January is National Bath Safety Month, which also makes it a great time to talk about the bathroom altogether, since it’s a hub of activity for families with small children. Whether it’s splash-time or a potty-training session, these are some safety tips to keep your little one out of harm’s way.
First things first, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children 4 and under always have a parent or caregiver present when they are near water, including the tub. Accidents can happen in an instant.
Prevent slips. Young children do not have the coordination or strength to hold steady if they lose their balance. Affix a slip-resistant plastic mat that suctions to the bottom of the tub and make sure the throw rug outside the tub does not slide when stepped on. You can also consider installing a grab bar for kids to hold onto when stepping in and out of the bath.
Test the temperature. Always wait until the tub is finished filling up before placing your child in the water, as the temperature can change. You can set your home’s water heater to deliver water no hotter than 120 degrees to lower the risk of scalding. If you don’t have control over the heater, buy an anti-scald device that attaches to the faucet.
Beware of sharp edges. We recommend using a rubber cover for the faucet head. You can also drape a towel over metal rails for shower doors when your child is in the bath. Make sure any glass shower doors are made of shatterproof glass. You should also avoid bath toys with hard edges or points that could be hazardous if your child falls onto them.
Get organized. Keep a basket with all the bath essentials near the tub. You can line up your supplies beforehand so you won’t need to leave the room.
Install a toilet lid lock. Get your family into the habit of keeping all toilet seat lids down and locked.
Medicine and toiletry storage. Keep all medicines in containers with safety caps. Remember, however, that these caps are child-resistant, not childproof, so store all medicines and cosmetics high and out of reach in a locked cabinet. Don’t keep toothpaste, soaps, shampoos, and other frequently used items in the same cabinet. Instead, store them in a hard-to-reach cabinet equipped with a safety latch or locks.
Electric appliances. If you use electrical appliances in the bathroom, like hair dryers and razors, be sure to unplug them and store them in a cabinet with a safety lock when they aren’t in use. It is better to use them in another room where there is no water.
Keep the Bathroom Door Closed. Use safety latches or doorknob covers to keep bathrooms closed when they’re not in use.
Remove the Bath Tub Drain Plug. Consider removing the bath tub drain plug when it’s not in use to avoid the tub filling if a child turns on the faucet.