Ah! Nothing like a warm soak in a hot tub, especially when it’s cold outside. But beware: The number of serious injuries attributed to hot tubs has risen dramatically in the last few decades.

A recent study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy in the U.S. reported that hot-tub-related injuries had increased by 160 per cent since 1990. The most common injuries are related to slips and falls; also occurring are drownings and near-drownings, as well as getting caught in the suction drain. Children may be at risk when unsupervised.

“Although some steps have been taken to make hot tubs safer, increased prevention efforts are needed,” said Dr. Lara McKenzie from the Ohio State University College of Medicine, who conducted the study.

The Center recommends placing slip-resistant surfacing in and around the hot tub, limiting the time spent in the hot tub to 15 minutes, limiting the temperature to 40 C, keeping the hot tub covered and locked when not in use, and complying with suction and drain cover standards. The Canadian Hospital Injury Reporting and Prevention Program reported several hot-tub body entrapments in the last two decades, most commonly a toe or a finger caught in the drain.