The Life-Saving Safety Precaution Even the Best Moms Sometimes Forget

bath tubHot on the heels of the tragic story of the mom who napped while her 8-month-old baby drowned in the bath comes the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s newest report on in-home drowning deaths. And while, yes, most of us have the common sense not to leave the kids utterly alone while we nap, I think a lot of us -- me included -- have left them in the bathroom momentarily while grabbing a towel or the iPod.

So as uncomfortable as it is to read, I think we can all stand to take a look at exactly how kids die in the tub because most cases are not as obvious as the one above. In fact, the bathtub is the second-most-likely place for a kid to drown (the most likely place is a pool). So, let’s look at the stats and see how we can all up our safety game in the bath.


Between 2005 and 2009, 431 children under 5 drowned at home; most were under 2 years old. Eighty-three percent of those deaths were in the bath.

In 31 percent of those deaths, the child was alone in the bathtub and the parent took a quick trip from the bathroom to grab a towel or answer a phone. Twenty-one percent of these deaths involved an infant alone in the bath with an older child. In other words, the vast majority of in-home drowning scenarios resulted when distracted caregivers knew better but were juggling too much. Scary.

However, there are other dangerous bathtub situations I hadn't even thought of: In 13 of those cases, a child fell or climbed into a tub that had standing water in it, or managed to turn the water on themselves. And in another 13 cases, an older child helped the younger one into the bath with tragic results.

And, of course, there are a smattering of cases where a child fell head-first into a bucket or a garden pond.

We all know better, and we’ve all taken chances and been lucky that nothing bad happened. But the CPSC releases these stats so that we’ll all be forewarned -- and, therefore, forearmed. I’m already careful, but I know I’m going to be more so.

Do you take chances that have turned out okay so far? Could you stand to be more careful around the bath?

Image via tauress/ Flickr

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