Consumer Product Safety

NITE Alert_56

December 13, 2002

Alert - Accidents caused by 24-hour jet-baths

The National Institute of Technology and Evaluation (NITE) has received an accident report that a girl was found with her hair drawn into the water suction inlet of a 24-hour jet-bath (a bathtub equipped with water jet available for use at any time). The girl died after she was taken to a hospital.
In the past, similar accidents were caused by whirlpool bathtubs (one case in August 1992 and two cases in September 2000) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and NITE posted alerts in official bulletins and NITE Alerts issued in December 2000 and March 2001.
This alert provides the accident details to reinforce consumer awareness in response to this similar accident which occurred with a 24-hour jet-bath.

1. Outline of the accident

The accident happened on November 2, 2002, in Ibaraki Prefecture. A girl (5-year-and-7- month-old) who was taking a bath in a 24-hour bath with her brother, found with her hair drawn into the water suction inlet. Her hair was cut off from the inlet; however she died after being taken to a hospital.

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2. Sales distributors and name of the product (model)

The names of the planning and sales distributor and the product (model) are as follows. Since the company went bankrupt in June 2000, another company, contracted to undertake maintenance of the product, will be in charge of responding to the accident.

Sales distributors and name of the product (model)
Planning and sales distributor Remotex Corp (bankrupt in 2000)
Maintenance contractor
(responsible for handling the accident)
Science, Inc.
Address:
2-15-10, Miyahara-cho, Saitama
TEL:
048-653-2641
Product name (model) Togoal Spa System (REMOTEX.TS-FN)

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3. Accident Cause

The investigation found that the suction inlet of the accident product was similar to that of the whirlpool bathtubs that caused such accidents in the past. The inlet design makes it difficult to withdraw hair once it has being sucked in and entangled.
Although the police department in charge of the accident does not conclude that the accident was caused by the girl's hair being drawn into the inlet, it is necessary to pay attention to the following when using similar products.

  1. (1) Never operate the product while children are bathing without adult supervision.
  2. (2) Never operate the product with the inlet cover and/or filter loosened or detached.
  3. (3) Never allow a body part to block off the inlet.
  4. (4) Never go underwater while the product is in operation.
  5. (5) People with long hair should not use this bathtub with their hair down.

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4. Response by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

METI issued a demand to the company responsible for the product maintenance to take immediate preventive measures.
In response to this demand, the company will send direct mail (reply-paid postcard) to each user of the relevant product on the customer list by the end of this month to call their attention to the risk. In addition, they will send safe inlet caps to each user as soon as they are available and provide necessary maintenance.
As an immediate measure, METI will provide strong instructions in writing for ensuring safety to groups including manufacturers and sales distributors of the bathtub, and as a drastic measure, METI will convene The Product Safety Committee of Consumer Affairs Council to consider the immediate designation of similar products as objects of regulations under the Consumer Product Safety Law.

Fore more information;
National Institute of Technology and Evaluation (NITE)
Product Safety Technology Center, Product Safety Investigation Division

Contact us

 Risk Analysis and Public Relations Division  Product Safety Technology Center  National Institute of Technology and Evaluation
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