bathtubTalk about timing! There's a big warning from the government today about the risk of babies drowning in the bathtub. And just in case you were thinking about rolling your eyes and laughing it off as Big Brother poking its nose into private parenting matters, the case of a baby who drowned in Chicago just this week should wipe that smirk right off your face.

Police have arrested Jayshaun Strong's dad, Willie Strong, because they say the man left his 8-month-old son in the bathtub with his 2-year-old brother so he could take a smoke break. Because waiting five whole minutes to go suck down a cancer stick would have killed this guy?

When you have kids, the "fun" stuff waits. Their safety always comes first, even when it means you have to suffer a little discomfort.

More from The Stir: 3-Year-Old Drowns in Hot Tub During Birthday Party (VIDEO)

I don't particularly like sitting on the toilet reading -- it's not comfortable -- but I know it took me a long time to leave my daughter alone in the bathtub. She's 7, and I still like to poke my head into the bathroom frequently, and I still won't allow her to close the door. I want to hear the water sloshing around to know she's still moving. I want to hear her singing the little songs she makes up.

Technically she's aged out of the danger zone, but the Consumer Product Safety Commission statistics still leave me cold. They say drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among children ages 1 to 4 years old. An average of 87 kids die every year, and more are injured because people weren't careful when their kids were around water.

I know parents who think a few seconds out of the room to grab something isn't going to matter, that they'll make it back before anything bad can happen, but I don't buy it. Seconds count. And the risk is too great.

This little boy is gone, and his brother was in grave danger, and all for what? You can't tell me a cigarette is worth losing your child and facing possible prison time.

Do you leave the kids in the tub? How long are you gone?

 

Image via mccready/Flickr