People often feel like it is safe to leave a child unattended if it’s “just for a second.” For instance, a babysitter may keep a close eye on a child for most of the night, but then look away for a minute while taking a phone call from a significant other.

In some situations, this level of inattention can be very dangerous. For instance, here are a few simple distractions and the risk they pose if a child is left unattended in a bathtub.

  • Talking on the phone: This may take as little as two minutes. However, if a child goes underwater in this time, they could be completely unconscious by the time the person caring for them gets back.
  • Getting a towel: When the towel is just on the other side of the room or in a nearby closet, it may take just 10 seconds to grab it. That is still enough time for a child to go completely underwater and panic.
  • Answering the door: Just signing for a package when the UPS truck arrives can take anywhere between four to six minutes. This feels fast, and a person may be tempted to open the door with the child still in the tub. However, even this brief distraction is long enough for the child to suffer serious brain damage that lasts for life if they begin to drown.

People often say things like “I just looked away for a minute,” but that is not an excuse. It could be considered serious negligence. If your child dies in a preventable accident, make sure you understand all of your legal options.