Hundreds of Children Drown in Bathtubs, Bath Seats and Buckets: CPSC

More than 400 young children died over a five-year period from accidents involving drowning in the home, according to a new federal report. 

A U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report released yesterday included a severe warning to parents about the dangers of young children and water. The report, which spanned five-years from 2006 to 2010, detailed 434 drowning deaths involving a young child under the age of five and 233 injuries.

The nearly 700 incidents mainly involved bathtubs, bath seats and buckets. A staggering 92 percent of these incidents occurred in the home, compared to 10 percent that occurred outside or involved yard equipment, such as a pond.

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Drowning is the leading cause of unintended death among children between the ages of one and four years old. Among those water involved deaths, bathtubs are ranked the second leading location for a drowning, second only to swimming pools and spas.

An astounding 82 percent of the victims were younger than two years old. While many of the incidents involved other objects, such as buckets or outdoor water features, such as ponds, 81 percent of the incidents involved a full-size bathtub or bath related products.

Many of these incidents involved children being left attended only by other children. In other cases, nearly 28 percent of the incidents involved a parent or caregiver who walked away from the bathroom, often to answer a phone, door or retrieve a towel.

Experts agree it takes only a few inches of water for a young child to drown, which accounts for many of the incidents which involved buckets.

The CPSC urges parents and caregivers to protect against drowning risk inside and around the home.

“Too many young children are drowning,” said Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “Just as with pools, I urge parents and caregivers to childproof their home and constantly supervise young children around bathtubs, bath seats and buckets. Taking extra safety steps at home can help prevent a tragic drowning.”

The CPSC offers these recommends to prevent a drowning from occurring:

  • Never leave a child unattended near water or a tub or basin filled with fluid.
  • If you must leave take the child with you, always keep children within arm’s reach in a bathtub.
  • Never leave a small child in a bathtub under the care of another child.
  • Do not leave water in buckets, always empty and store them where small children cannot reach.
  • Never leave buckets outside where they can collect rain water.
  • Learn CPR in case of an emergency.


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