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Splish, Splash I Was Taking A Bath

Child injuries during taking bath

"Splish, splash I was taking a bath" could be the beginning of the tale of how the vast majority of injuries happen to children.

There are an estimated 43,600 bathtub- and shower-related injuries among children treated in emergency departments each year. Their injuries begin with a splish and a splash, then a slip.

Dr. Gary Smith and colleagues looked at data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System which collects data from a 100 emergency departments (ED) across the the U.S. Looking at the data from 1990 to 2007, the EDs treated an estimated 791,200 bath-related injuries in children and teens younger than 19 years old.

Using that data, 5.9 per 10,000 children each year could begin their tales of injury with “splish, splash, I was taking a bath.”

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Most injuries (81%) were related to slips, trips, or falls. Another 9.3% to impact, 4% to burns, 1.6% to submersions, and 4.1% to other causes. Most injuries occur in 2 year olds. More than half (54.3%) occur in children younger than 5 years of age. Most result in lacerations (59.5%) or soft-tissue injuries (21.6%).

Parental supervision often is not enough to avoid these types of injuries. Tips for preventing the bath/shower injuries include

> using a slip resistant mat inside and outside the bath and shower

> installing support bars for children to grab on to while getting in and out of the tub

> removing sharp edges and using shatterproof enclosures to prevent lacerations

Injuries associated with bathtubs and showers among children in the United States; Pediatrics 2009; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2008-2489; Mao S, et al