Our children’s safety is of utmost importance. We all know to babyproof our houses with outlet covers, gates for our stairs, etc. but some things don’t really hit home until you actually see it. Well, yesterday, I had one of those days that a safety reminder hit me in the face.
We all know the drowning hazards of having a backyard pool. But we don’t really think of the other drowning hazards as often. I’ve heard more than a dozen times that a bucket of water can be deadly for a baby or toddler. A young child can literally drown in a bucket of water even with only a few inches of water in it. Since children under 2 have bigger heads than the rest of their body, it can cause a child looking into a bucket to fall in face first and get stuck. What happens is if the child is either looking in the bucket or reaches into it to grab something, their head will tip forward causing them to fall into the bucket face first and flip their feet above their head. If there is any liquid in the bucket, the child can drown in a matter of a few silent seconds.
You hear this but until you actually see a child flip into a bucket it might not hit home. That’s exactly what I saw yesterday at our community pool. At the baby pool (for babies – 4 years old) in our community, there is a large rubbermaid container (like the one shown to the right) that holds all the miscellaneous toys that were left at the pool.
On this day, there were only a handful of toys in the container. Many of the kids play with these toys and return them to the bucket when they leave. So, as I was playing with my kids and talking to other moms at the pool, there was a young boy heading toward the toy bucket. The toddler was 16 months old, wearing a life jacket and had his mom steps away from him. In a split second, the young boy reached in the bucket for a toy at the bottom and went in head first without making a sound. The boy’s feet were kicking but he was clearly stuck. Since the container/bucket is large, it was able to hold the weight of the toddler on one side without tipping over. Luckily, since the mom was steps away and closely watching her young son, she quickly grabbed the toddler out of the bucket. There was no water in the bucket this time just toys. And that lifejacket that the boy was wearing would have meant nothing in this instance.
Now, as I watched in horror in that few seconds, I realized how quickly and silently a child can fall into a bucket. Had that bucket had water in it and had the mom not been paying attention…etc…the outcome could have been horribly different. I have an 18 month old and that could have easily been my child. It got me thinking that in the summer, buckets of water are not uncommon. We use them to wash our cars, clean out the garage etc. Even though, the young boy at the pool was completely fine, I couldn’t get the image of him falling into the container out of my head.
I had to write this story just to remind all the moms and dads out there to please never leave a bucket or container even with a few inches of water or liquid in it unattended at any time. Babies and toddlers are curious and mischevious and will beeline it to a bucket in seconds.