2 Children Treated For Bathtub Drownings This Month
10 tips to protect your child in the tub
Two children were rushed to Cook Children’s after being left alone in a bathtub so far in July, according to the Trauma registry of the medical center. Nine chilren have been treated for bathtub drownings this year, with one resulting in a death.
Experts at Cook Children's want parents to know the "Lifeguard Your Child" message doesn't just include swimming pools or lakes, but bathtubs too. Regardless of where your child is in the water, one message remains a constant: “Don’t leave your child alone.” Studies show that almost every bathtub drowning incident occurred while the infant was not supervised.
“When talking to parents about bathtub safety, I like to stress ‘touch supervision’ in infants and young children.” said Corwin Warmink, medical director of Emergency Services at Cook Children’s. “This means you are close enough to reach your child at all times versus just watching them from a distance. A drowning happens quickly and silently. A baby can slip under the water and parents may not even realize it, if they aren’t right there with the baby.”
Nationally, an estimated 100 drownings will occur in bathtubs. Half of those drownings will be infants under 12 months of age.
Some experts disagree on when a child is old enough to leave a child in the bathe alone. Dr. Warmink says the general rule is around school age, but it really depends on the child and his or her maturity level. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death in children ages 1 to 4 years old and the second leading cause of unintentional injury related death for ages 1 to 14.
Dana Walraven, manager of Community Health Outreach at Cook Children's, reminds parents there is never a safe amount of time to leave your child in the bath. She says if a doorbell rings or you need to leave the bath for even a brief moment, get the child out of the bathtub while you are gone.
“A child can drown in the time it takes to answer the phone,” Walraven said. “We ask parents for constant supervision of their child while in the water. You literally can't take your eyes off of a child while in the bathtub, even for a second. Bath time is a great time to bond with your baby, but it can be a dangerous time in and around water without proper adult supervision."
- Never leave your child unattended in the water.
- Put the cell phone away. Give your child 100 percent of your attention.
- The job of supervising a child in the pool is for adults only and not siblings. A child or even a teen should not be held responsible for supervising a child in the bathtub.
- If you have to answer the door or the phone, take your baby out of the water and hold him or her while you do so.
- Fill the tub only with enough water to cover the infant's legs.
- Once the bath is over, immediately drain the tub.
- Don't rely on bath rings or seats to keep a baby safe.
- Store empty tubs, buckets, containers and wading pools away after use. Store them upside down and out of a child’s reach.
- Keep doors to bathrooms and laundry rooms closed.
- Learn CPR for infants.
Learn more about water safety at home: