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Whirlpool Tub Risks for Children

by Christy Ayala, studioD
Prevent unsupervised children from using or playing near whirlpool tubs to reduce the risk of drowning.

Prevent unsupervised children from using or playing near whirlpool tubs to reduce the risk of drowning.

Many homes and hotels have whirlpool tubs. Relaxing and soothing to adults, they can be dangerous to children. While whirlpool tubs are filled with enticing bubbles and warm water, they also hold multiple risks for injury or drowning. Fortunately, adults can take steps, both at home and away, to minimize risk to their children when bathing in a whirlpool tub.

Drowning Risk

Whirlpool bathtubs -- or bathtubs of any kind -- pose a significant risk to young children for drowning. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that after swimming pools, bathtubs are the second leading location where young children drown. Children can drown in only a few inches of water. It can happen quickly and quietly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, adding that adults should never be involved in a distracting activity, such as reading, doing household chores or talking on the phone while supervising children in the tub.


Supervising young children in a bathtub or whirlpool tub can reduce the risk for injury from slipping and falling as well as help protect them from drowning. Young children should be within arm's reach of an attentive adult at all times while in the tub, and if the adult leaves the bathroom for any reason, little ones should leave as well. Never leave young children unsupervised or under the care of other children while in a bathtub or whirlpool tub, even for a moment.

Drain Entrapment

According to CPSC, 13 cases of injury were reported between 1999 and 2007 that involve victims being held underwater because their hair was sucked into the suction fitting of a whirlpool tub. This happens when a bather’s hair is drawn into the drain and becomes entangled in the cover. To reduce this risk, CPSC developed drain covers that prevent hair from becoming entangled. Help reduce risk for hair entrapment by preventing children from lying down in the water with their heads near the drain and making sure anti-entrapment drain covers have been installed in your whirlpool tub.

Whirlpool Tub Warnings and Tips

Though soaking in a hot whirlpool tub is relaxing, elevated water temperatures can pose health threats to young children and at-risk adults. Water temperature in your whirlpool tub should not exceed 104 degrees Fahrenheit, warns CPSC. Know where the shut-off valve is for your whirlpool tub and turn it off in case of an emergency. Have your tub checked by a professional to make sure drain covers are safe and in good working order, and check them yourself throughout the year.

About the Author

Christy Ayala writes about recreation, sports, aquatics, healthy living, family and parenting, language development, organizational change, pets and animals. Ayala holds a master's degree in recreation administration from Aurora University’s George Williams College, a graduate certificate in organizational change from Hawaii Pacific University and a bachelor's degree in Spanish from the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

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