A 5-month-old baby died after drowning in a bathtub in Alabama’s Jefferson County on Sunday evening. Authorities said that the baby’s 23-year-old father briefly left the baby in the bath unattended and went to play a video game.
Upon his return, he found the child unresponsive and immediately called paramedics for help. The child was moved to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, as reported on the website of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
The father, Cordarius Cotton, has been charged with reckless manslaughter and is currently locked up at the Jefferson County Jail with bond set at $15,000. He can face up to 20 years of imprisonment for his criminal negligence.
During the investigation, Cotton confessed that he drew a bath for his son and left him there for about an hour. The man started playing a video game and “forgot” about the child.
Commenting on the tragic incident, Jefferson County Chief Deputy Randy Christian said that it’s unimaginable how hard this is going to be on the child’s family, as quoted by Fox News. “This will be heart-wrenching for all involved. God be with them,” he said.
The Fox News report also revealed that Cotton was provided CPR instructions over the phone by a dispatcher while paramedics were on their way to his apartment. Upon their arrival, responders tried to resuscitate the child but it was, unfortunately, too late.
Tub drownings are extremely tragic, but they are common across the globe. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), an estimated 87 children lose their lives each year from drownings at home, two-thirds of them in a bathtub, as reported by Today.
Medical advisers warn that it can take only a few minutes for a child to drown and lose consciousness underwater, and another five to 10 minutes for the heart to stop. Given the high rates of tub drownings, the CPSC released an awareness video in 2016 to warn parents and caregivers never to leave children in the bathtub unsupervised -not even for a second.
The CPSC website further provides clear guidance for parents to be vigilant when using infant bathtubs and advises them to keep the following safety tips in mind to prevent accidents.
- Never leave young children alone, even for a moment, near any water.
- Always keep a young child in a bathtub within arm’s reach. If you must leave, take the child with you.
- Don’t leave a baby or toddler in a bathtub under the care of another young child.
- Learn CPR. It can be a lifesaver when seconds count.