CPSC Warns of In-Home Drowning Dangers with Bathtubs, Bath Seats, Buckets

October 7, 2009
Release Number: 10-008

The end of outdoor swimming and pool season doesn’t mean the end of drowning dangers for young children. After pools, more children drown in bathtubs than in any other product in and around the home.

“What parents need to know is that anywhere there is water, there is a potential drowning hazard to children,” said Inez Tenenbaum, CPSC Chairman. “Parents shouldn’t let their guard down; young children need constant supervision around bathtubs, bath seats and buckets.”

Many of the reported incidents involved a lapse in supervision by caregivers, such as leaving the bathroom momentarily while the child was in the bathtub to answer the phone/door or to retrieve an item like a towel. In other incidents, an older sibling was left to watch a younger sibling.

CPSC recommends parents and caregivers follow these safety tips when children are around bathtubs, bath seats, buckets, spas, or decorative ponds or fountains:

- Never leave young children alone, even for a moment, near any water. Young children can drown quickly in even small amounts of water.

- Always keep a young child within arm's reach in a bathtub. If you must leave, take the child with you.

- Don't leave a baby or toddler in a bathtub under the care of another young child.

- Never leave a bucket containing even a small amount of liquid unattended. Toddlers can fall headfirst into buckets and drown. After using a bucket, always empty and store it where young children cannot reach it. Don’t leave buckets outside where they can collect rainwater.

- Learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). It can be a lifesaver when seconds count.

The figures cited above and other data on non-pool and non-spa submersion incidents can be found in CPSC’s 2008 Submersions Related to Non Pool and Non Spa Products (PDF), which includes the latest available data: fatalities for 2003-2005 and non-fatal incidents for 2005-2007. Fatality and injury data differ due to a lag in reporting fatalities. Pool and spa related injuries and fatalities are presented in other submersion reports. For more information, see: www.cpsc.gov/library/data.html