Par­ents warned of the tragedy in wait­ing

Warwick Daily News - - YOU - — Miles Kemp, The Ad­ver­tiser

CHIL­DREN are drown­ing in bath­tubs in wa­ter as shal­low as 5cm and after only 30 sec­onds without adult su­per­vi­sion, a new study has found.

The anal­y­sis of 78 coro­nial death records has prompted a warn­ing to par­ents on how to avoid the tragedy which strikes about six Aus­tralian fam­i­lies each year.

The joint study, un­der­taken by the Royal Life Sav­ing So­ci­ety – Aus­tralia and James Cook Univer­sity, is pub­lished in this month’s edi­tion of the Jour­nal of Pe­di­atrics and Child Health.

Lead au­thor Amy Pe­den, of Royal Life Sav­ing and James Cook Univer­sity, said there were valu­able warn­ings for par­ents.

“This study has high­lighted that younger chil­dren, even one month of age, are be­ing left un­su­per­vised in the bath,’’ she said.

“Ac­tive su­per­vi­sion by a com­pe­tent adult should be in place for all chil­dren aged 0-4 years in the bath. Pre­ven­tive ad­vo­cacy ef­forts must coun­sel par­ents and car­ers that there is no safe depth of wa­ter to leave chil­dren un­su­per­vised in while bathing.

“Most un­in­ten­tional in­juries in child­hood have shown re­duc­tions in re­cent decades.

“Our ex­pe­ri­ence has been that lit­tle has changed with bath drown­ing deaths, a tragic ex­cep­tion to this oth­er­wise heart­en­ing trend.”

The study is the first na­tional study and anal­y­sis of the “preva­lence and risk fac­tors” of un­der-18s drown­ings in bath­tubs, spa baths and show­ers.

Ms Pe­den said de­spite wide­spread pub­lic­ity sur­round­ing the risk of bath aids, which can cause child drown­ings, they were still be­ing bought on the sec­ond-hand mar­ket.

There were no deaths in­volv­ing bath aids in the four years after they were made safer, in­clud­ing a manda­tory safety stan­dard re­quir­ing la­belling on prod­uct and pack­ag­ing by the Aus­tralian Com­pe­ti­tion and Consumer Com­mis­sion in 2005. But there were seven deaths be­tween 2010 and 2014.

“Of the vic­tims in this study, 15% drowned while us­ing bath aids,’’ Ms Pe­den said.

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