The family bathroom isn’t just for us adult folk. Kids and people with little feet go both supervised and unsupervised into this frequently visited room on a daily basis. Possibly on a par with the kitchen, the bathroom is the most dangerous room inside a modern home. Hard surfaces, dangerous chemicals and scolding water are just a few of the common dangers.
As much as we would love to cover everything in soft cushions, it’s impossible to live in a home designed solely for child safety. Modern bathrooms can consist of fancy luxury shower cabins, vanity units, tiles floors and hard wood furniture and are no longer a place to simply clean your teeth and get a wash. BUT with all that said we should still take all the steps necessary to ensure the little ones are as safe as they can be.
Here are the top 5 ways to keep the bathroom safe and secure for the little guys.
Always Supervise them while inside the Bathroom
Typically, children should be watched over until they reach the age of 6. They should not be left alone especially when they are in the bath. Likewise, they should not be left in the care of other children too. Young children are not fully aware of all the inherent dangers in the bathroom. They may not realize that their younger sibling may already be in danger until it is already late. It is alright to have the older children assist during bath time but they should never be left completely in charge. As such, be sure there is always an adult around to supervise. In the event that you really need to leave them unattended, you can either bring them with you or take them out of the bath temporarily.
Overreacting or not, it is definitely the cautious way to go. After all, kids can drown even in just an inch of water which is why we need to be all the more vigilant. Of course, leaving them unattended can be totally avoided if you’ve planned your day well. If it is part of their routine to take a bath before bed, so be it. However, if you have other commitments that overlap such as cooking dinner or watching your favorite television show, it might be time to reconsider the bath schedule. If you can get distracted during the child’s bath time, consider moving it earlier or later than usual so that you can give your full attention.
Remain Focused and Vigilant
It is important to always be observant whenever you have small children in the bathroom. There are various ways they can get hurt in the bathroom. These include but are not limited to scalding, drowning, medicine poisoning, slipping and many more. All these can be avoided by simply ensuring that an adult is always present and completely focused on the child. It won’t help to have an adult supervising but is completely engrossed in their mobile phone or tablet. It helps to keep distractions at bay before the bath proper.
This includes leaving your electronic devices at a safe distance and also ensuring that everything you need for the bath is close at hand. It is also worth noting that phone calls are said to be the top distraction to bath time. If you have a kid in the bath, it might be best to let the answering machine handle it. After all, you can always catch up once they’ve gone to sleep or are done with the bath.
Monitor the Water Carefully
Babies and toddlers are known to have rather sensitive skin. Hot water can easily scald them if you are not careful. Be sure you check the water temperature yourself before letting them in. It also helps to start by running cold water first and then adding hot water. Doing it this way, rather than the other way around, makes it easier to test if the temperature is suitable for use. Also, don’t forget to rub some cold water down the taps after mixing. This is to ensure that the taps are cooled down. You can, after all, get scalded from touching the taps too.
When checking the water level, use a thermometer whenever possible. The perfect water temperature for newborn infants is 36 degrees Celsius and 38 degrees for toddlers and up. If you have no option but to use your hands, keep in mind that it is wiser to use the elbow or wrist instead of the fingers. The skin on the fingers is a bit more delicate and is much more prone to scalding as compared to the skin on the wrist and elbows. Aside from the temperature, you should also check the water level. Deep baths, like the modern freestanding bath are absolutely unnecessary and could cause drowning. Children that can already sit up on their own will need water only up to their belly button level.
Also, it should be a practice that as soon as bath and playtime is over, the bath water should be emptied right away. Lastly, the monitoring of the water level shouldn’t only be limited to the bath. The toilet is also a force to be reckoned with. The lid should be closed at all times to keep infants from falling in. There are also toilet locks sold in the market which are perfect for families with kids that are very persistent.
When potty training, specialized seats should be used. These seats should have smaller openings such that the kid won’t accidentally fall in. Finally, be sure to always leave the door closed or locked so that your kids won’t accidentally enter and cause mishaps while you’re not watching.
Keep an Eye Out for Slip Ups
There is a reason why they don’t allow you to run in the vicinity of swimming pools. Slipping and tripping are really common occurrences that are easily prevented. The same also holds true for bathrooms. When inside, it helps to have a non-slip mat in place so that your child doesn’t slide around. For babies, there are also baby-sized baths and bath cradles available.
Slipping and sliding are common accidents incurred in the bathroom. Rubber bath mats are advised so as to provide better traction in the room. Kids will also need to be educated on how to behave properly in the bathroom. This means no roughhousing, running, jumping and playing of all sorts. They should also be taught to enter and exit the bath in a calm and cautious manner to avoid slipping. As much as possible, the floor should be dry at all times to minimize these types of accidents.
Restrict Access to Medicine and Sharp Objects
We keep a lot of personal grooming objects in our bathroom that may seem like everyday objects but are actually very dangerous. Some of these include razors, scissors, tweezers and the like. These items along with medicines should be kept in locked cabinets at all times. Also, it would help to label all medicine bottles so that if there is accidental ingestion, we’d know what was ingested and can seek help with complete information.
Eliminate Potential Hazards
Every bathroom will more or less come with the same risks and hazards. Drowning and burns are pretty common but there may also be some that are unique to your bathroom design. For example, there is an added risk if kids can reach the windows by standing on the toilet, bath or sink. These are red flags that you should be checking. Be sure those windows have grills on them so they can’t climb out. Likewise, prevent them from climbing altogether. They may slip when they climb down which can be dangerous.
Another venue to check is the medicine cabinet. Is it stocked with medicine? Is there a lock on it? If kids can reach it, they might ingest the things you keep there. Be sure they are properly labelled and the kids are explicitly told they are not sweets. It is really important to pre-empt these things to avoid accidental ingestion of supplements, drugs and other prescription items. Lastly, the bathroom should only have limited number of medicines. Bulk amount should be safely kept in the bedroom for obvious purposes.