Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"I only turned away for a minute"

This question caught my attention, "When can my child bathe alone?" Many caregivers asked this question because the cleaning of the child often lasted only 5 minutes and the play time last another 30. Many caregivers often want to attend to other "chores" while the child plays.

The first thing I will mentioned is that, the Consumer Federation of America and 8 other group petitioned, in 2000, to the Consumer Product Safety Commission for a ban on "Bath Seats" citing that it leads to a false seance of security and has lead to 8 deaths a year and over a 100 injuries. These were easily preventable.

In another report I found this information. "Unintentional drownings cause over 600 deaths annually among children 5 years old and younger. Bathtubs are one of the leading sites for such drownings for children 2 years of age and especially for children 1 year or younger." When these parents were questioned 31% of the respondents admitted to leaving their child alone in the bathtub. The mean age of the child was 37.5 months (3 yrs 1 mo. old). The most common excuse given for leaving the child was to retrieve a towel, diaper, answer the phone or cook dinner. Five of these injured children were left alone with another child under 10 years old. The less then 10 year old was meant to be the supervisor.

Conclusion: The children, at 5 years or younger, who had parents that left the bathroom were deemed "inadequately supervised". Th parents were then labeled as those who should "be advised concerning proper supervision in early anticipatory guidance." In other words these parents lacked the education and understanding that a five year old has not developed enough to navigate in and around water, in problem situations. "Reported Level of Supervision of Young Children While in the Bathtub"
Ambulatory Pediatrics, Volume 3

Third, According to the Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison prevention, Studies have shown that a 0-4 year old child can not navigate water environments well enough to be left alone. Citing that parents will leave a child to answer the phone, door, or retrieve a towel. It has been determined that these and other reasons will not be excepted as excuses for leaving a child four and under in or near water of 5 gallons or more. American Academy of Pediatric

The above is what I found on the internet. Often, I think, caregivers do not want to "just sit and watch" their child in the tub when they feel like other works "needs" to be done. Instead of thinking that bathing your child is a "chore" consider playing with the child and their toys. Or if you do not want to do that you can clean the bathroom while your child plays. You could bring in a magazine or read.

But think of it this way, all the work you are doing is mostly for your family, right? All the cooking, cleaning, and toweling off of wet bodies. If your child slips, that 30 seconds it takes you to run into the bathroom to assess what happened, then another minute goes by while you try to find your phone so you can call 911 could take too long, then you will no longer have a family to worry about. Was that extra cleaning you did worth it?

1 comment:

Kisha said...

From the designer in me:
This is one of those areas where Universal design could really help. Towels, phones, or magazine should be within the supervisors reach when a little one is in the tub, however as we have aspired to more square footage in our houses, some of the convinces of a compact and efficient living space have been lost. Many contemporary house designs often have the full sized bathtub in the master suite, while children are given a smaller bath or even a shower. The silly thing is that adults don't have time to sit and soak and the little ones often share a bath with siblings, toys and bubbles, but then their lotion, towel and rubber ducky are at the other end of the house. Bigger isn't always better. There's something to be said for the wash tub in the kitchen on Saturday night (it was near the fireplace too so it was way more energy efficient.)

From the Mom in me:
Its hard to get it all together, and keep the little ones clean too. I've been extra cautious with my son BECAUSE he takes swim classes and has very little fear of being in the water. In the cases where I've forgotten a towel or diaper, I ask him to sing for me; my naive logic being that you can't sing and drown simultaneously. This only works because we have a pretty compact floor plan and I can reach the linen closet with my right foot still in the bathroom. But more often my husband and I share the bath watching and use it as a time to talk to each other, sinc' up our PDA's and take silly bath pictures. As far as the phone or the door...if its important they'll call back later.