For many children and parents alike, bath time is an enjoyable part of the daily routine. Messy though it may be, it still offers priceless quality time between baby and mommy or daddy. However, it also comes with some risks, many of which are unknown even to well-informed parents. A recent report from the Consumer Products Safety Commission details some potential hazards associated with bathing, and offers ways to help keep injuries or worse from occurring.
Six bath-time-related dangers to be aware of, and ways to mitigate risks associated with them, are:
1. Misuse of infant tubs and other products – Infant tubs and seats are a great help to parents, but they must be used correctly to be safe. Just because a product is designed for an infant doesn’t mean normal safety precautions can be ignored, and in fact, 12% of bathing incidents from 2006-2010 involved the use of a bathing aid like an infant bath seat or tub inside a full-sized tub. Always follow directions when using them, and never engage in risky behavior under the assumption that the product makes bath time safer.
2. Lapses in adult supervision – The key word in this risk is “adult.” It seems safe enough to leave a child in the bathroom for a minute, especially if there is another child with them in the bathroom, but 23% of bathtub and bath-related child fatalities from 2006-2010 involved the child being left with another, usually older child. Unless they’re old enough that you would allow them to babysit, never give a child the responsibility of watching their sibling while you leave the room, especially if that younger child is in the bath tub.
3. Underestimating danger – Many parents believe that a few inches of water isn’t enough to pose a threat, but children can drown in even small amounts of water. Whether the child is in the bath tub or a sink, make sure always to watch them if there is standing water.
4. Toilets – In addition to water in the bath tub or sink, water in toilets is also a drowning hazard. A curious child who leans over the bowl to see inside can easily lose his or her balance and fall in head first, so it’s advisable to use a toilet-lid lock and/or stay in the bathroom with kids even if the bath tub is empty.
5. Bath toys - Bath time toys like buckets are fun to play with, but if they’re left with water inside of them, they become a hazard. Always make sure to empty out containers and put them out of reach of children.
6. “Unscheduled” bath times – Most parents take proper precautions when bathing their child, but it’s important to remember that the bath tub can pose a threat even outside of regular bath times. The CPSC report states that a total of 9% of bath-related fatalities involved the child getting into the bath tub either alone or with the help of another child. In some cases, the bath tub already had standing water in it, but in others the water was turned on by the child themselves or with the help of the other child.
Even the most attentive, knowledgeable parent can’t prevent all accidents from occurring; children always have and always will get into mischief, but by keeping yourself informed as to potential areas of concern and taking proper precautions around the house, you can minimize such incidents and keep your child happy, healthy, and clean!
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