January is National Bath Safety Awareness Month, with so many little ones taking so many baths (let’s face it, keeping their lunch of their hair can be impossible some days) it is a good idea to review some safety tips to ensure a fun yet safe bath time. First, let’s go over some sobering statistics (obtained from eCHIRPP records):
How many cases were there?
Between April 2011 and July 2019, there were 655 drowning-related cases reported in selected emergency departments (ED) across Canada, representing 58 cases/100,000 eCHIRPP records .
0 to 9 years of age
Children between the ages of 0 and 9 years represented the largest proportion of drowning-related cases at 79%.
0 to 4 years of age
Since 2011, there have been 22 drowning fatalities reported in the eCHIRPP database. Of those, children and infants aged 4 years or younger accounted for 50% of such fatalities.
125 drowning-related cases occurred in bathtubs, 80% involved children aged 1 year or younger.
Here are some simple ways to keep children safe in and around the bath tub.
Never walk away: Bathtub drownings can happen in minutes, in a few centimetres of water. Children require supervision anytime they are in the bathtub. If for any reason, you need to leave the bathroom, take the child with you or find another adult to supervise while you step out.
Keep your eyes on your little bather(s): Even taking your eyes off of a child in the bathtub for a quick moment can be deadly. Try to be present and make bath time a fun ritual, that way you won’t be tempted to check your texts or answer a call.
Test water temperature: Children have tender and delicate skin (it takes their skin just one quarter of the time to burn than it does for an adult), be sure to test the water with your elbow before putting them in the bathtub to prevent any burning or scalding.
Keep your child sitting up: Trying enjoy playing around in the bathtub, but it is always a good idea to keep your little bather sitting upright when in the bathtub.
Do not rely on a bath seat to keep your baby/toddler safe: These tubs and devices are not made to prevent drowning, so they should never be treated as such. Full supervision is still required when using a bath seat.
Bath Time Fun
Bath time can still be fun, even for kids that do their best to avoid bath time at all costs! Here are some ways to keep your little ones both engaged and safe.
Pool Party: Add some fun pool toys and transform bath time into an indoor pool party.
Bathtub i-Spy: Use your existing bath toys and letters to prompt a fun game of i-Spy.
Birthday Bath: Surprise your birthday boy/girl with a tub full of balloons on their birthday.
Glow in The Dark Bath: Try this child-safe glow-in-dark idea from funathomewithkids.com.*
*MBFOM cannot verify the efficacy and/or safety of this DIY project.
Creative Bath Time: Get some water soluble paints and let your little one create a masterpiece during bath time.