Help! My Toddler’s Fingers are Stuck in the Bath Drain

kids with fingers stuck in bath drain

A couple of weeks ago, a toddler in Brisbane got her fingers stuck down a bath drain. The story made national news because of the time it took for emergency services and the plumber to release the little girl’s hand.

Kiara Hampton told 9news when she tried to take her daughter, Olivia, out of the bath, she realized she was stuck. The mum tried liquid soap to pry Olivia’s little fingers from the small holes of the drain. When she couldn’t get the little girl’s fingers out, she rang for emergency services to come and help.

It took 7 hours for the little girl to be freed from the bath – which required the plumber to demolish the bath and gain access from underneath the apartment to release the toddler’s hand.

toddler with fingers stuck in bath drain
Image via screen shot of video


toddler with fingers stuck in bath drain
Image via Screenshot of video

An incident like this can happen to any parent and it happens more frequently than we realise.

Bath drains can come in different webbed styles. The reason for the webbing is to act like a strainer when the water flows through the drain. Older style bath drains tend to be more netted and have more rounder holes, which makes the opening the perfect size for little fingers to get trapped. When water is released from the bath, the suction can force those little fingers through the holes.

Most modern bath drains are more a webbed style drain, with the holes as wedges which makes them less likely for children to get their fingers caught.

bath drain
A more modern bath drain

But children should always be watched when in the bath and I always make it a habit to pull the plug after all three of my girls are out of the water.

To stop the girls from playing with the plug, I put the toys to the other end of the bath. I make sure there are a lot of bath toys to prevent boredom which often tempts a curious mind to play with the plug.

toys on other side of plug

Another thing I do is get my oldest child to be nearest the plug and my younger two the furtherest from the plug.

If you find your child does get their fingers caught in a bath drain, ring emergency services. The emergency services will do what they can and possibly choose to work alongside a plumber to disconnect the bath drain.

In most bath drain emergencies where the fingers can’t be released from the drain, the bath will need to be disconnected which will require jackhammering of the base of the bath to gain access underneath. The operation will involve the plumber disconnecting the bath trap and drain from the bath itself. Emergency services will sometimes sedate the child to ensure they are relaxed during the rescue effort because it can be traumatic for a little one to not be able to move because they’re stuck.

The best thing we can do as parents is to prevent it from happening.

You can use my tips above and as another preventative measure, you could buy these bath drain covers – Skip-Hop Kids Moby Top Stopper or the Boon – Ray Drain Cover from Lime Tree Kids. It’s a suction cup device designed to be placed over the bath plug while your little ones are in the bath. The suction makes it hard for toddlers to remove easily which stops them from accessing the bath drain.

Bath Safety Drain Cover
Skip-Hop Kids Safety Moby Drain Cover
bath drain cover
Boon – Ray Drain Cover

It’s important to do what you can to prevent your child getting their fingers stuck down the drain because it can take a couple of hours to free your child. Plus the drama and emotional toll it can have on everyone involved.

Do you have any other tips that you use to prevent your child playing with the bath plug while they’re in the bath?

Disclosure: There are affiliate links on this post. Should you choose to purchase one of these drain covers, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Home Improvement Thursdays
Last week on Home Improvement Thursday, Tash from Home of Marble and Mint shared the waiting process for her renovation. It’s worth the read and you may even resonate with Tash’s post if you’re planning a renovation or building a house yourself.

waiting for a renovation

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