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Harris County District Attorney warns about unattended children drowning in bathtubs and pools

April 30, 2020 

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office on Thursday warned against allowing children being left alone in the bathtub or allowed access to unsupervised pools.

As the weather warms up, young children are drawn to unsupervised pools and parents sometimes let babies or toddlers splash around in a bathtub without supervision, either of which are dangerous and can even be fatal.

“These are tragedies for the entire community, and they are imminently preventable and completely avoidable,” said Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg. “Parents and caretakers have a responsibility to never allow a small child to be left alone in water.”

Drowning is the second leading cause of injury death for children ages 1-14 years in America. More children ages 1 to 4 years old die from drowning than any other cause of death except birth defects according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The bathtub is a dangerous place for young children, even toddlers, to be unsupervised.

“Parents and caregivers should carefully monitor their young children when they are in the tub, particularly if they are very young or have special needs,” said Lacy Johnson, chief prosecutor in the Child Fatality Section of the District Attorney’s Office. “Parents should never leave babies alone in the tub. Even if a child can sit up or even stand, it doesn’t mean they can be left alone.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that children can drown in only a few inches of water, so never leave a young child alone in the bath, even for a moment.

The organization advises that if a caretaker can't ignore the doorbell or the phone, then the child should be wrapped in a towel and taken along when answering the door or phone.

The group also notes that bath seats and rings are meant to be bathing aids and will not prevent drowning if the child is left unattended. It is also important to have everything necessary within arm's reach before beginning the bath.

Never leave water in the bathtub when it is not in use.

Bathroom Safety Tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics can be found at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/Bathroom-Safety.aspx

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