Bath Safety

Image of baby in bath with colourful toys, smiling at the camera

Q. When do bathtub drowning deaths occur?

A. The majority of bathtub drowning deaths occur when there is a break or an interruption to bathing routine; for example, the doorbell rings while a parent is bathing the children. Babies under the age of 1 year are most at risk. They can easily slip and fall face forwards into even a small amount of water which can be enough for a drowning to occur. 

Q. Can I leave my child alone for a short time?

A. No, many parents and carers mistakenly believe they will “only be gone a minute” but this is enough time for tragedy to occur. Most bathtub drowning deaths are of children who were already in the bath when they drowned. If you must leave the bathroom - take your child with you. 

Q. Why do parents leave their child unsupervised in the bath?

A. Parents left their child unsupervised in the bath because they were:
  • fetching forgotten clothes/towel
  • doing the washing
  • answering/making phone calls
  • doing the dishes
  • attending to self
  • attending to other children

Make a plan for bath time to be a time free of distractions to reduce the chance of being tempted to leave for a short time. If your child is in the bath it's not a time for multi-tasking or doing other jobs around the house. Ensure you have everything you need in the room with you such as a towel, nappies and clean clothes before running the bath. 

Q. Can you hear your child drown?

A. Parents also mistakenly believe they can listen out and will hear their child drowning. Drowning is swift and silent, drowning is not accompanied by children crying out or splashing. Bath time supervision must involve an adult in the bathroom with the child. An older sibling should never be left with the responsibility of looking after a younger child.

Q. Can you use a bath seat or bathing aid?

A. Yes, however bath seats or bath aids are not substitutes for constant adult supervision and a number of infants have drowned while in a bath aid. A baby bath aid provides support for your child while leaving your hands free but these devices do not prevent children from climbing or falling out of the seat and drowning, and parents should not believe their child is any safer in one of these devices. There is a risk of the bath aid tipping over, the child climbing out of the aid or the child becoming trapped in an opening of the bath aid. Always keep one hand on your baby while using a bath aid. 

Q. What else can I do to help prevent my child from drowning?

A. Make sure you empty the water out of the bath when finished. Learn resuscitation, it is a lifesaving skill and the life you save with this knowledge may be a loved one. Make sure you plan bath time before and have all the necessary items ready.

Bath Time Checklist

  • Before running a bath, have all equipment ready – towels, pyjamas, slippers.
  • Let the phone ring and ignore the doorbell while the children are in the bath.
  • Have a small fold up chair in the bathroom to sit on while the children are in the bath.
  • DO NOT LEAVE the bathroom at all for any reason.
  • After bath time ensure the bath tub is drained immediately and keep the bathroom door closed when not in use.

Heart Beat Club

A mother demonstrating CPR on an infant

In an emergency make sure you know how to react. Learn CPR.

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How to perform Infant CPR

Learn more about Infant CPR at the link below.

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