and Drive – or Drink and Soak
Hot water amplifies the effects of alcohol and certain drugs, and the result can be dangerous. Consult your doctor regarding the use of prescription drugs and hot tubs.
Soaking for too long in elevated water temperatures can raise body heat to hazardous levels. The National Spa and Pool Institute considers 104° F to be the maximum safe water temperature for adults. Soaking times should not exceed 15 minutes. If you have heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure issues, or any other serious illness, you should consult with your doctor before using a hot tub.
Babies and children are more sensitive to heat and should not be exposed to water above 95° F and soaking times for them should not exceed 10 minutes. You should consult with your family doctor for their recommendations for your family. Use a floating thermometer if your heater doesn’t have a digital temperature read out.
Keeping Kids Safe
Children and babies should be introduced to the hot tub slowly to give them time to adjust to the change in temperature and to alleviate fear or discomfort. NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES leave children unattended in hot tubs, spas, pools or any body of water. Even shallow ones pose a drowning hazard, and even a few moments alone is too long. Most child drownings are not “accidents”… they are caused by caregivers not paying attention. Better safe than sorry is a good rule to tub by!
A Bun in the Oven
Because of the high temperatures, pregnant women should not enter a hot tub or spa without first consulting with their doctor. Soaking in hot water can make pregnant women overheat, which raises the heart rate and reduces blood flow to the uterus, potentially putting the baby under stress or interfering with normal development. And because pregnant women have a hard time cooling down, they’re more likely to pass out if they get overheated.
Never allow children (or anyone) to play with heads underwater in a spa. A drowning risk can occur when a person’s hair becomes entangled in a drain cover and pulled into the drain.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission helped develop a standard requiring dome-shaped drain outlets and two outlets for each pump, which reduces the powerful suction if one drain is blocked. If you own an older hot tub, you should have new drain covers installed and may want to consider getting a spa with two drains to help prevent entrapment. If you have a swimming pool, have it checked as well.
Electricity and Water Don’t Mix
The National Electrical Code requires the installation of a manual disconnect device be located at least 5 feet away, and within sight of the spa for safety. Make sure that your hot tub’s electrical system is properly wired, grounded, and protected by a GFCI.
NEVER handle a corded phone, radio, TV, hair dryer or any other electrical device while you are around spas or pools, in contact with water, when hands or feet are wet, or when barefoot, as electrocution could result.
Covered and Locked
Always use a locked safety cover when the spa is not in use. Keep young children away from spas unless there is constant adult supervision. Small children are curious, and unsupervised hot tubs can be an attraction to them. Make sure that the spa cover straps are tight enough to prevent a child from slipping under. Make sure your spa cover is in good condition and replace it if necessary. Do not allow children or pets to stand, crawl or sit on top of a spa cover.
It is always wiser (and a lot more fun, I might add!) for adults to soak together. With two or more persons soaking, someone will be there to help if the other person has a problem. Always accompany children at all times.
So let’s keep it safe, keep it fun and keep it relaxing! Hot Tub Safety is important!