Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 6: Play Areas/Playgrounds and Transportation

6.3 Water Play Areas (Pools, Etc.)

6.3.5 Other Water Play Areas Water in Containers

Bathtubs, buckets, diaper pails, and other open containers of water should be emptied immediately after use.
In addition to home swimming and wading pools, young children drown in bathtubs and pails (4). Bathtub drownings are equally distributed in both sexes. Any body of water, including hot tubs, pails, and toilets, presents a drowning risk to young children (1,2,4,5).

From 2003-2005, eleven children under the age of five died from drowning in buckets or containers that were being used for cleaning (4). Of all buckets, the five-gallon size presents the greatest hazard to young children because of its tall straight sides and its weight with even just a small amount of liquid. It is nearly impossible for top-heavy infants and toddlers to free themselves when they fall into a five-gallon bucket head first (3).

Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
  1. U.S. Consumer Safety Commission (CPSC). How to plan for the unexpected: Preventing child drownings. Document #359.
  2. Rivera, F. P. 1999. Pediatric injury control in 1999: Where do we go from here? Pediatrics 103:883-88.
  3. U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). In home danger: CPSC warns of children drowning in bathtubs, bath seats and buckets more than 400 deaths estimated over a five-year. period. 2012.
  4. U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). Submersions related to non-pool and non-spa products, 2009 report. 2010.
  5. American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention. 2010. Policy statement: Prevention of drowning. Pediatrics 126:178-85.