Researchers have reported that more than 43,000 children under the age of 18 are injured each year by doing something as ordinary as taking a bath or shower. A study focusing on the slip and fall aspect of bathtub injuries was published in the July edition of Pediatrics. “What caught our attention was the frequency of the slips and falls,” said lead researcher Dr. Gary A. Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.  “There are about 120 kids a day injured by slips and falls in bathtubs and showers, and that number is constant over the 18 years the researchers looked at.” Smith said. “That is really telling me that we have a problem that needs to be addressed,” he noted.

Fall, slips and trips were the most common reason for injuries, accounting for 81 percent of all injuries, according to the report.  Smith first suggests that parents use slip resistant mats inside and outside of the bathtub to prevent slip and falls. Secondly, Smith remarks that manufacturers must look at the current standard for slip resistance and strengthen the criteria.

Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, said it’s, “alarming that more than 40,000 children are injured badly enough each year in bath and shower tumbles to warrant a trip to the emergency room. “If these injuries were unavoidable, that would be one thing,” Katz said. “But they are extremely, if not completely, preventable.” Katz noted.

For now, parents are forewarned that tub and shower tumbles in young children are a common cause of injury, Katz said. “So the first line of defense is parental vigilance. But the more definitive response is to re-engineer tubs and showers,” he said.