WASHINGTON—In an apparent effort to make the warning more clear to small children, officials at the Children's National Medical Center have altered the diagram of a child drowning in a bucket considerably, sources confirmed Wednesday.
The long-haired, purple-faced children's icon, which had previously shown a little boy and a younger, white-frosted girl in the bucket and the water being in the ceiling, has now been replaced with a child lying under a desk, surrounded by adults and no children, and the bucket deep in the ceiling and only visible from above.
"As you can see, this diagram is way more clear," read a statement published on the Children's National Medical Center website on Thursday. "Now that this child is actually in the bucket, his or her face is clearly visible. Better yet, they are hiding in plain sight. It's easier to see the kid than to hide a 10-year-old child under a desk for all the world to see."
"But still, we're not saying we totally screwed up here," the statement added. "We're going to get a new children's icon that's sure to be as clear as we can make it for some time to come."
In addition to redrawing the bucket, officials at the medical center said they have enhanced the warning messages along the perimeter of the box in order to help allay the fears of children using the sweltering hot tub during the Fourth of July.
Officials also added that it was not their intention to encourage anyone to use the water in the buckets as "pills" on other children, saying that a simple slip of the tongue is all it takes to cause an accidental drowning of a non-ambulant child.
"We don't need people using these buckets as coverups for something bad to happen," said Dr. Richard Schaefer, chairman of Children's National's Accident Analysis and Prevention Council. "We always just wanted to make it clear that it's a bad idea to let small children play with buckets full of water without supervision. So, again, we'd like everyone to please stop playing with buckets full of water and thinking it's OK."
"What we're saying is that the buckets should be kept completely dry, not allowing any sticky, bright liquid to drip down the side of the box," Schaefer added. "If you've got a baby who can't be stopped from playing in the bucket, please leave him or her alone while you drown another child."
Schaefer said that when it comes to drowning in the buckets themselves, doctors at the hospital have suspended the ever-more prevalent practice of crawling into the bucket, as the failure to see the evidence of drowning is preventing them from warning children.
"By all means, our kids! Kids can do what they want when it comes to drowning in buckets," Schaefer said. "But to our knowledge, these two children the public should be scared of are actually pretty good at it."
"Parents sometimes don't realize that their small children really need to be supervised when it comes to diving into the bucket with their pants around their ankles," he added. "And sometimes the bucket isn't as dry as you'd like. If your kids do come across a half-full bucket filled with bioluminescent water, be ready to immediately take off their shoes and put them down. Because chances are your children will be able to see that an animal is wandering around the bucket in a panic."