The Danger of Immersion Fonts

I’m just saying: this wouldn’t happen with a birdbath-style font.

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7 comments

  1. Pretty funny, Fritz! But it lead me to think about something rather gravely serious. Has anyone looking into a drowning risk with immersible fonts? Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of immersion … but an infant/toddler/child falling unnoticed into a font? Is there literature on this? (Not being a troll … quite sincerely serious on this.)

    1. There are safety laws (I am not sure at what level; municipal? Federal?) about pools of water in public places, which apply in gaining building permits. After all, the same safety question could be raised about a fountain in a park or shopping mall. I believe if water is at a certain depth, the baptismal font must be gated when not in use. I also know of churches that have installed a grille beneath the surface of the water (removed when there’s a baptism) to prevent accidents.

    2. I have admittedly never given much thought to this serious real world problem in church architecture (despite my past life as a waterfront manager). Looking around my diocese, all immersion fonts here (where they exist) are built with sides around 3ft tall, presumably with curious toddlers in mind. Whether it’s civil building codes or diocesan directive I’m not sure, but it’s smart. The diocese I previously lived in must not have had the same building codes, as several churches have immersion fonts with sides well below the height of your average toddler, including their cathedral’s sunken font that’s only guarded by sections of the old communion rail. I thankfully have never heard of any tragic Holy Water drownings and pray I never do.

  2. You should check out a video on YouTube entitled something like Orthodox Baptism in Sea. Baptizo is to dip or plunge, and these people have not forgotten how our ancestors baptized.

  3. That wouldn’t have happened if there was a proper baptisterium separate from the church… but hey…

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