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A young mother is bathing her baby.

Bath Time Safety

By Dr. Peter Grosso, Nansemond Pediatrics

Rubber ducks, soap bubbles, and joyful splashing come to mind when we think about bath time.

It’s important to remember, though, that a split second of distraction by a parent or caregiver can leave your child in danger. Stepping out of the room for a towel or to answer the phone can make the difference between life and death.

Consider these statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics: Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury death in children 1 to 4 years old. Every year, an average of 37 toddlers drown in a tub.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission tracks injuries related to bath time and has also documented injuries caused by water that’s too hot and tubs with parts that aren’t secure.

The commission worked with the American Academy of Pediatrics to create these safety tips:

Never leave a child alone in a bathtub.

Children can drown in one or two inches of water. Don’t turn your back, even for a moment, or leave young children in the care of another child.

Check water temperature.

Lower the temperature of your water heater to no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid burns.

Use a safe, sturdy tub.

Baby bathtubs can be “bucket style” for sitting upright, slanted for support, inflatable, folding, and spa-style. Make sure all the parts of the tub are working properly and are attached securely. Foldable tubs can be more convenient for storage but often are not as sturdy as non-foldable ones. Injuries resulting from a baby’s limb or other body part becoming trapped have usually occurred in a tub that can be folded. Inflatable tubs are the most likely to collapse.

Be aware of bumps, edges, and slings.

In many of the incidents where bumps on the tub caused injuries, a sling made of fabric or mesh was involved. Consider avoiding tubs with slings or pay close attention to any bumps or edges that pose a risk. When buying a hard plastic tub, look for a smooth shape and rounded edges. Avoid tubs with places where your baby could be pinched.

Check for rust and mold.

Drain the tub completely after each use to avoid rust and mold. You can also use a tub with a plug at the base to drain water after bath time. Some tubs even have a mildew-resistant foam lining.

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About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.