Sunday, June 01, 2008

Watch Kids In The Bath...?

This blog post was the first hit when I searched for "watch kids in the bath" - before the various pages on drowning statistics, one of which advises that you shouldn't leave kids alone in the bath before the age of five. My own three-and- a-half-year old daughter seems like she should be perfectly safe in the bath: we've never seen her even attempt to dunk her head underwater, never seen her slip and fall in the tub. And she loves to take long baths, and she doesn't get to take as many as she likes, because neither of us like to be stuck in the bathroom with her for what can take up to an hour. (And we will leave her unattended for minutes at a time while we get towels, look for a book to read, etc. Hope nobody calls social services.)

So I'm of very mixed feelings about the whole thing.

On the one hand - drowning is leading cause of death after car accidents (and things you can't do anything about like cancer). It's a bigger killer than SIDS, poisoning, various illnesses.

On the other hand, 5 out of 6 cases are drowning in swimming pools. (Random side note - *Freakonomics* tells us that owning a swimming pool is more dangerous than owning a handgun.) So maybe bathtub drowning isn't that high on the list.

And, those websites that advise stringent risk-advoidance - they kind of have to be safety nazis, because if someone's four year old drowns they'll get sued.

And random news articles about infant drowning deaths are meaningless - purely anecdotal - no more meaningful than news articles about death by lightning strike.

On the other other hand, this is death, here. Even if the chances are 1 in 10,000 per bath would you want to roll those dice every time?

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