Tips for Child Safety in the Bathroom
Bathrooms are a staple of any UK home, but they’re not the safest room in the house. In 2008, 234,094 people in the USA received nonfatal bathroom injuries, and that was just people over 15. That’s why any family should take child bathroom safety seriously.
Below, we’ll take you through our top tips for child safety in the bathroom.
Safe baths and showers
Bath safety and shower safety are very important when it comes to protecting children’s wellbeing. Drowning and scalding are risks that should not be taken lightly. That’s why you should be mindful of the temperature and depth of the water. It’s also why you should never leave small children unsupervised in the bathtub.
When bathing your newborn or infant, never leave them unsupervised
When it comes to infant bath safety, the advice is clear: a baby or young child should never be left alone in the bath. According to the NHS, babies can drown in just two inches of water. Drowning is one of the commonest causes of child deaths, and the bathtub is the most common place for them to drown.
It’s a sobering thought. So, when bathing your newborn or infant, you must stay with your child from the moment the water starts running till the moment the water has drained away. Phone calls, deliveries and other distractions can wait. If you must leave the bathroom, take your child with you.
It may be a good idea to prepare everything you need for your baby’s bath in advance. This saves the inconvenience of taking the baby out of the bath to retrieve items you have forgotten.
Check the depth of the bath water
As mentioned earlier, a baby can drown in only 2 inches of water. According to the NHS, a safe bath for your baby should be approximately 8-10cm deep. Don’t leave the water running when the baby is in the bath to avoid overfilling.
Check the water temperature
A child’s skin is more sensitive than an adult’s. To prevent scalding, it’s important to ensure that your child’s bath water is a safe temperature before lowering them into it. The bath water should be 37-38 °C.
To test the temperature of the water, you can use the elbow check. Dip your elbow into the water. The temperature of the water should feel the same as your body temperature and shouldn’t be too hot or too cold. However, the most reliable way to check is with a thermometer.
Always start with cold water before adding hot. Again, don’t leave the water running because the water temperature can change quickly. It’s also important to teach your children not to play with the bathroom taps, as the surface of the tap can scald if it’s been running hot for a while.
If your bath taps have separate hot and cold spouts, consider installing bath mixer taps instead. Bath mixer taps mix hot and cold water in one spout, making it easier to regulate the temperature of the water as it leaves the tap. Similar considerations apply to basin taps. Basin mixer taps are safer than a pair of hot and cold pillar taps.
When your children are old enough to start showering, it’s important to ensure the shower is the right temperature, too. Make sure to check the water temperature before letting your kids get under the spray and teach them not to tamper with the shower controls or touch the valve, which may be hot.
Install bathroom fixtures with added safety features
A safe shower or bath has never been more achievable. There are lots of tap and shower features on the market to improve bathroom safety for the whole family.
Temperature limiters in taps and showers
Some showers and bathroom taps include temperature limiters or safety stops which prevent them from exceeding a set temperature. This is a reassuring addition to any family bathroom. It’s especially good for giving older children more independence, since they can run the bath or shower more safely.
Some safety stops can also have their maximum temperature adjusted. As your children grow up, you’ll have the option to increase the maximum temperature to suit your family’s evolving needs.
Electric showers with phased shutdown
If you want an electric shower, look for a phased shutdown feature. When you finish showering, a shower with phased shutdown will flush any remaining hot water from the system. This means that the next shower user won’t experience a blast of hot water when they first switch it on – handy for everyone in the house.
Thermostatic showers carry the benefit of thermostatic temperature control. Fluctuations in water pressure can cause a blast of hot or cold water when other people run a tap or flush the loo elsewhere in the house. It’s not pleasant for anyone, let alone your kids! Thermostatic temperature control ensures the temperature remains stable no matter who else is using the water.
Cool touch technology
Cool touch technology prevents the surface of shower valves and taps from getting hot enough to scald. This is yet another fantastic way to make your bathroom safer.
Digital showers and smart showers
If you’ve got the budget, you might want to consider a digital shower or smart shower. With smart showers, you can create profiles for individual shower users and tailor their shower settings to their needs. Predictably, this is very useful if your household includes children, since you can ensure the water comes out at a safe temperature every time.
With digital showers and bath fillers, you can set the water to come out at a precise temperature, rather than relying on a dial. This makes you less reliant on a thermometer.
Keep unsafe objects out of reach
We keep all sorts of things in the bathroom that can be dangerous for kids. We use many of these regularly, such as medicines and sharp objects. That’s why being vigilant about bathroom safety for our kids can be so challenging.
Lock away medicines and cleaning products
Many people keep medicines and cleaning products in the bathroom. If this is the case for your family, make sure they’re locked away – or at least hidden away – in a bathroom cabinet far from your children’s reach.
What if your only bathroom storage is a vanity unit or another cupboard that is near the floor? Ideally, move them out of the bathroom altogether and find a safer place to store them. If you don’t have a safe alternative, invest in child locks for your cupboard doors and drawers.
