Myth Buster: How safe are hot tubs?

Every once in a while we get these questions about how safe hot tubs really are. It seems to be that the news stories that point out the rare hot tub injuries get wide enough exposure that it perpetuates this myth that hot tubs really aren’t safe. Thankfully for us, that’s not true!

In fact, the last hot tub injury reporting that was done in 2009 found that many of the injuries could have easily been avoided with proper monitoring of kids by adults around hot tubs, and by using simple common sense.

When you’re using a hot tub, observe the following tips to enjoy a safe happy soak:

  • Never leave children unattended in a hot tub. An alarming number of hot tub injuries surrounded children left unattended in hot tubs. Fortunately, residential hot tubs (especially Hot Spring Spas) don’t have any of the serious suction fittings in them that result in some entrapment issues that find their way into news reporting. Most residential hot tubs have much better filtering related to the size of jet pumps in tubs, thereby eliminating suction issues.
  • No jumping or diving into hot tubs. Other hot tub injuries reported were related to jumping and even diving into hot tubs by kids. (Remember—kids will look at a hot tub like it’s a mini pool!) Setting some ground rules about how hot tubs can be used before a child enters the tub is key to avoid many of these injuries.
  • Use hot tub cool down seats and bar tops to safely enter & exit a hot tub. Many other injuries were related to slipping and/or falling when entering or exiting a hot tub. A lot of hot tubs (including most of the models we sell) feature cool down seats. These raised areas inside the hot tub are ideal for stepping in and out of the tub. They also provide a terrific place to get your torso out of the water when you start to feel overheated and need a break, but don’t want to exit the tub entirely. In a perfect world, you’ll have a set of steps outside the tub to step up to the lip of the tub (known as the bar top). Then, once you’re on the top step, do not step up and over the bar top into the tub. Instead, use the bar top of the tub as a seat. Sit on the bar top, swing your legs up and over from the steps onto the cool down seat of the tub and then lower yourself the rest of the way into the water. This will avoid the likelihood of a slip, trip or fall when entering the hot tub. Exercise the same steps when leaving the tub as well. Other accessories like a hand rail can also help with entering and exiting the tub safely.
  • Watch water levels when sitting in a hot tub. It’s never good for kids to try to sit on seats too deep in the water. It will be too easy for them to let water enter their nostrils or be tempted to drink the water. Keep a couple of booster seats designed for hot tub use available. They will help bump kids up to a safer level for sitting in the hot tub, and put your mind at ease. (You might even enjoy one yourself!)
  • Stay hydrated. When soaking in a hot tub, your body is excreting body fluids and sweat—which is good for you. What is not good for you is to let your body get dehydrated in a hot water environment, especially if you plan on long soaks or are having a hot tub party. Be sure to have plenty of refreshing non-alcoholic beverages handy for soaking. Iced tea, lemonade, and good ol’ water are all excellent choices. (Fresh finger fruits like grapes and strawberries are great, too!)

Bottom line is this: hot tubs really are safe! The key is for those using the hot tub to use common sense while taking a soak, make sure kids are properly monitored during hot tub soaking, and stay hydrated.

Happy safe soaking!