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Bathtubs and Household

Did you know that fatal drownings and non-fatal drownings tend to occur on Saturdays and Sundays and between the months of May and August?

Drowning usually happens very quietly and very quickly. Two minutes following submersion, a child will lose consciousness. Irreversible brain damage occurs after four to six minutes and determines the immediate and long-term survival of a child.

  • 92 percent of household drownings are discovered within two minutes following submersion, and most children who die are found after ten minutes.
  • More than half of drownings among infants (under age 1) occur in bathtubs. Drownings in this age group also occur in toilets and buckets.
  • Children can drown in as little as one inch of water and are therefore also at risk of drowning in wading pools, shallow fountains, bathtubs, buckets, diaper pails, toilets, spas and hot tubs.
  • Since 1984, more than 327 children, 89 percent between the ages of 7 months and 15 months, have drowned in buckets containing water or other liquids used for mopping floors and other household chores. It is estimated that 30 children drown annually in buckets.
  • More than 10 percent of childhood drownings occur in bathtubs; the marjority of these occur in the absence of adult supervision. Since 1983, there have been at least 104 deaths and 162 non-fatal incidents involving baby bath seats.
  • Female children have a bathtub drowning rate twice that of males.
  • The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has developed voluntary guidelines, which include education and labeling, to address the hazard of children drowning in 5-gallon buckets.

    Preventing Bathtub and Household Accidents

  • Never leave a young child in the tub or near water for any reason. There is no substitute for the supervision of an adult.
  • A bath seat or ring cannot protect the baby from drowning. Supervision is needed at all times.
  • If using a bath seat or ring, check the suction cups to make sure they tightly adhere to both the seat or ring and the tub. Never use a bath seat or ring in a non-skid or slip-resistant bathtub.
  • To provide greater traction, equip the tub with a rubber mat or apply non-slip adhesive decals or strips to the bottom of the tub.
  • Keep a bath mat by the side of the tub, so the child has a slip-free exit.
  • Remove any loose items, such as toys, washcloths and sponges from the tub so they do not block the drain and prevent the tub from emptying.
  • Protect kids from heat and electricity, especially around water. Water should be no hotter than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Store electrical appliances away from children.
  • Never leave a child unsupervised in or around water in the house. Empty all containers immediately after use and store out of reach.

Facts and statistics were taken from The American Academy of Pediatrics Policy statement on ‘Drowning in Infants, Children and Adolescents,’ The Center for Disease Control Statistics on Unintentional Drownings, the National “Safe Kids” Campaign and the Parent Resource Center at Texas Children’s Hospital.