Press Releases

2003 Releases

Kids Risk Symposium Yields Findings on Role of Baby Bath Seats in Unintentional Drownings; Evaluates Corporate Commitment to Helping Children

For immediate release:  April 14, 2003

Boston, MA— A study released from the Harvard School of Public Health’s Kids Risk Project, led by Kimberly Thompson, associate professor of risk analysis and decision science, found that increased baby bath seat use in the US did not increase the risk of accidental infant drowning in bath tubs.

A second study from the project documented that a significant number of Fortune 1000 companies have policies in place designed to help children via a wide range of programs. The findings from the two studies were released at the 2003 Kids Risk Symposium in late March and are published online in Medscape General Medicine.

Thompson analyzed US infant (6-10 months) bathtub drowning data spanning 1990-1998 from the Consumer Product Safety Council and the National Center for Health Statistics. Baby bath seat ownership data and industry sales data were collected and analyzed from the American Baby Group and NDP, a market trend analysis company. Thompson found that increased sales and bath seat use were associated with a decreased risk in unintentional infant drowning. “The biggest risk to infants in bath seats is being left unattended,” she said. “More work needs to be done to get the message out to caregivers not to leave infants alone in bath seats.”

In the second paper released at the symposium, Thompson surveyed Fortune 1000 companies, evaluating the commitment of US businesses to children’s health and development. Some 300 top US businesses responded to questions about programs, policies and mission statements geared toward helping children.

The survey found that 33 percent of the businesses responding have vision statements and guiding principles in place dedicated to helping children.  Among those businesses, 41 percent had employment opportunities for teens and 77 percent encouraged their employees to mentor children under 18 years of age. Approximately 60 percent of the respondent companies support affiliated, independent philanthropic foundations, and 55 percent of the companies stated that they concentrate their philanthropic interests on children. Approximately 80 percent of the responding companies stated that they participated in at least one activity that helps disadvantaged children. Thompson added, “The study suggests that businesses are playing a significant role in the health and development of children, and that the Fortune 1000 companies represent the tip of the iceberg of the overall business community's commitment to children. Future studies should be conducted to track corporate responsibility efforts aimed at helping children."

For more information on the Kid Risk project visit,

The studies were funded in part by grants from the Harvard Injury Control Center which is funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Annie E. Casey Foundation

For further information, please contact:

Robin Herman
Office of Communications
Harvard School of Public Health
677 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Phone: 617-432-4752