Parental survey of beliefs and practices about bathing and water safety and their children: guidance for drowning prevention

Accid Anal Prev. 2007 Jan;39(1):58-62. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2006.06.020. Epub 2006 Aug 22.


Drowning represents the second leading cause of unintentional injury death in children less than 19 years. In children less than 5 years, many of these deaths occur in bathtubs. The objective of this study was to describe parental beliefs and practices regarding bathing their children and general water safety to aid in improving anticipatory guidance for drowning prevention. We distributed a written survey about parental beliefs and practices concerning their children's bathing and general water safety to a convenience sample of caregivers. One hundred and thirty-six caregivers participated in the survey providing data for a total of 209 children. Overall, 85% of respondents reported using baby bathtubs, and 46% reported using bath seats when bathing their children. Some caregivers reported leaving a 6-12 months old child unsupervised in the tub, either alone or with a sibling. About half of respondents (52%) indicated that pediatricians discussed water safety and supervision with them, and 36% indicated discussing the proper use of bathing aids with their child's pediatrician. In conclusion, the survey found the majority of caregivers use bathing aids, and caregivers reported some risky behaviors of unsupervised bathing of infants, either alone or with siblings. Better water safety anticipatory guidance is needed for caregivers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention / standards*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Baths / standards*
  • Child
  • Child Welfare*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Data Collection
  • Drowning / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Massachusetts
  • Parenting
  • Parents / education*
  • Parents / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires