January marks the coming of a new year and is National Bath Safety Month. This month, we look at raising awareness about the often overlooked risks associated with bath time. While bathtubs can offer a space for relaxation and fun for children, they can also pose significant hazards. We have some tips to help prevent drowning and injuries during bath time.
Understanding the Risks
Most drowning incidents with children under the age of 1 happen within the home, with the majority of these happening in the bath. Drowning is also the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some of these drownings happen in bathtubs.
These incidents often happen swiftly and silently. Children are particularly vulnerable due to their limited swimming skills and understanding of water dangers. Recognizing these risks is the first step towards prevention and water safety.
Implementing Crucial Safety Practices
NDPA shares the 5 layers of protection to help make you, your family, friends, and community safer around water. One of the layers of protection is supervision. Supervision means that there is an adult who is close, constant, and capable. Children should never be left alone or in the care of another child during bath time. A moment’s distraction can lead to disaster. Always keep your child within arm’s reach.
Check the water depth and temperature before having the child enter the bath. It is recommended to fill the bathtub with just enough water to cover the lower body. The water temperature should be lukewarm, and not hot. Always test the water temperature yourself before placing your child in the bath.
Slip-proof the bathtub. There are all kinds of different non-slip mats or appliques you can use in the tub. Having a non-slip rug or mat outside of the bathtub is another thing to have. This can help to reduce the risk of slips and falls.
Ensure you are properly storing bathroom items. This includes electrical appliances, like hair dryers and electric razors. These should be kept out of reach of children when not in use. All medicines, cleaning products, and toiletries should be kept out of children’s reach.
Another layer of protection is emergency preparedness. Knowing how to properly perform CPR is vital in a drowning incident. Always keep a phone nearby in case of an emergency, but avoid using it for any other purpose during bath time.
You can incorporate fun with your safety. This can be a wonderful opportunity for playful learning and bonding. Incorporating safe bath toys and engaging play can make bathtime an enjoyable experience for everyone. This can be done without compromising safety.
The holiday season is also a time for giving and supporting causes that help to save lives. Consider making a donation to organizations that focus on drowning prevention and water safety. There are many organizations both on the national and local level. These donations help to fund crucial programs and resources. These can include offering swimming lessons at a discounted rate for those in need, public education programs and campaigns, and the overall development of safer swimming environments.
Donations can be made in your name or as a gift in the name of a loved one. Regardless of how you are able to support these incredible organizations, you are making a meaningful contribution to a vital cause. You can support the work NDPA is doing here.
Spreading Awareness and Education
Educating parents, caregivers, and the wider community about bath safety is integral to prevention. By sharing these safety tips and other NDPA resources, we can collectively reduce the risks associated with bathtime for young children.
Education and awareness is also important for pediatricians and healthcare professionals. They are in a unique position to discuss these safety measures with parents and caregivers during routine visits. This is particularly important for new and expectant parents. Your pediatrician and healthcare professional can also share more resources with you on bath safety.
As we put specific emphasis on bath safety this month, keep in mind that these tips and safety precautions should be used all year. By implementing these safety measures and spreading awareness on ways to be safer during bath time, we can work together to make a safer environment for our children. Remember, a small effort in promoting bath safety can make a significant difference in preventing accidents and saving lives.