It’s easy to overlook hot tubs as a drowning risk. They do not get the same type of publicity that pools receive, and being smaller and more shallow, most parents do not equate them with the same danger. Nevertheless, they are a large body of water in or around the house that does claim the lives of many young children.
The precautions for hot tubs are roughly the same as they are for pools: keep them covered when not in use; if you have little children either the cover or the area where the hot tub resides needs to be locked; and stay extra vigilant in monitoring children. Keep the chemicals securely locked away, and if you haven’t already, read the story on the in the prior section to learn about how dangerous water treatment chemicals can be.
Also, remind kids that the top is not a play area. It can be an alluring flat surface … perfect for a stage or other childhood games. Many children have been injured or killed because they were playing on top of the hot tub cover and it buckled or folded in. Remind children not to play in or around the hot tub, and even if your kids are older, keep it covered when not in use, because a child who slips, falls, and clunks their head can still drown in an uncovered hot tub, no matter what their swimming ability. On the same token, it’s a good idea to install some sort of non-slick surface in the area around the hot tub, because wet, slippery floors can be dangerous for reasons other than drowning.
Other Hot-Tub Precautions:
- Remind children that the hot tub is not a pool, and don’t let them jump or dive into it. Drownings have occurred because a child is playing in the hot tub with no adults around, jumps into it, slips, clunks their head, and drowns.
- It may go without saying, but remind kids anyway that they are never to use the hot tub without an adult around.
- Keep the water temperature at or below 104 degrees F, and limit the time kids spend in the hot tub to around 15 minutes. Children are more sensitive to heat extremes than adults, and have thinner skin. This makes their skin burn easier, and it also makes them more vulnerable to heat exposure.
- Contact your manufacturer to ensure that the covers on your hot tub’s suction drains are safe and meet current requirements. It isn’t just pool drains that have entrapped kids; they’ve been killed by the suction of hot tub drains too.
Water Safety printable book
A Fun and entertaining children’s book that teaches kids some basic principles on water safety. Recommended for kids ages 4-10.