Hair Entanglements

There have been 49 incidents and 13 deaths since 1978 caused by having a person's hair sucked into the suction fitting of a spa, hot tub, or whirlpool, holding the victim's head under water. Hair entanglement occurs when a bather's hair becomes entangled in a drain cover as the water and hair are drawn through the drain. In some incidents, children were playing a "hold your breath the longest" game, which allowed their long hair to be sucked into the drain.

The CPSC helped develop a voluntary standard for drain covers that helps reduce the risk of hair entrapment, and consumers should be sure they have new drain covers that meet this standard. If there is any doubt, a pool or spa professional can check the spa. A child should never be allowed to play in a way that could permit the child's hair to come near the drain cover. If a drain cover is missing or broken, the spa should be shut down until the cover is replaced.

Body Entrapment Since 1980 there have been 18 incidents in which parts of the body have been entrapped by the strong suction of the drain of pools, wading pools, spas, and hot tubs. Of these, 10 people were disemboweled and five others died.

The CPSC helped develop a standard requiring dome-shaped drain outlets and two outlets for each pump, which 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.

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