Bringing kids into the bathroom is an important way to help little people develop good (and necessary) hygiene habits to last a lifetime – but this tiny room can be a dangerous spot for a baby, if you’re not careful. To avoid any unpleasant bathroom mishaps, these tips will give you a head-start on baby-proofing this part of your house to make it as safe as possible for the whole family.
1. Supervision is always necessary.
Tubs and showers in the UK are especially dangerous spots for young children, so make sure they are never allowed into the bathroom unsupervised. The shower cabin should be closed when not in use, and never leave any water in the bathtub.
Even if you’re using a bath seat or a ring, it’s important that you don’t slip out of the room, even for a minute. Try to bring everything you’ll need with you into the bathroom before bathing the baby, or bathing yourself – and if you do need to pick up the phone or answer the door, wrap the little one in a towel and bring him with you.
2. Protect against slips.
No-slips strips should be installed at the bottom of your shower cabin or bathtub, and use a bathmat with grips so it doesn’t slide around on the floor. Keep the toilet lid secured shut, and covered with a soft pad. There are also covers you can purchase to slide over faucets as well, so kids will be a little better protected in case of a fall.
3. Check your water temperature.
Use your wrist to test the temperature of the water before you put the baby in the sink or tub – it should feel warm, not hot. Always turn the cold water on before the hot, so your child learns to do it for himself in a safe way.
If you can, adjust your water heater so that the flow of hot water should be no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, or 48.9 degrees Celsius.
4. Secure your storage.
Medicines, cleaning supplies, and other bathroom items that could cause harm in the hands of children should be kept far out of reach – not in the cupboard under the sink or in the cabinet. Your cosmetics and other toiletries should also be hard to get at, so use latches or locks to protect them from inquisitive little ones.
5. Eliminate appliances.
Anything electric or plugs into the wall should be kept outside of the bathroom. The risk of injury using these appliances near water is great, so it’s a better idea to try and use them in another room whenever possible. If there is no other storage space available, keep them unplugged and in a drawers or cupboard with a safety lock – and only bring them out after draining the sink or the bathtub.
6. Keep toys out of the bathroom.
Bath time is a lot more fun with toys, but these should be kept in the baby’s room. With bathroom space at a premium, it’s all too likely that toys will wind up underfoot – causing children and even parents to stumble and fall. Instead, dry the toys after each use and store them somewhere more appropriate.
Also, ensure that the toys don’t have any loose, moveable parts. These can easily become detached in the water, and it only takes a second for a child to put small pieces in their mouth and start choking.
7. Evaluate potential issues.
Things like shelves, towel bars, and other hangers can be tempting to pull or climb on once a baby gets old enough to crawl around – and can lead to some very dangerous situations. Check over your room and see what questionable hazards could cause future concerns and address them before problems start.
You might need to relocate your bathroom wastebasket to a spot under the sink, or move towel bars higher up on the wall so that small hands can’t reach them.
While these small changes will make a big difference in keeping your bathroom safe for kids, it’s never a bad idea to take a first aid course and give yourself the right tools to deal with whatever situation might come up.