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
- Drownings -- The main hazard from hot tubs and spas
is the same as that from pools - drowning. Since 1990, CPSC has
reports of more than 800 deaths in spas and hot tubs. About
one-fifth 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
- Hair Entanglement -- Since 1990, CPSC has reports of
43 incidents (including 12 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
- Bodypart Entrapment -- CPSC knows of 74 incidents
since 1990 in which parts of the body have been entrapped by the
strong suction of the drain of pools, wad-ing pools, spas, and
hot tubs. Of these, two resulted in dis-embowelment and 13 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
drowsi-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
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 supervision.
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 an emergency.
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 below.