Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Bath time safety
I know that I should never leave my baby alone in the bathtub, as babies can drown in even an inch of water. Yet I admit that once Olive passed the year mark, I would occasionally run out of the bathroom for a few seconds at a time, just to grab a towel, a magazine or a toy. I would make sure she was standing up (so I would hear her if she fell) or playing loudly with a toy (so I could hear that she was above water). I knew I should never leave her alone and yet I did.
Thankfully, I don't have a horror story about her going under when I was out of the room, but we did have a brief scare while I was sitting right next to her. Fifteen-month-old Olive was sitting in about six inches of water when she lost her balance and fell backward, barely submerging her entire head underwater. Within a second, I pulled her up, but she was clearly shaken. I said a silent prayer of thanks that I had been present and paying attention and that no harm had been done, save a few tiny gasps and tears.
Every year, nearly 700 children under the age of 14 die from unintentional drowning, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Drowning accounts for 30% of all unintentional deaths among children aged 1-4. The leading cause of unintentional deaths in children under age one is drowning in a bathtub, bucket or toilet.
The CDC's recommendations are to provide “touch supervision” (be close enough to reach the child at all times) to kids preschool age and younger. Adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity (such as reading, playing cards, talking on the phone, or mowing the lawn) while supervising children.
I know I am guilty of not following both of those recommendations--shame on me! Nothing is worth leaving your small child alone in a tub, even for a second. It's a mistake I won't make again.