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Coroner Issues Bath Time Safety Warning Every Parent Should Hear

The Short of It

A coroner in Ireland issues a warning every parent needs to hear after a baby left alone in a bathtub dies.

The Lowdown

Joanne Pedlow left her 7-month-old son Alex McCartney and his 2-year-old sister Lily alone during bath time for just a moment to put the tea kettle on, but even that short time was too long. When the mom heard her toddler scream, she ran back into the bathroom, but it was too late.

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Pedlow told a court this week that she left Alex in a baby bath seat that was secured to the bathtub with suction cups in belly-button deep water, thinking he would be okay for a few minutes. But her brother stopped by and they began chatting when they heard Lily cry out.

The heartbroken mom said, "He was quite a big child and was quite heavy. I think he had leaned forward and toppled it (the seat) over." He was found face down in the water with his bottom sticking out above the bubbles. The seat was beside him.

Pedlow tried to resuscitate the baby, but when the paramedics arrived, they were unable to find a pulse. Little Alex suffered a catastrophic brain injury and passed away four days later in his mother's arms at the hospital.

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The Upshot

The coroner at the inquest into Alex's death issued a warning to all parents: "This has highlighted the important issue for parents about the dangers posed when a child is left unsupervised for a short period of time and even in the shallowest of water. Hopefully this message will serve to spare the agony this family has had to endure."

Alex's organs were donated to save other lives, which is the tiniest of silver linings in this otherwise devastating story.

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We might all be quick to judge this mom, but I know I'm guilty of stepping out of the bathroom while my kids are bathing to grab their pajamas or to see who a missed call was from. Alex's tragic death will be in my mind during bath time from now on. Every, single thing can wait until my children are safely out of the tub; that could not be more apparent.

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