A stark warning from a coroner will make every parent extra vigilant at bath time and serve as a reminder that you really can’t leave a baby in the bath without adult supervision, even for a few seconds.
The inquest into the death of 7-month-old Alex McCartney from County Armagh took place last week, reported the Belfast Telegraph. The tot died in January 2015, days after he was found face down in bathwater when his mother left the room to boil a kettle.
Baby Alex was in the bath with his 2-year-old sister, who alerted their mother Joanne Pedlow to the tragic incident when she started screaming.
Despite repeated attempts to resuscitate Alex he died in his mother’s arms four days later in the Royal Victoria Hospital, after suffering “catastrophic” brain damage.
After his death little Alex’s mother and his father, Stephen McCartney, donated his liver, both kidneys and his heart to save the lives of other babies.
Joanne, 33, told the inquest that she had placed Alex into a bay bath seat beside his sister Lily, adding that the seat was secured to the bottom of the bath with suction cups and the water reached the level of Alex’s belly button.
“I then popped down the stairs to put the kettle on to wash the floor when my brother Richard and his partner Nicky came in,” she said. “We chatted for about a minute when we heard Lily crying and the three of us went up the stairs. Nicky went into the room first, then Richard, but I didn’t go in, and I heard Nicky squealing.”
“[Alex] was quite a big child and was quite heavy, I think he had leaned forward and toppled it [the seat] over,” Joanne told the court.
The inquest heard how healthy Alex died from pneumonia, cerebral hypoxia and probable drowning.
Coroner Ms. Anderson said his death had been a tragedy for his family and expressed her “heartfelt sympathy” to his 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,” she added. “Hopefully this message will serve to spare the agony this family has had to endure.”