All About Babies

Heartbreaking Story Reminds Parents to Never Leave Baby Alone in the Bath

This seven-month-old baby boy's tragic story is helping to raise awareness about bath time safety for young children.

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Guys, you really can't leave a baby in the bath without adult supervision. Even for a few seconds.

Seven-month-old Alex McCartney was taking a bath with his 2-year-old sister Lily when mom Joanne stepped out of the room to quickly heat up some water and answer the door. She ran downstairs, leaving Alex secured in his baby seat—which was suctioned to the bottom of the tub—with the water only up to his belly button.

Joanne was chatting with her two visitors—brother Richard Pedlow and his partner Nichola Barr—in the kitchen for about a minute and a half when they heard Lily screaming. All three of them rushed upstairs, where they found Alex face-down in the water.

"He was quite a big child and was quite heavy," Joanne later said. "I think he had leaned forward and toppled [the seat] over."

Barr was first to reach the bathroom. "I immediately put my two hands under him and lifted him out," she said. "His face looked grey and his lips were blue. I could see the blue bath seat floating in the bath."

She began resuscitating Alex while Pedlow called for help and put the operator on speakerphone to relay instructions. But by the time paramedics arrived, they were unable to find Alex's pulse. The little boy survived on life support at the hospital, but died four days later, almost immediately after the decision was made to remove his breathing tube.

I can't even begin to imagine what this family is going through right now. It's a heartbreaking story, and one the coroner on the case hopes will serve as a lesson for all parents that any amount of time is too long to leave a little one unattended in the bath.

"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," said coroner Suzanne Anderson. "Hopefully this message will serve to spare the agony this family has had to endure."

Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and a mom. Check out her website for more, and follow her on Twitter at @holleewoodworld.