A coroner issued a grim warning to parents after a seven-month-old baby was found drowned in a few inches of bath water.

The baby’s mother left her son in the bathroom with his two-year-old sister while she left the room quickly to boil a kettle.

A mum told the inquest how she put him into his bath seat next to his sister before leaving the room, saying that it seemed to be firmly attached to the bath with suction cups.

The baby was discovered face down in the bath, with the seat tipped over to one side. The family made desperate attempts to revive him but he never regained consciousness. He died in hospital in his mother’s arms four days later.

Even the shallowest of water

At the inquest into his death, the coroner, warned of the dangers of leaving young children alone in the bath.

“This has highlighted the dangers posed when a child is left unsupervised for a short period of time and even in the shallowest of water. Hopefully this message will serve to spare the agony this family has had to endure.”

Why are babies at risk of drowning?

Babies can drown in just a few centimetres of water, very quickly and with no noise or struggle. They can’t recognise danger and don’t have the strength to try to reach the surface.

This means babies need constant adult supervision while in water of any kind.

Our advice

While bath seats can be a useful tool in helping busy parents at bath-time, it’s important to remember they’re just a support, and NOT a safety device.

Parents need to stay with their baby constantly when they’re in the bath.

When you’re juggling demands, it’s easy to think that an older child can briefly look after a younger child or at least raise the alarm if something goes wrong.

But older children shouldn’t be left in charge. They can’t be expected to know what action to take if something happens, may not recognise the danger or react quickly enough and will lack the strength or dexterity to get the baby out of danger.

Share because you care

We’re worried that bath seats give parents a false sense of security. Please share this story and what you’ve learnt with other families, to help stop more tragedies.

Our Watch out in water fact sheet offers bite-sized facts and tips on water safety. Please read and share.

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