Bath time is a great time to develop a routine as well as bond and play with your infant or toddler. Most children love to play in the water, sing songs and play with bath toys. While bath time can be a time for bonding, it is also important for parents and caregivers to make safety a priority. Approximately 80 percent of infant drowning deaths occur in the bathtub, most often from lack of supervision.
Here are a few tips to keep your child safe in the bath tub.
Constant, attentive supervision
Children can drown in only one inch of water. Young children should have constant supervision by an able adult, who is not distracted.
Make sure you have everything you need before you get started. Towels, washcloths, soap and toys should all be in reach so the child is never unsupervised.
Ignore the knock at the door, phone calls or the temptation to check your phone. Nothing is more important than the safety of your child and these momentary distractions could have deadly consequences.
Check the water temperature
Parents and caregivers should always test the water temperature with their elbow or wrist before filling the bath tub. Set the hot water heater in the home at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler to avoid burns.
Do not use bath seats or bath rings
Even though newer models of bath seats (made or imported after December 6, 2010) are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, they have been implicated in several infant deaths and are not recommended. Both bath seats and bath rings can easily tip over.
If you are using an infant tub, make sure that it is sturdy and in good working order
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 247 incidents involving infant bath tubs reported between January 2004 and December 2015; 31 of these were fatalities.
The most important thing to remember is to never take your eyes off of your child when they are in the bath tub. Use this time as an opportunity to connect with your child and make lasting memories.
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Sarah Denny, MD, FAAP, works as an attending physician in the Section of Emergency Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and as an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.
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