OBJECTIVE: The goal was to describe the epidemiological features of injuries associated with bathtubs and showers, especially those related to slips, trips, and falls, among US children.

METHODS: A retrospective study was performed by using nationally representative data from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from 1990 through 2007 for children ≤18 years of age.

RESULTS: There were an estimated 791 200 bathtub- and shower-related injuries among children ≤18 years of age who were treated in US emergency departments in 1990–2007, with an average of 43 600 cases per year or ∼5.9 injuries per 10 000 US children per year. The largest number of injuries involved children 2 years of age; children ≤4 years accounted for 54.3% of injuries. The most common diagnosis was laceration (59.5%). The most common mechanism of injury was a slip, trip, or fall, accounting for 81.0% of cases or 4.6 injuries per 10 000 US children per year. The most frequently injured body part was the face (48.0%), followed by the head/neck (15.0%). The majority (71.3%) of injuries occurred in a bathtub. Of the cases with a known place of injury, 97.1% occurred at home. An estimated 2.8% of patients were admitted, transferred to another hospital, or held for observation.

CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study on bathtub- and shower-related injuries using nationally representative data. Slips, trips, and falls in bathtubs and showers are a common cause of injury among children, especially children ≤4 years of age. The incidence of these injuries may be decreased by increasing the coefficient of friction of bathtub and shower surfaces.

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