A coroner in Ireland has issued a strong warning that every parent needs to hear in response to the death of a baby who was left alone in the bath.

7-month-old Alex McCarnery and his sister 2-year-old Lily, were left alone by their mother Joanne Pedlow during bath time for a just a minute.  Joanne left them to turn her jug on – but even this small amount of time was too long.  Hearing Lily scream, she ran quickly back into the bathroom, but was unable to save Alex.

Joanne told a court this week that she left Alex in a baby bath seat that was secured to the bottom of the bathtub with suction cups, with the water level was to the child’s belly-button.  She thought he would be okay for a few minutes.  She was momentarily distracted when her brother dropped by unexpectedly and they began chatting.

During her evidence, the heartbroken mum said, “He was quite a big child and was quite heavy. I think he had leaned forward and toppled it (the seat) over.”  Joanne found Alex face down in the water with the seat beside him.

Despite Joanne’s efforts to resuscitate little Alex, when emergency services arrived they were unable to find a pulse.  Alex suffered a catastrophic brain injury and passed away four days later in hospital.

The coroner at the inquest into Alex’s death issued a warning to all 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. Hopefully this message will serve to spare the agony this family has had to endure.”

Image source: DepositPhotos

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  • Oh no how terrible! Really drills home how we can never ever leave small children unattended in any situation


  • Oh god this is so awful and sad. I am paranoid about leaving kids in the bath – I sit centremetres away from them and watch them like a hawk.
    I hope the poor mum is coping ok – my heart breaks for her and what she must be going through.


  • Oh my gosh, how sad. The mother must be completely beside herself :(
    People will always think it won’t happen to them.


  • In imperial measurements a baby can down in less than an inch of water if he/she falls face down in the water. I wouldn’t walk out of the bathroom. I wouldn’t put the kettle on before putting a child in a bath or until they are out of the water and the plug has been pulled out to drain it.


  • One can never be too vigilant when kids are in or around water, I feel so sorry for this poor mum, she will never forget and more than likely beat herself up over it constantly. My thoughts are with the family.


  • This is so heartbreaking. Poor child. And poor mum :-(


  • Lke ju


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