You may not hear about hot tub drownings nearly as often as you hear about swimming pool drownings, but we assure you, they occur. According to an article in the East Bay Times, “AN AMERICAN drowns nearly every day in a bathtub, hot tub or spa, and the deaths occur disproportionately in Western states where victims often drink or take drugs while soaking in hot water.”
Interestingly, some rural parts of the United States report hot tub drownings that are three times the national average, according to a Scripps Howard News Service study that looked into federal mortality records between 1999 and 2003.
What’s more, California residents, who take the lead in the number of residential hot tubs owned nationwide, are also three times more likely to drown in a hot tub than residents in New York, a state where hot tub ownership and drownings are low by comparison.
Alcohol Use Likely Culprit in Hot Tub Drownings
In the East Bay Times article, it says that safety experts were surprised when they learned that hot tub drownings were more likely to occur in the Western states, but they quickly suggested the likely culprit in many of the hot tub drownings may be alcohol use.
“You get into a hot tub to relax and you drink to relax. When you put those two things together, you get more than you bargain for,” Jonathan Howland, an epidemiologist at Boston University and a national expert on death by drowning, told the Times. “The heat leads to dilation of the blood vessels, along with the alcohol. People are basically having a drop of blood pressure and having the equivalent of a faint,” said Howland.
Tony Gomez, manager of the Injury and Violence Prevention Division at the Seattle Public Health Department told the Times that up to 70 percent of all hot tub and pool drownings involving adults that are investigated by his department are alcohol-related.
“What we hear from those that survive or those that witnessed a drowning with alcohol impaired swimmers (and) soakers is that they just fell asleep or went unconscious and slipped under the water,” Gomez said.
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Injured in a hot tub accident? Contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team.