Tips for Child Safety in the Bathroom
We all want to ensure our children are constantly safe, and while sometimes we can be a little overbearing when it comes to child safety it really is better to be safe than sorry. In 2008 234,094 people in the USA received nonfatal bathroom industries, and that was just people over 15. We covered 8 safety tips in the same article where we mentioned that fact, but it’s a good idea to get some tips that focus solely on children. The bathroom can be a dangerous place for a small child, so constant supervision and the other rules below are things that need to be followed to a tee.
Never leave your child alone.
Before we go over everything else, this is the most important thing that absolutely needs to be remembered and 100% adhered to at all times. It’s not ok to say that you’re just popping downstairs to answer a quick 2 minute phone call whilst your child plays in the bath, that phone call can wait. Nothing is more important than the safety of your children. It only takes as little as one inch of water for a small child to drown in, so it’s important you’re there to watch them as soon as the bath water starts running. If you really need to leave the bathroom at any point, take your child with you. No ifs, no but’s.
Check the water temperature.
We’ve all dipped into a bath at some point and instantly yelped because it was too hot. While this may be a minor irritation for adults, babies can easily be scalded as their skin is far more susceptible to damage. So it’s incredibly important that the temperature is right before you lower your baby into it. Always start with cold water before adding hot. It’s also important to teach them not to play with the bathroom taps, as the surface of the tap can scald if it’s been running hot for a while.
You’ve probably heard of the elbow check, but the most reliable way to check is with a thermometer. The ideal temperature should sit at 37 degrees C to 8 degrees C, otherwise known as around body temperature. If you don’t have a thermometer to hand, the elbow check will suffice. Just remember that it shouldn’t feel too hot nor cold. Don’t leave the water running when the baby is in the bath, as water temperature can quickly change and it’s unsafe to put too much water in too.
If your bath taps have separate hot and cold spouts, consider bath mixer taps instead. It’s easier to regulate the temperature of the water coming out of them. Similar considerations apply to basin taps, where basin mixer taps are safer than a pair of hot and cold pillar taps.
When it comes to older children, and you want to start letting them have a shower instead of a bath, it’s just as important to ensure the shower is the right temperature too. Check it yourself before you get in, and teach them that messing with the shower controls is a bad thing to do (if they can even reach them at this point!). A lot of newer showers, particularly thermostatic showers, are fitted with safety features that ensure the temperature won’t go above a preset number. The ideal setting is around 48 degrees C.
Always remember that a child’s skin, especially on a baby, is far more delicate than the skin of an adult. It only takes 3 seconds for their skin to burn, so you need to be absolutely certain that there’s no risk of scalding.
The depth of the water also needs to be checked.
As noted earlier, it can take as little as one inch of water for a baby to drown if they fall face first into it. For babies, particularly newborns, don’t fill the bath up past 5 inches deep. The baby should be able to have their shoulders well covered when they lie down, but it shouldn’t be any higher than their waist when they’re in a sitting position. Again, don’t run the tap while the baby is in the bath as it can quickly fill up.
Ensure all medicines and cleaning products are well out of reach.
Many of us keep medicines in the bathroom, so if you’re the same make sure they’re hidden away inside a bathroom cabinet that’s high up on the wall so the little tikes can’t reach inside. If you have a vanity cabinet under the basin then it’s tempting to keep bathroom cleaning products in there. If you really must then ensure there’s a child lock on the door so it can’t easily be opened. Better yet, have a cupboard specifically for cleaning products elsewhere in the house and keep them altogether, only getting stuff out when you need to use them. This may be a cupboard under the sink, so ensure that cupboard is similarly protected.
You may feel like this is going overboard, but shampoos and shower gels should be well out of reach too. They tend to be colourful bottles and liquids that can be very attractive for kids, especially as kids drinks can be similar colours.
Keep sharp objects out of site.
How many times have you finished shaving and left the razor on the side by mistake? If you have children in the house then you immediately need to stop doing that. The gleam of scissors will also catch the eye of a child. It may be a myth that crows like to collect shiny objects, but don’t run the risk that it’s also false with your child. Keep them all out of sight and out of reach.
Also take a look around your bathroom fittings to see if any of them have particularly sharp corners. If so, consider replacing them with something that has smoother corners or at least cap it off.
The same goes for appliances.
Hair dryers, hair straighteners etc. keep them all out of the way of children and teach them that they are not toys. Even if the hair straightener isn’t plugged in and on, it’s important to teach them that it’s hot and shouldn’t be touched. Don’t leave them lying around, put them away as soon as you’ve finished using them. Finally, while this is common sense, don’t leave any electrical items close to water.
Keep the toilet seat down.
Yes, children can fall into the toilet. It’s been known to happen, and while you should refer to the first point on this article about always staying with your child in the bathroom, you should still ensure they can’t accidentally fall in. Like with most things that open and close in your home, toilet seats can be fitted with child locks so they can’t be lifted up by a toddler.
When it comes for your child to train to use the toilet, you can buy special booster seats that reduce the size of the hole in the toilet so they can’t fall through.
Make your bathroom non-slip.
Slipping is the most common accident in the bathroom, whether it’s a small child or a physically fit fully grown adult. Kids don’t have the best balance and coordination, particularly when they’re still learning to walk. We’ve all seen them tumble over seemingly nothing. Invest in non-slip bath mats to reduce the risk of them falling over in the bath. Also place mats on the bathroom floor so they don’t slip on a wet floor once they’re out. For really young children it’s a good idea to teach them that standing up in the bath is a bad thing to do.
Keep the bathroom door locked.
Here’s another use for a child lock! Teach your children that a bathroom is a no-go area when you’re not with them, and if they’re curious or just being a bit naughty they won’t be able to go in there without you opening it.