Safety Guidelines for Hot Tubs

As a spa or hot tub owner, you may be legally liable for the safety of all persons who use your facility. You have the ultimate responsibility. Be sure your insurance policy is updated to include ownership of your spa or hot tub.

But, facing ownership responsibilities does not mean taking the fun out of using your spa or hot tub. If you know about safety practices and use good judgment, you will find that the benefits of a spa or hot tub can far outweigh the risks. Here are some guidelines for using your spa or hot tub.


Supervision is a key element in getting maximum, safe enjoyment from your spa or hot tub. One individual must assume primary responsibility for supervising the spa or hot tub. The supervisor must be thoroughly familiar with all facets of the safe operation and maintenance of the spa or hot tub. He or she will take responsibility for communicating safety information to all persons who enter the spa or hot tub area. It is a good idea to designate a back up for times when the primary supervisor is unavailable.

The supervisor is responsible for enforcing “house rules” for your spa or hot tub. Draw up these rules from information here and other information from the manufacture or dealer. These rules should cover such things as the length of time allowed for a soak, consumption of alcoholic beverages, maintenance, use of electrical appliances and the handling of chemicals. Establish rules immediately. Write them in simple language and post them where they are easy to see, near the spa or hot tub. Use the safety information you are given to develop your safety rules.

These rules should be clearly communicated to and understood by all persons, young and old, who use your spa or hot tub. Most importantly, consistently enforce these rules. Never leave the spa or hot tub unsupervised. When supervision is not available, even for a moment, close the spa or hot tub.

It makes sense to pay special attention to educating young children about safety precautions. Teach your children about equipment maintenance and proper upkeep of the spa or hot tub. As they get older, your children will learn from your example that they must respect the spa or hot tub and surrounding area, and act responsibly.

It also makes sense for the supervisor and other responsible family members to be trained in artificial respiration and/or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Instruction is available from local community organizations.

Soaking Safety

Soaking in your spa or hot tub is relaxing, warm and wonderful. The hot water soothes your body and rejuvenates your spirits. But that same hot water holds some potential dangers.

Persons with heart disease, diabetes, high or low blood pressure or any serious illness, and pregnant women-indeed persons with any doubt-should not enter a spa or hot tub with out prior consultation with their doctor.

Before entering, look at the water in your spa or hot tub. If there is cloudiness or foaming, or if a “locker room” or strong chlorine smell is present, the water needs treatment. Soaking in such water greatly increases your chances of getting a skin rash (pseudomonas). Be sure to maintain the water properly. Ask your spa or hot tub professional for guidance.

People with skin, ear, genital or other body infections, open sores or wounds should not use the spa or hot tub because of the possibility of spreading infection.

Shower with soap and water before and after using the spa or hot tub. Showering before use washes away many of the common skin bacteria, and removes lotions, deodorants, creams, etc. Perspiration and lotions will reduce the effectiveness of the disinfectant and lesson the ability of the filter to work efficiently.

High water temperatures can elevate your body temperature of your internal organs beyond safe limits. (It’s almost like having a fever.) It is recommended that maximum water temperature never exceed 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius).

Soaking too long makes some people nauseous, dizzy, lightheaded or faint. Don’t soak for more than 15 minutes at one sitting in 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) water. If you wish to soak for a longer period of time in high temperatures, leave the spa or hot tub after 15 minutes, shower, cool down and then return for another brief stay. In lower temperatures (e.g., 98.6 degrees – normal body temperature), most people can comfortably and safely soak for longer periods at one sitting. If you have any questions about what’s right for you and your family, consult with your doctor.

Never use the spa or hot tub when you’re alone.

Never use a spa or hot tub while or after using alcohol. Alcohol acts to expand your blood vessels and increase your body temperature- much like soaking in hot water does. Alcohol in your bloodstream and soaking at the same time creates a combined effect that can be damaging. The body temperature may accelerate to dangerous levels quickly. The alcohol may cause nausea, dizziness or lightheadedness. The ultimate danger of combined alcohol consumption and hot water soaking is drowning due to loss of consciousness, heart attack or injury due to passing out and falling.

As with alcohol, the combined use of certain prescribed medicines and hot water soaking can be dangerous. Never use a spa or hot tub while or after using narcotics or other drugs that may cause sleepiness, drowsiness or raise or lower blood pressure. With any drug or medication, consult with your doctor about potential harmful effects from combined use of the drug and hot water soaking. Never use a spa or hot tub if you are under the influence of drugs.

It is best not to soak immediately after eating a heavy meal.

Keep an accurate thermometer in the spa or hot tub at all times to monitor the water temperature. Be sure you check the water temperature before and while in the spa or hot tub.

Do not try to adjust or touch equipment such as pumps, heaters or electrical appliances while you are in the spa or hot tub, or while standing in water, unless designed as such and recommended by the manufacturer.

Enter the spa or hot tub slowly and cautiously. Be careful of your footing, and allow your body to gradually get used to the water temperature. Leave slowly as well, because your leg muscles may be sufficiently relaxed to make you a bit unsteady, and you may become lightheaded.

Never allow children to use the spa or hot tub unsupervised. Children enjoy playing in water and may not understand the risk involved in too much exposure. Discretion is advised in allowing children to use spas and hot tubs at all, since their young bodies may not adjust well to the high temperatures. If in doubt, check with your doctor.

