Many children injured by falls in bathtubs, showers

By Tom Nordlie • Published: October 1st, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Bath time can be fun for kids.

For parents, it’s often a little nerve-racking. They have to worry about safety along with all that splish-splashing.

Drownings and scaldings from hot bathwater may be the biggest concerns. But accidents caused by loss of balance are actually much more common.

That’s according to a recent article published in the journal Pediatrics, which estimated the nationwide incidence of bath- and shower-related injuries to children.

Researchers looked at data collected from one-hundred hospital emergency departments.

The cases involved children eighteen years and younger, and spanned almost two decades.

On average, an estimated forty-four-thousand children were treated for bathing injuries every year. That’s about six injuries per ten-thousand children.

More than half the cases involved kids age four and younger.

Slips, trips and falls caused about eighty percent of the injuries. Burns caused four percent and submersions caused less than two percent.

The most common types of injuries were lacerations and soft tissue damage, both of which could be the result of falls.

The authors said more should be done to prevent loss-of-balance accidents, especially among young children.

They also said parental supervision isn’t enough.

Safety features can help, including handholds, cushioning and nonslip surfaces for tub and shower floors.

These precautions should be part of routine household babyproofing.

But even for families with older kids, it’s never too late to take a second look at the tub.

With a careful eye and a few dollars, you just might “clean up” a few lingering safety issues and reduce the chances of a calamity.