How to Hot Tub Safely in A Public Hot Tub

May 31, 2016
olympic-public-safety-blog                                                                                                                New York Times photo

May 31, 2016

Public hot tubs have been getting a lot of bad press lately. You don’t want to forgo the pleasure and relaxation of a hot tub, but you want to be safe,too.  What to do?

Follow our seven tips for tubbing fun & safety at resorts, hotels, health clubs and gyms.

1. CLEAR WATER COIN FLIP. Toss a dime into the hot tub and see if it’s heads or tails. That’s how clean and clear the water should be – you should be able to see the bottom drain as well as read your dime. Also, try the sniff test. If the water smells funky, dank or acrid, keep out. They’re not taking care of it, and it’s not safe. One last touch: if the sides of the tub feel slimy, do not enter.

2. BAD FOAM. Foam IS bad.If mounds of foam are still floating on the water when the jets are turned off, don’t get in. That means the water hasn’t been filtered correctly, needs cleaning, sanitizing and probably draining.

3. TEST TO BE SURE. Test the water for proper chlorine and pH with test strips found at any hot tub retailer. Dip the test strip in the water, following the directions on the package. Watch the color change and match it to the color chart that shows the proper colors for the pH of the water and what the disinfectant residual should be.  

4. CHECK FOR A SAFE BOTTOM DRAIN. All main drain covers must comply with the fairly new federal Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act. That means they have either large grates or a dome shape. If a cover is damaged or missing, alert the manager and don’t get in. Also, be sure your children know not to play with drain covers or near them.

5. WHO’S IN CHARGE HERE? Ask if the facility has someone on staff who is certified in pool operation. Certification means they’ve gone through training to maintain and operate the hot tub correctly.

 6. PLEAS AND THANK YOU. The Centers for Disease Control pleads for common sense in the water:

Three pleas for all hot tub bathers.

  • Please don’t hot tub when you have diarrhea. You can spread germs in the water and make others sick. This counts kids in diapers, too – even swim diapers leak.
  • Please avoid getting hot tub water in your mouth, and by all means don’t swallow if you accidentally let some in.
  • Please practice good hygiene. Shower with warm water before hot tubbing. Wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Get the germs off your body before you get your body in the water.

Three Pleas for Parents 

  • Please take your kids on regular restroom breaks and check diapers often. Do not wait for them to tell you they have to go.
  • Please change diapers in a restroom or diaper-changing area, not at the edge of the hot tub where germs can spread to surfaces and objects where others will be walking.
  • Please wash your child thoroughly (especially you-know-where) with soap and warm water so they don’t just look clean – they’re really clean before they get in the hot tub.

Hot tubbing is about peace of mind AND SAFETY.  Follow our tips for a safety, healthy relaxing soak.

Thanks to Tom Lachocki of the National Swimming Pool Foundation, for his contribution.

SANUM PER AQUA. Latin for Health through Water.