Even shampoos, shower gels and other toiletries should be kept out of reach. Colourful liquids and bottles can be very attractive to children and may be mistaken for children’s drinks.
If your child does ingest any of these substances, seek appropriate medical advice immediately.
Hide sharp objects
For many of us, the bathroom is the setting for at least some of our personal grooming routine. This may well include items such as razors, nail files, nail scissors, and other sharp objects. Ensure these items are tidied away and out of your children’s reach.
Keep electrical appliances out of the way
Water and electricity don’t mix, so it goes without saying that you shouldn’t leave electricals close to water. You should also keep electrical appliances out of the reach and sight of children. This is especially true of any item that is likely to get hot or that may still be hot even if not plugged in, such as hair dryers. Make sure hair utensils like curling irons and hair straighteners are covered with heat-resistant sleeves and put away after use.
If your child has just washed their hands, showered or bathed, make sure they are properly dried off. No-one wants their children to touch any electrical devices with wet hands.
Make your bathroom non-slip
Slipping is the most common accident in the bathroom, and it’s easy to see why. Bathrooms are a high-moisture area of the home, so water can easily find its way onto your bathroom floor, creating a slip hazard. In addition, bathrooms often have hard floors made from tile, vinyl and other water-resistant materials, as well as metal and ceramic bathroom fixtures. With so many hazards, a child can injure themselves quite easily if they fall over. Fortunately, there are various ways to reduce the risk of slipping.
Mop up spills when they occur
Make sure any spills are mopped up quickly. If you need to mop the floors, try to do it when your kids are out of the house or less likely to need the bathroom. Depending on your routine, this may be after they have gone to bed or school or when they are out doing an activity.
Non-slip bath mats
Bath safety isn’t limited to preventing scalds and drowning. Slipping in the bathtub can also be an issue. That’s why it’s a good idea to invest in non-slip bath mats. You can buy rubber bath mats for the bottom of the bath and also rubber backed mats for the bathroom floor. This gives your children a safe, non-slip surface to stand on, whether they are climbing in or climbing out of the tub.
Anti-slip shower trays
A non-slip shower tray will enhance shower safety and is a great option if your children like to use the shower. Anti-slip trays have a special anti-slip coating that gives your feet extra grip when showering.
Teach children how to behave appropriately in the bathroom. Discourage them from standing up in the bathtub or running in the bathroom.
Seek appropriate advice when falls occur
Despite our best efforts, accidents do happen. If your child falls in the bathroom, be sure to check for injuries and for any signs of concussion. It’s much better to be safe than sorry.
Make bathroom fixtures and furniture safer
As mentioned above, the bathroom is full of hazards. There are various ways to make our bathroom fixtures and furniture a little bit safer.
Keep the toilet seat down
Yes, children can fall into the toilet. Fortunately, toilet seats can be fitted with child locks so they can’t be lifted by a toddler. This handy toilet safety feature should keep them out of trouble – and the toilet bowl.
If you are toilet training your child, buy a toilet training seat or family toilet seat. These seats make the hole in the toilet smaller so that your kids can’t fall through.
Soft-close toilet seats, doors and drawers
Catching your finger in a door or drawer is never pleasant – even less so for a small child! Fortunately, there are ways and means to keep small digits out of harm’s way.
Soft-closing mechanisms prevent bathroom furniture and toilet seats from slamming shut. They don’t just protect your children from your bathroom. They also protect your bathroom from your children by reducing wear and tear. They’re also great for reducing noise and give your family bathroom a more luxurious feel.
Cover sharp corners on your furniture
If there are any sharp corners on your bathroom furniture, consider installing corner guards or buying an alternative with rounded edges. That way, your child is less likely to injure themselves if they bang into them.
Cover your radiators
It’s inevitable that radiators get hot. But the last thing you want is for your child to grab or fall onto a hot towel radiator or bathroom radiator. At some times of year, it may be possible to simply turn the radiators down. But for times where you need the heat, radiator covers and towel rail safety panels may be the solution. Use these to cover your bathroom heating.
Keep the bathroom off-limits
Teach your children that a bathroom is a no-go area when you’re not with them. A lock on the door will prevent young children from entering the bathroom without you.
Be mindful when choosing and installing your lock, however. The lock should be high enough that young children cannot reach it, or there’s a risk that they will lock themselves in!
Once your children are older and can be trusted to use the bathroom safely, you may want to switch to a lock that they can reach to give the whole family more privacy. In this case, choose a lock that can easily be opened from the outside in case of an emergency.
An alternative option is to install a stair gate or safety gate at an appropriate place in your home, preventing your child from accessing certain areas of the house without you.
Stay up to date
Child safety advice changes all the time. That’s why it’s a good idea to stay up to date with current guidelines and to check official health and safety sources when unsure.
If you found this post useful, you may also be interested in - Designing a Family Bathroom - How to Childproof a Bathroom, Without Compromising on Style!
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