CHILDREN should never be left alone in the bath, according to Coffs Harbour Regional Manager of the Royal Life Saving Society Jason Phillips.
"We definitely don't recommend leaving a child alone in the bath, even for a minute," Mr Phillips said.
The Royal Life Saving Society is urging parents to be vigilant about supervision of their children at bath time, following the release of figures showing an average of nine children under five years of age drown in baths each year.
And the majority of drowning deaths happen when there is an interruption to the bathing routine.
"Studies have shown that most bath drownings have occurred when mum or dad run out of the bathroom for simple things like answering the phone or the doorbell," Mr Phillips said.
The Royal Life Saving Society says that parents leave their child unsupervised in the bath for many reasons, such as fetching forgotten clothes or towels, doing the washing or dishes, answering or making phone calls, or attending to other children.
But while parents tend to believe they can listen out for their children's safety, this is not the case as drowning is not accompanied by children crying out or splashing.
"Child drowning happens very quickly and child drowning is silent, so you can't hear a child drown," Mr Phillips said.
The society also recommends that parents learn resuscitation, which could potentially save a life, should something go wrong.
For their children's safety, parents should follow a few simple rules:
n Before running a bath, have all equipment ready ? towels, pyjamas, slip- pers.
n If you have a cordless phone, bring it into the bathroom. If you don't, let the phone ring and ignore the doorbell while chil- dren are in the bath.
n Have a small fold-up chair in the bathroom to sit on while the children are in the bath.
n Do not leave the bathroom at all for any reason while children are in the bath. If you have to leave, take the children with you.
n After bath time, ensure the bathtub is drained immediately and keep the bathroom door closed when not in use.
n Learn resuscitation.
For more information visit www.keepwatch.com.au or call 6651 6266.