Bath time can be a fun time for small children, but the bathroom can also be a dangerous place for curious little ones.
“The reason is that toddlers have no sense of fear; they have no judgment and they’re very top heavy,” says pediatrician Dr. Pilar Bradshaw. “Their heads are large, and therefore, they tend to have a high center of gravity, so it’s very easy for a toddler to fall headfirst into a bathtub with water in it or a toilet with an open lid.”
To help reduce the risk of accidents and injuries:
- Never leave water in the bathtub when it is not in use.
- Secure toilet seat lids with a safety latch or a lock.
- Install no-slip strips or decals on the bottom of the bathtub.
- Put a cushioned cover over the water faucet so your child won’t be hurt if they bump their head.
- To prevent scalding, adjust your water heater so the hottest temperature at the faucet is no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.9 degrees Celsius). Test the water with your wrist or elbow to check that it feels warm, not hot.
- Store all medicines, vitamins and cosmetics up high and out of reach in a cabinet equipped with a safety latch or lock.
“Also, be sure to unplug anything electrical including hair straighteners, hair dryers, curling irons and razors. Wrap the cords and put them away, out of sight of little eyes and hands,” Dr. Bradshaw says.
Supervision is key
Accidents can happen quickly and without warning so never leave a young child alone in the bathroom or in the bathtub, even for a moment. Before you draw your child’s bath, take time to make sure everything you need is within arm’s reach. A baby left unattended can slip under the water without crying or screaming or splashing around.
“If for any reason something comes up and you need to leave that bathroom, take your baby or toddler with you,” Dr. Bradshaw says. “If they are in the tub, take them out, dry them off and take them out of the room with you. Do not leave your child in the bathroom alone, even for a minute or two because that’s all the time it takes for a young child to drown.”
No product can replace adult supervision. Bath seats and rings are meant to help you in bathing your young child; however, they will not prevent drowning if your child is left unattended.
The simplest way to avoid bathroom injuries is to make this room inaccessible unless your young child is accompanied by an adult. This may mean installing a latch high up on the door that a young child can’t reach. Be sure any lock on the door can be unlocked from the outside, just in case children lock themselves in.