After pools, more children drown in bathtubs than in any other product in and around the home.For 2003 to 2005, the Consumer Product Safety Commission received reports of an average of 90 children younger than 5 years of age who drowned in bathtubs (62 percent), baby seats or bathinettes (15 percent), buckets and pails (11 percent), landscaping or yard products (6 percent), and other products (4 percent).
An annual average of 39 reports of non-fatal submersion incidents for 2005-2007 was reported for the same products.
The majority of drownings and non-fatal submersion incidents involved children younger than 2 years old.
Many of the reported incidents involved a lapse in supervision by caregivers, such as leaving the bathroom momentarily while the child was in the bathtub to answer the phone or door or to retrieve an item like a towel, reports the commission. In other incidents, an older sibling was left to watch a younger sibling.
"What parents need to know is that anywhere there is water, there is a potential drowning hazard to children," said Inez Tenenbaum, commission chairman, as part of the agency’s efforts to warn the public that the end of outdoor swimming and the pool season doesn’t mean the end of drowning dangers for young children. "Parents shouldn’t let their guard down; young children need constant supervision around bathtubs, bath seats, and buckets."
The commission recommends parents and caregivers follow these safety tips:
- Never leave young children alone, even for a moment, near any water. Young children can drown quickly in even small amounts of water.
- Always keep a young child within arm's reach in a bathtub. If you must leave, take the child with you.
- Don't leave a baby or toddler in a bathtub under the care of another young child.
- Never leave a bucket containing even a small amount of liquid unattended. Toddlers can fall headfirst into buckets and drown. After using a bucket, always empty and store it where young children can’t reach it. Don’t leave buckets outside where they can collect rainwater.
- Learn CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It can be a lifesaver when seconds count.
See the commission’s2008 Submersions Related to Non Pool and Non Spa Products for more information.
Copyright 2009, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist