Hot tub safety: 4 need-to-know facts
There’s plenty to love about hot tubs. But there’s also plenty you should know about hot tub safety. Whether you own a tub yourself or use one away from home, these are four key things to be aware of:
1. Hot tubs aren’t for everyone. Children younger than 5 years of age shouldn’t use them at all. Neither should people who have diarrhea or who have been drinking alcohol. Pregnant women and people with chronic health problems should check with a doctor first.
2. Hot tubs pose a drowning risk. Just as young children can drown in a pool, they can also drown in a hot tub. Be sure your tub has a locking cover that will not collapse under a child’s weight. And always supervise children when they’re in the water.
3. Hot tub water needs attention. Germs can multiply quickly in hot tub water that hasn’t been properly sanitized. That puts you at risk for problems such as ear infections and hot tub rash—an infection that causes itchy spots on the skin and pus-filled blisters around hair follicles.
Making sure chlorine or bromine and pH are at appropriate levels will help keep your water safe. You can purchase test strips at pool supply or home improvement stores to check on the water quality. Just follow label instructions.
Even when your water quality is good, try not to get water in your mouth. And shower with soap and water after exiting the tub.
4. Hot tubs pose an electrical hazard. Keep wires, light strings, and extension or power cords at least 5 feet away from the water. If your hot tub needs repair or upgrading to comply with electrical codes, turn to a qualified, licensed electrician.
Sources: American Red Cross; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Consumer Product Safety Commission