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January 24,  2002

SafetyAlerts Registrant Warning: Infant Bath Seat


 (SafetyAlerts) - SafetyAlerts has received a Safety Warning from one of our registrants who feels we should again remind all of our registrants about this issue.

Hi there... please, oh please, include a warning about the Safety First bath seat that's killed so many children. There are many news stories available about this if you want verification of the danger. Thank you, MW.

The SafetyAlerts Registrant went on to describe her personal relationship with this product type in a telephone interview.

She placed her six month old son in a baby bath seat. She got into the tub to bath with him, as was her usual practice. While she was bathing him the suction cups on the seat released and her son tipped over. Because she was in the tub at the time she was able to catch him before he went under water. MW

As of May, 2001 the CPSC has reported that seventy-eight babies have drowned while using baby bath seats over the last two decades. The recent enforcement history of this issue shows an increasing awareness of the problem and a sensitivity to the inadequacy of warnings placed on the product to prevent caregiver neglect.

A decision in June 15, 1994 by the CPSC held that the product risk associated with baby bath seats had to do with parental neglect and not the design of the product, (click here).

On August 22, 2000 the CPSC received a petition to ban the sale of baby bath seats (click here).

On May 30, 2001 the CPSC released a formal statement initiating an investigation with the purpose of declaring a new set of rules for baby bath seats (click here). This statement provides the most recent statistics surrounding this issue and contains consenting and dissenting opinions on the new CPSC enforcement focus.

In an effort to illustrate how this type of tragedy can occur two incidents have been summarized from police and medical documents. The similar circumstances surrounding these cases should be noted. In these and other cases the baby was left in the bath seat unattended and died as a result of drowning. Even though the products have warnings to not leave a child beyond an arms length of distance, caregivers continue to leave children unattended in these products. The result is disastrous and in the two examples that will follow an older sibling was present in the bath when baby fell into the water. The two summaries that follow are graphics accounts by SafetyAlerts of this problem.

            In 1997, in Michigan, a father was bathing his two children, an eleven month old girl and thirty month old boy. The girl was in a bath seat when the father left the room, a practice that both parents engaged in according to the surviving boy. When the father returned he found the girl floating in the water. The son said that his sister ?can not swim?. The boy stated that when she got out of the seat into the water she ?dreamed?. The girl died from this near drowning experience some time later. The product had explicit warnings in three languages stating that a child is not to be left alone in the product.

          In 1997, in Bronx, New York a mother gave her two boys a bath, (ages six months and twenty four months). The report states that she placed them in the tub, the younger boy in the bath seat, she turned on the water and stopped the drain with a sock. She then went into the kitchen where she prepared plantains (about 3-4 minutes). When she started to cook the older boy came into the kitchen undressed and wet. The mother took him back to the bath tub and found the baby face down in the water still in the seat. The seat?s rear suction cups came loose and allowing the chair to flip forward forcing the baby under water. The baby died at the hospital some time later from injuries resulting from the near drowning. The mother said she was aware of the warning to not leave the child unattended.

American Academy of Pediatrics Report on Baby Bath Seats, (click here).

Source: SafetyAlerts.

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During 2000 there were over
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