A little boy who loved to play with water and whose favourite word was “bath” drowned when his mother left him alone in the bath and popped into the next room to fold some sheets.
Paul Carter-Young, who was aged 21 months, was left unsupervised popping water balloons and splashing; he got into difficulties in the bath at the family home in Rossendale, Lancashire, while his mother was folding sheets in the room next door.
The alarm was raised when his sister spotted him face down in the bath; his parents attempted resuscitation and put him in the recovery position while they waited for an ambulance. Paramedics rushed little Paul, who was nicknamed “Dragon” by his family, to the Royal Blackburn Hospital, but pronounced dead on arrival.
Paul’s death was investigated by the police, who were satisfied that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the little boy’s death and that he had been “absolutely loved” by his parents 36 year-old Kelly Young and Paul Carter, 54.
Giving a statement to the inquest, Miss Young said: “We have always had a busy, noisy house. He would love the bath. Dragon always had to be put in the water with jugs and toys. I went to get Amelia [Paul’s sister] , I didn’t know why she didn’t want to get in. I went to the landing.
Miss Young explained she could hear the balloons popping and began to fold the laundry and while doing so, she heard her daughter Amelia say: “Mummy – Dragon.” Miss Young went on:
“I ran to the bathroom, everything happened very quickly. Dragon was face down in the bath. I scooped him up and held him in my arms, patting his body. I told Imogen to take Amelia away and shouted for Paul to come up.”
The pathologist Naomi Carter explained to the inquest that she was not able to say how long the boy had been submerged in the water: “Death is consistent with having drowned. It is not assessable to say how long he was under the water. Bubble bath and large toys may have put him at an increase of slipping.” The East Lancashire Coroner, Richard Taylor returned a conclusion of Accidental Death.