Infant drowns in bathtub
Classic example of an accidental bathtub death

Jeff Colbourne
Northern News Services

NNSL (Sep 14/98) - A 10-month old infant girl bathing with her older baby sister drowned in a bathtub in her Kugluktuk home Sept. 4. A parent was at home but not in the bathroom with the children.

The chief coroner's office say all indications show the accidental death of Kendra Kavanna is a classic example of an accidental bathtub drowning.

"Across the country this whole idea of two young people in the tub and having one drown is a very classic example of this kind of accident," said chief coroner Percy Kinney.

"It's where you have two kids playing in the tub, one gets tangled up or some how underneath the other one. Of course they are very young children who don't realize that this is a problem. One is either accidentally holding one down or laying on top of the other playing and it's underneath the water and that's what you have happen."

Kinney could not say if that's exactly what happened in the death of Kavanna. He is waiting for an Edmonton medical examiner's final report, which will confirm cause of death.

Const. Jeff Hildebrandt with the Kugluktuk RCMP detachment said as of last Thursday they were still investigating the incident and little could be said until the coroner's report is filed.

"We have a 10-month-old infant girl who was found in the bathtub by her father and she was deceased," he said.

"Efforts were made to revive her but they were unsuccessful."

Between 1986 and 1990, NWT topped the statistics for injury deaths involving infants. During that period there were 50 deaths per 100,000 infants, four times the national average.

In 1995, bathing deaths accounted for nine per cent of all reported drownings in Canada.

In the wake of this most recent tragedy, parents are reminded to follow a number of safety tips to hopefully prevent other bathtub deaths from occurring in the future.

* Never leave a child unattended in a bathtub, not even to answer the telephone or the door.

* Keep one hand on a child at all times while bathing him or her.

* If under the influence of alcohol or taking medication, don't bathe a child. You should be alert.

* Do not let siblings bathe together without adult supervision unless one is old enough to act responsibility.

* Keep bath beads out of a child's reach. Use products with pumps.