One of the most relaxing parts of life is lounging in a warm, bubbling hot tub. Stress and tension seem to melt away, and we come out feeling renewed. With a healthy regard for basic safety, and a dose of common sense, hot tub ownership can improve your health and your quality of life. Read below for some helpful safety tips.
Sanitizer & Water Balance
Do not enter a hot tub unless you know that the sanitizer level is adequate to keep the water healthy and free of harmful microorganisms. Maintaining the Total Alkalinity (TA) and pH for proper water balance, and regular shocking of the water will make your sanitizer much more effective in controlling bacteria.
Use the appropriate test strips to monitor TA and pH, as well as the sanitizer level.
Chemicals & Spa Supplies
Chemicals, additives and cleaning compounds are best kept in a cool, dry, and well ventilated location, away from direct sunlight and out of the reach of children. Read and follow all directions on chemical labels.
As a rule, hot tub chemicals should not be mixed together prior to addition to the water. Dissolve dry chemicals one at a time in a plastic bucket of clean water, then pour into the hot tub. This will also prevent damage to the interior shell from direct contact of undissolved granules.
Alcohol and Drugs
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. Many people prefer the enjoyment of a chilled soft drink, juice or mineral water while relaxing in their hot tubs.
Too much time soaking in warm water 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, and modern spas are normally set at the factory not to exceed that limit.
A safe soaking time should not exceed 15 minutes. Some medical authorities have recommended a lower maximum temperature of 100° to 102° F. They advise that since infants and children are more sensitive to heat, they should be exposed to water of not more than 95° F, for no more than 10 minutes. Consult with your family doctor.
Persons with heart disease, diabetes, high or low blood pressure, or any other serious illness should not enter a spa or without first consulting with, and obtaining the advice of a physician.
Keeping a floating thermometer in the water is a good idea, especially if your spa does not have a digital temperature readout indicator.
Children and Infants
Children should be introduced into the hot tub slowly to give them time to adjust to the change in temperature and to alleviate fear or discomfort. Infants should not enter a hot tub without a doctor’s approval.
NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES leave children unattended in a hot tub. Even shallow ones pose a drowning hazard, and even a few moments alone is too long. Better safe than sorry is a good rule to tub by!
Pregnant women should not enter a hot tub without first consulting with their physician and following the doctor’s advice.
A drowning risk can occur when a bather’s hair becomes entangled in a drain cover, as the water and hair are drawn through the drain. Never allow children (or anyone) to play with heads underwater in a spa.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission helped develop a standard requiring dome-shaped drain outlets and two outlets for each pump as recorded in the Virginia Graeme Baker Act. 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 to help prevent entrapment. If you have a swimming pool, have it checked as well.
Regularly have a professional check your hot tub 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. Make sure you have a GFCI-protected power disconnect device installed, and know where and how to use it in an emergency.
Power Cutoff Switch
The National Electrical Code requires the installation of an approved manual disconnect device for your hot tub to be located at least 6 ft. away and within line of sight of the spa for safety. Make sure that your 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.
Locate all electrical outlets a safe distance away from your hot tub as specified in local building codes. Keep electrical devices away from the water, and never place them on the edge of the hot tub. If an electrical appliance should fall into the water, or be touched by a bather, electrocution could result.
Small children are curious, and unsupervised hot tubs can be an attraction to them. Make sure that the hot tub cover straps are tight enough to prevent a child from slipping underneath. Make sure your cover is in sound condition. Replace if necessary.
Safety Rails & Steps
Getting in and out of s with wet, slippery feet can pose a hazard, especially in below-freezing weather. Consider the addition of sturdy spa steps and a handrail.
Keep dry towels handy for feet and hands. Non-skid surfaces around the parameter of the spa are a good idea. Serve snacks and drinks in plastic containers to avoid the possibility of broken glass. Make sure that adequate lighting is provided at ground level, especially if you use your hot tub after dark.
It is always wiser (and a lot more fun, we might add!) for adults to soak together. With two or more persons bathing, someone will be there to help if someone has a problem. Always accompany children.
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