The number of children drowned in bathtubs accounts for almost two-thirds of reported fatal drowning in the home. As with most cases of child drowning, the accident occurred while the parent or caregiver was not looking. Statistics show that drowning is the leading cause of all accidental deaths among children ages 1 to 4.
Another bathtub accident occurred on March 20 when 4-year-old Skye McLeod apparently drowned while under the care of her mother’s boyfriend at the Raleigh Gardens Apartment complex on Saint Giles Street. According to reports, Robert Shaw was caring for Skye and her 2-year-old sister while their mom was at work. Shaw was drawing a bath for the younger girl when Skye asked to get into the water with her sister. Shaw left the girls to play in the bathtub, went to the bedroom, watched TV, and sent a text message to Stakisha McLeod, the girls’ mother.
After a few minutes, Shaw heard splashing in the bathtub as if the girls were still playing. He told the girls they only had a few minutes left. When he went back to the bathroom, he saw Skye lying on her back with her mouth and nose submerged while the younger girl was sitting up. He called 911 and the dispatcher gave him instructions how to revive the girl. When paramedics arrived, Shaw was in the hallway with the unconscious girl. They tried to revive Skye while rushing her to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
This kind of devastating drowning accident occurs on a regular basis because infants and toddlers are not capable of pulling themselves back up if they fall face down. Young children left unattended in a bathtub for even less than a minute can drown. A police spokesman said the girl’s death appeared to be accidental, but they are investigating whether child neglect played a role.
Child neglect is one of the most common types of maltreatment of children, although it has not been as publicized as much as child abuse, which often leaves scars and bruises. While the signs of neglect are less visible, it can be just as detrimental as child abuse. Most drowning deaths in the household are due to the negligence of a parent or caretaker. It can take the form of answering a phone call, opening the door for a guest, or watching TV while leaving a child in the bathtub.
Daycare workers, nannies, babysitters, or other individuals trusted by parents to provide care for their small child can be held responsible if the child suffers injuries or dies due to mistakes or negligence. To ease the suffering caused by the trauma of a child’s drowning, parents may find it necessary to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligence party to seek financial restitution for the loss.