Bathtub Safety: Distractions Can Lead to Drownings

Julie Ryan Evans
Photo by jshaffer
You're bathing your toddler and hear the phone ring. You know you shouldn't leave him there, but you've been waiting for an important call. If you run quickly and grab it, he'll be okay for just those few moments, right?

Probably, in most cases, but such a decision could just as easily turn deadly. In just a few brief seconds a child can drown, just like 17-month-old Bronson Stoker, who appeared with his family last week on the Today Show.

Bronson's mother was bathing him and his brother when her attention was diverted for just a moment by another sibling. She came back to find Bronson's lifeless body floating in the tub. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Miraculously, an experimental procedure brought him back to life after the drowning; he's now thriving, having suffered no obvious long-term repercussions. And while that's amazing and wonderful, there are so many other children who aren't so lucky that can be gone in an instant, just like that.

I can't imagine anything more horrifying, but I can imagine how it can happen. How the older my son gets, the more relaxed I get. How on many occasions I've run to get something while I listen for his splashes or yell, "Are you okay?" every few minutes.

He always has been okay, but i''s so easy to get distracted. Too easy to unknowingly let the minutes fly by. Too easy to run to get the door, then see a bill lying on the counter that just needs a stamp, and ...

Experts say that children under 6 should never be left alone in a bathtub, even if they're in a safety seat. And while it's tempting to let an older sibling keep an eye on your toddler,  whoever is supervising should be at least in junior high.

Other important bathroom safety reminders:

1. Keep your electrical appliances (e.g. your flat iron) away from the tub.

2. Make sure your home water heater is set no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid scalding.

3. Drownings don't only happen in the tub, be sure to use toilet seat locks, and never leave a bucket of water unattended.

Do you leave your child alone in the tub?


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