This happens sometimes: It’ll be 7:30-ish, and I’ll be in the kitchen, starting to get dinner ready. I’ll be chopping onions, or crushing Sichuan peppercorns, when in walks Jean from the other room. I’ll look at her quizzically and ask, “Where’s Sasha?” I ask this because the last I knew, Sasha was having a bath.
“In the tub,” Jean will say nonchalantly.
And then I’ll sigh, and Jean will know why: Because she’s left our 2-and-a-half-year-old alone in a bathtub!
Look, I try not to be the crazy, overprotective parent. In fact, most of the time, I’m far from it—I ride Sasha around on my bike, stand way back when she’s climbing ladders at the playground, and even give her occasional sips of beer or champagne. But some alarm goes off in my head when I realize Sasha’s alone in the tub, some dim memory of statistics about kids drowning in 2 inches of water in kiddie pools, drowning silently and suddenly, with no splashing or cries to alert adults in the vicinity.
Now, here at my computer, I can actually look those stats up on the CDC site:
• Drowning is the second leading cause of death for kids under 14.
• “Supervision by a lifeguard or designated water-watcher is important to protect young children when they are in the water, whether a pool or bathtub.” Hear that, Jean?
• “Seconds count. CPR performed by bystanders has been shown to improve outcomes in drowning victims. The more quickly intervention occurs, the better change of improved outcomes.”
Mostly, the CDC warnings relate to swimming pools and other large bodies of water, but I still worry. To me, the guy who drags his kid to bars and lets her watch Mad Max movies, there are just some things you don’t ever do, like leaving toddlers in bathtubs unattended. Am I a hypocrite? Yes, probably. But a hypocrite with an undrowned daughter.