If young children will be using your spa or hot tub, explain to them that they cannot under any circumstances dive or jump into it. While a spa or hot tub may seem large and deep to a child, it is not designed for jumping, diving or underwater swimming.


Your spa or hot tub is an excellent place to relax your cares away. It is also good for “warming up” with simple flexibility exercises. These exercises are easier in water because water effectively lessens the pull of gravity on your body. Be aware of the weakening effect of hot water and don’t overdue it. If you wish to exercise in your spa or hot tub, lower the temperature to 80 degrees.

Before beginning any exercise program, consult your physician. Use good judgment in monitoring your own exercise and supervising others who exercise in your spa or hot tub.


Your spa or hot tub can be the focal point for happy entertaining. Plan ahead to prevent accidents and injuries, and make your entertaining truly enjoyable.

Your family and guest are likely to be intrigued by your new spa or hot tub. Before they go in – and especially if it is their first time in a hot water facility – explain the safety precautions. Point out how to enter it and where the seats are located.

Food and drink play an important part in your entertaining. Establish an area away from the spa or hot tub for refreshments to prevent accidental slips or falls caused by spills near the spa or tub on the deck, and to prevent debris from falling into the facility.

More likely than not your guest will be barefooted while near the spa or hot tub. Use only unbreakable dishes, beverage containers and utensils. Never use glass anywhere near the spa or hot tub. Broken glass is invisible in water and extremely difficult to get out of the support system.

Keep electrical appliances a significant distance from the spa or hot tub. Don’t use extension cords. Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) on any appliance that must be near the spa or hot tub. Where possible, use battery operated appliances around the spa or hot tub. Electrocution from appliances and telephones in contact with water is a real danger.

If you use your spa or hot tub at night, provide adequate lighting around the facility.

Alcohol consumption and spa and hot tub activities do not mix. Alcohol acts as a depressant. It can “slow you down” because it affects the part of the brain, which exercises restraint and control. Alcohol can instill false courage or “bravado,” leading people to try things they normally would not. Therefore, persons who have been drinking alcohol should not be allowed in the spa or hot tub, and should be carefully supervised in the surrounding area.

Prescription medications sometimes cause drowsiness or have other side effects. If you are taking prescription medicine, check with your doctor before using the spa or hot tub.

Never allow anyone who has been drinking alcohol or using drugs to go into the spa or hot tub.

Do not allow running on the deck or area around the spa or hot tub, as injuries may occur from slips and falls.

If your spa or hot tub is out doors, stay out of it during lighting or rainstorms, because of the possibility of electrocution from the lightning hitting the water. You have the bottom line responsibility in entertaining. Use good judgment to Spa Drowning Prevention Tips.

Drowning prevention information is not “for someone else.” It is for you. Because only by increased awareness and effort can we reduce some very alarming statistics. Drowning is one of the largest causes of accidental death for American infants five and under.

Children are naturally attracted to spas and hot tubs. To prevent drowning and other serious injuries, you must keep children away from spas and hot tubs in the absence of adequate supervision. Here are some safety tips that can help save young lives. For more information, write for brochures entitled “Children Aren’t Waterproof” and “Layers of Protection” from the National Spa & Pool Institute, 2111 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22314.

Never leave a child alone out of eye contact supervision in or near the spa or hot tub – not even for a second.

Remove vegetation and other obstacles to assure a clear view of the spa or hot tub from the house.

Make certain that all doors leading from the house to the spa or hot tub area are kept shut and latched. Make sure any latches or doorknobs are above the reach of toddlers to protect against unauthorized entry and use. Limit access to the spa or hot tub by locking doors or gates whenever soaking cannot be supervised.

A fence, wall or natural barrier shall completely enclose your spa or hot tub.

If you use a spa or hot tub cover, carefully read the manufacturer’s directions for safe use. Always completely remove the cover before using your spa or hot tub. Drain any standing water from the surface of your spa or hot tub cover (e.g., by using a water pump). Even a small amount of water may be sufficient for an infant or small child to drown. Be especially alert for potential drowning accidents if you use any lightweight, floating spa or hot tub covers. These are not safety covers and no one should walk or crawl on them.

Do not place objects (e.g., chairs or tables) near the spa or hot tub fence that could allow a youngster to climb over.

Never use a spa or hot tub if any of the grate outlets are missing or broken to avoid body entrapment.

Keep toys, particularly tricycles or wheel toys, away from in ground spas or hot tubs. A child playing with these could accidentally fall into the water.

Do not allow anyone of any age to soak without a; spotter” nearby. Examples of good safety behavior by adults are important for young children.

Do not permit playful screaming for help (false alarms), which might mask a real emergency.

Never consider young children water-safe despite their swimming skills, previous instruction or experience. Many professionals warn that these lessons made provide a false sense of security to a child’s family and not actually prepare a child for surviving a true emergency.

Find out some tips and secrets about your hot tub / spa as well as how to fix some common problems.

More Frequently

Help protect yourself, your family and guest. If you are unsure of any person’s condition or abilities, prohibit them from using your spa or hot tub. Remember, you are in charge of your facility.

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