10 Everyday Backyard Hazards and How to Fix Them

Time Machine or Death Trap?
Keep your hot tub time down to 15 minutes or so, and never allow yourself to doze off. ©Pixland/Thinkstock

Hot tubs warm your bones on a baleful winter night. But in combination with the wrong factors, those warm waters can make for a downright dangerous stew.

Overheated hot tubs might feel wonderful for a few minutes, but once a tub exceeds 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius), you're sitting in a potential problem. In water of around 106 Fahrenheit (41 Celsius), the human body begins to lose some of its ability to regulate internal temperature, which can lead to heat stroke or unconsciousness and subsequent drowning.

Those risks escalate further if you've consumed alcohol. Booze increases the chance that you'll make poor decisions in the water, and that you may not feel the ill effects of overheating until it's too late. Whether you're drinking or not, limiting dips to around 15 minutes is the best way to minimize problems [source: APSP].

Although the small size of hot tubs makes them look suitable for small children, think again. Kids must be able to touch the bottom of the tub with their feet; otherwise drowning becomes a real possibility. Treat tubs with all the respect you give to a full-size pool to prevent tragedies.