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

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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

bathtime, safety

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tuffy... tuffymama

Have NEVER NEVER NEVER left one of my kids unattended in the bath, until the oldest was five. I'm overprotective, I know, but when I was seven, my little brother was four when he slipped and fell in the bath, and would have drowned had I not been across the hall in my room to hear it at the time. My toddler is so active and such a busybody, that most of his baths are taken WITH either me or his dad.

Neelah Neelah

I've heard all this before....but what's with the dirty tub in the picture?

smtxc... smtxcowgirl

That's the nastiest looking stock photo of a shower I've ever seen

mommy... mommyme2440

never left the room for anything til my oldest was 5, middle was almost 4. that was to get a fresh shirt, i puked on it (i love morning sickness)


hubbie steps out more often and sooner, but then he almost never does bath and i always give him hell for stepping out.


now that my oldest girl is 6, she gets to sit in a and relax for a few alone if she sings. that is what she loves to do anyway, making up songs all the time.

xavie... xavierlogan09

nope. I never leave my son in the bathroom alone. He loves to stick his face in the water and blow bubbles. He also likes to lay on his belly and splash around. I don't think it's worth the risk to leave him alone even for a second. I always have a towel in the bathroom on the towel rack where it should be. I get his clothes and diaper after he gets out of the bath.

RanaA... RanaAurora

Actually, I'm insanely careful already. My toddler doesn't have access to the bathroom unattended at ALL beause toddlers even drown in toilets. Well, not to mention all the havoc she'd wreak if she could play with toilet paper and she likes to clean the toilet, which just grosses me out. I do NOT leave the room "just for a second" for any reason. I'll take off my shirt and carry her naked then dry us both off if I forget a towel, and if I didn't take the phone in there with me (which I try to do) then oh well!

Ellie Uhlig

I didnt start leaving my daughter alone until she was 5. And she has rules about not playing under water (even tho she is an excellent swimmer) while she's in the tub. i also check on her if I cant hear her. With that being said, I dont even let her take baths with my 1 year old because I know she is not old enough to be careful. Not that she would do anything on purpose but i think at that age they dont realize how delicate a baby really is. I dont even leave the side of the tub when the 1 year old is in there because I have had to catch him when he slips several times to prevent him from banging his head. I think there are parents who just dont put the kids safety first, i dont care how tired I am, I have never napped while my kid was awake, even the 6 year old because I could never live with myself if something happened.

madfoot madfoot

believe it or not, that stock photo was used to advertise a cottage for rent! I used it because it looked spooky.

Rose Martinez

I'm so careful too, in fact I forgot a towel once ad drained the tub before I left me baby in there alone for the thirty seconds it took to get the towel. It's Just not worth the risk to me.

Brandi Dick

why the hell was she NAPPING while her 8 month old was bathing??? when my girls were 8 months old they were barely sittin up alone....what was wrong with this lady??

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