The article below was originally published in Consumer Reports on September 27, 2012 by Maggie Shader.
A report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission finds that there were more than 400 deaths over a five-year period among children 5 years old and younger due to unintentional drowning in the home.
It can take just a few inches of water for a young child to drown. The CPSC is urging parents to look for and protect against drowning risks inside and around their homes.
The report on in-home drownings and non-fatal submersions in products including bathtubs, buckets, and bath seats, as well as other products, shows that from 2006 to 2010, there were 684 incidents involving children younger than five, including more than 434 deaths and 233 injuries.
Of the reported fatalities, 28 percent involved a lapse in supervision, such as a parent or caregiver leaving the bathroom to answer the phone or door, or retrieving a towel. In 23 percent, the child was left with another child, usually older. In 10 percent, the child was found in a product outside the home, like decorative yard equipment or a bucket. And another 3 percent were found inside the home in a bucket, container or trash basket that was being used for cleaning.
For tips on how to give your baby a bath safely, follow our safety advice for baby's bath time, including never leaving your baby unattended during bath time, filling the tub with as little water as possible, and always empty the tub immediately after bath time.
And follow the CPSC's child bath safety tips as well, including the following:
- Always keep a young child within arm's reach in a bathtub.
- Don't leave a baby or young child in a bathtub under the care of another child.
- Never leave a bucket containing even a small amount of liquid unattended. Toddlers are top heavy and they can fall headfirst into buckets and drown.
- After using a bucket, always empty and store it where young children cannot reach it. Don't leave buckets outside where they can collect rainwater.
- Consider placing locks on toilet seat covers in case a young child wanders into the bathroom.
- Learn CPR. It can be a lifesaver when seconds count.
Consumer Reports safety experts advise against using infant bath seats and inflatable bath tubs. For more read our dangerous bath products report, which is part of our Baby bathtub buying guide.
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