ath time can be loads of fun, but if you're not careful, it can be quite dangerous. Slips, falls, scalding, and drowning are just a few of the potential hazards lurking in the tub. In fact, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among children ages 1 through 4 with the bathtub being the second location (after pools) where children drown1. Follow these guidelines to keep your little one safe.
- NEVER leave your baby unattended...not even for a second. Many unintentional drownings occur when the caregiver temporary leaves the child in the bathtub. The Consumer Products Safety Commission reports that between 2005- 2009, 352 children (younger than 5 years of age) died after being left alone temporarily2.
- NEVER leave your young child under the supervision of another child.
- Keep the water in the bath to a minimum. Babies can drown in as little as an inch of water.
Bath Time Safety Products
- Bath rings and bath seats can topple easily and/or cause entrapment. If you are using these items, be sure to watch your baby closely.
- Keep your child within arm's reach when your child is in the tub.
- Remember, toilets can be another danger in the bathroom. Toilet locks can help remove this danger.
- ALWAYS test the temperature of the bath water. The water should feel warm, not hot. Test the water temperature with your wrist (or forearm) and move your hand around throughout the water to get an accurate temperature of the water. A bath thermometer can be useful but should not substitute you physically testing the temperature of the water. According to the National Safety Council, bath water temperature should be 100° F. According to the Home Safety Council, "It takes only one second for a child under the age of five to receive third-degree burns from water that's 140 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter."
- Be sure your hot water thermostat is set no higher than 120° F to avoid scalding.
- Turn off the hot water first and let the cool water run for a few seconds. This allows the water spout to cool.
- Anti-scald products, such as HotStop tub spouts and shower heads, can be easily installed to prevent burns.
- Use a nonskid mat in the bathtub. Also, use a nonskid mat on the floor next to the tub to prevent slips and falls.
- Clean up any water on the floor.
- Use spout covers to prevent bruises and cuts.
- If your bath tub has shower doors, make sure they are shatter proof.
- Keep all potential toxic products (shampoo, soap, conditioner, mouth wash, etc) out of your baby's reach.
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1. Consumer Products Safety Commission: Traditional end of the pool season brings attention to indoor water safety CPSC Warns of Drowning Dangers in Bathtubs, Bath Seats and Buckets
2. Consumer Products Safety Commission: Submersions Related to Non-Pool and Non-Spa Products, 2011 Report.
Home Safety Council: American Families Underestimate Hot Water Dangers at Home
National Safety Council: Baby Proofing Your Home
Author : Diba Tillery RN, BSN, IBCLC, CPST