National warning on use of bath seats

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Public Health England (PHE) has issued an urgent alert for bath safety, and especially the use of bath seats, following a series of deaths and near misses reported by London’s Child Death Overview Panels (CDOPs).

Bath seats have been implicated in each case, and according to reports, one in three deaths from accidental drowning in children aged 0-2 involve bath seats.

Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive for the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT), said:

“While a baby may look secure in a bath seat, they can easily wriggle or slip out.  Or the seat itself can tip over and immerse the baby in water.

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 you need to stay with your baby all the time near water – don’t rely on older children to supervise.

We fully support PHE’s campaign to get a clear message out to parents and carers – bath seats may be useful pieces of kit for busy parents but they are not safety devices.”

CAPT has published an in-depth article which covers the nature of risk, advice to parents, and the real-life story of an 11 month old boy from Dundee who nearly drowned when his mum dashed downstairs to grab his pyjamas.