Safety Tips for the Bathroom … For Little Kids … (and Big Kids, too) …

Safety Tips for the Bathroom 002

Hazards exist all around the home and the bathroom can potentially be one of the most dangerous rooms in the house.  However, with a bit of care and some commonsense precautions, most dangers can be eliminated or significantly reduced.  Here is a list of the things I tried to do when my girls were littlies to help keep them safe in the bathroom:

  • NEVER leave a small child unattended in the bath.  It didn’t matter if the phone rang or someone knocked on the door, I was never tempted to leave the girls alone in the bath.  Accidents can happen in a split second and the risk of injury or drowning is just too high.
  • Keep bathroom floors dry.  Water and small puddles were a real problem when my kids were little.  They did try to be careful and not splash too much but hey, they were kids, and this was just another lesson for them to learn.  I used to check the bathroom floor regularly, especially after hand washing, teeth brushing or bath time.
  • Don’t allow running in the bathroom.  Okay, so the bathroom isn’t the biggest room in the house, but little ones can get excited and jump about.  I used to explain the dangers of slipping and encouraged the kids not to run in the bathroom.
  • Buy non-slip bath mats.  Even adults can slip on a bath mat that sits loosely on the tiles, so the whole family will benefit from bath mats that are rubber-backed or have some other non-slip properties.  A non-slip or rubber-backed bath mat will be more stable for a child whose balance isn’t yet fully developed.
  •  Don’t store medications and vitamins in the bathroom.  Once kids are older this shouldn’t be a problem but when my kids were very young I always stored my first aid kit and medications in a high cupboard well out of reach of little hands.  I also kept all medications (regardless of whether they were prescriptions or bought over the counter) in their original bottles and packaging.  This prevented mistakes from being made.  All medications should have child-proof caps but still be aware that a determined child might surprise you with their ability to open such items.
  • Don’t store cleaning products in the bathrooms.  My girls are now teenagers and young adults, so I have a cleaning kit in my bathroom but when they were much younger I never kept these products in the bathroom cupboards.  Small children can’t tell that a brightly-coloured bottle of cleaner, bleach or disinfectant is dangerous.  They just see the endless possibilities of hours of play that these liquids offer and the fun that they will have, so we have to take those precautions for them.
  • Lock all bathroom and toilet doors, if possible.  Young children are curious by nature so a well-placed lock, high on the door, reduces the risk of littlies drowning in toilets or baths or getting up to other mischief with your expensive perfumes and cosmetics.
  • Always empty the bath.  If a bath isn’t being used, always drain the water.  Children can drown in as little as one inch of water.  Buckets should also always be emptied.
  • Teach the kids to sit and never stand in the bath.  I always made sure the girls had plenty of toys when they were in the bath.  Apart from having heaps of fun, the toys encouraged them to stay seated.  I also had those non-slip decals stuck to the bottom of the bath to help prevent slips and falls.
  • Keep all sharp objects out of reach.  Kids love to explore and experiment as that’s how they learn but there are plenty of objects in the bathroom that can cause injury and harm.  I always kept things like tweezers, manicure scissors, metal nail files, razors and any other sharp objects in a storage box in the top of the wardrobe away from curious little fingers.
  • Install adequate lighting.  This is not an issue during the day but at night (particularly after everyone has gone to bed) it’s worth thinking about a night-light or something similar to both guide the way to the bathroom and to light the bathroom so no-one slips, trips or falls.
  • Check the water temperature and beware hot taps.  Burns can happen so easily in the bathroom.  We got our electrician to reduce the temperature of the hot water system and we kept the spout covered with a fun rubber character.  From memory it was a little elephant and the tap water came out through his trunk.  The kids loved him and it was great fun but my real motivation was making sure they didn’t get burnt.  I used to run the cold-water tap first and then add the hot water to get the right temperature and I also used to sit the girls at the far end of the bathtub away from the taps.
  • Make sure the bathroom is well ventilated.  Bathrooms can get very hot, particularly in the summer months.  Turning on a ceiling exhaust fan and keeping the window open (as long as it’s safe to do so) will prevent overheating, prevent mould and will keep lovely, fresh air circulating.
  • Store and use all bathroom electrical appliances safely.  Items like hairdryers, hair straighteners, curling wands and electric razors are common in most bathrooms but extreme care needs be taken when these items are in use.  Electrocution can happen if any of these items come into contact with, or fall into water, so be extremely vigilant and careful.  I always tried to have these items unplugged when the kids were in the bathroom and I always stored these in another room.
  • Don’t leave power points exposed.  I used to put safety plugs into all power points (not just the ones in the bathroom) to prevent the kids from poking something inside.  It’s an especially good idea in the bathroom though due to the presence of water.
  • Move slowly and with care.  Wherever there is water and slippery surfaces, you need to be very careful.  Try not to get distracted and always be mindful of your movements to prevent you or others from slipping and falling.

While most of these tips and ideas are fairly common sense, don’t ever underestimate what a dangerous place the bathroom can be, particularly for babies, toddlers and small children.  Be careful, be alert, stay safe!

Do your little ones enjoy bath time?

Comments

  1. I remember seeing this woman who became paraplegic because she was rushing around in the morning and she slipped and fell in her bathroom on the floor. Ever since then I’ve been paranoid about having water on the tiles!

    • Sandie says:

      That’s such a sad story, Lorraine but it certainly highlights how easily these things can happen and just how careful we need to be.

  2. When my Archie was 15 months old he slipped in the shower and split his head open. Yes, bathrooms are dangerous places. I don’t have to be as vigilant as I used to be as my kids are older now, but I do try to make sure water isn’t on the floor xx

    • Sandie says:

      Water and slippery tiles definitely don’t mix. We’ve had our share of “near misses” over the years but fortunately no injuries!

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