Buckets filled with water or other liquids, especially the large five-gallon size, present a drowning hazard to small children. In Phoenix alone, 5 drowning incidents involving buckets, including three fatalities were reported in 2001.
Nationally, about 25 children drown every year in buckets, and many more are hospitalized. Many of the containers involved in drownings nationally were 5-gallon buckets containing liquids. Most were used for mopping floors or other household chores. Many were less than half full.
A young child's curiosity, along with their crawling and pulling up while learning to walk can lead to danger when buckets are used around the house. Curious children lean forward to play in the water. When they topple into the bucket, they are unable to free themselves and drown.
The 5-gallon bucket is particularly dangerous because its heavier weight makes it more stable than a smaller bucket, and unlikely to tip over when a child uses it to pull up. These containers are about half the height of the infants, and with several gallons of water, weigh more than children of that age.
Bucket Safety Tips
Always watch your children around water, inside the home, around the pool and around the yard
Even a partly filled bucket can be a drowning hazard
Never leave any bucket of water or other liquid unattended when small children are around
When doing household chores, immediately empty out buckets when finished, or move them to a safe place before taking a break