I’m super paranoid about bathtub safety. My oldest is 5 years old and only recently have I even felt comfortable stepping out of the room for a second to grab a towel — and I talk to her while I’m out of the room. I might be being overly cautious, but kids are more interested in having fun and messing around while they’re in the tub than getting clean and that means I hover in the bathroom making sure everyone is safe. My mind always goes to the unexpected — what if someone slips and bumps their head? And if the 3-year-old and 5-year-old are together, what if one of them is playing and inadvertently hurts the other? It’s just not worth the risk.
A little paranoia serves us well, as water is one of the big dangers at home. According to recent data, from 2006 to 2010, there were 684 incidents involving bathtubs, buckets, bath seats, toilets and landscaping features, with 434 fatalities. Eighty-two percent of the victims were younger than the age of two and 81 percent of the incidents involved bathtubs or bath related products. Of the reported fatalities, 28 percent involved a lapse in supervision, such as a parent or caregiver leaving the bathroom while the child was in the bathtub to answer the phone or door, or to retrieve a towel; in 23 percent, the child was left with another child, usually older.
Sue Mackie, executive director of the United States Swim School Association, has shared tips with us before on how to use bathtime as the opportunity to teach water safety. Today, she’s sharing additional tips on bathtub safety.
Bathtime Safety Tips
DO: Fill your bathtub with the amount of water normally used during bathing and use a stopwatch to time how long it takes to drain. Never leave the bathroom unsupervised after a bath until that amount of time has passed.
DON’T: Turn on the faucet and allow a bathtub to fill with water without a parent in the room watching at all times.
DO: Learn how to properly perform age appropriate CPR in case an accident ever does occur.
DO: If you always lift your children into and out of the tub during bath time, teach your kids how to and have them practice getting in and out of the tub on their own while you supervise.
I admit, once my kids are out of the tub I think everyone’s safe, but I never considered re-entry to the tub as a danger. I’ll definitely be aware of that now, particularly with my youngest who wants to climb on everything.
How old were your kids before you let them bathe alone? —Erin