Updated: Jan 3, 2020
Guest post written by Amanda Henderson of safechildren.info
It’s well-known that the bathroom is a dangerous place for seniors prone to slip-and-fall accidents, but fewer people realize just how risky this room can be for kids. From slick surfaces to toxic cleaning supplies, the bathroom is full of hazards for babies and young children. As exciting as it is for children to gain potty
independence, failing to adequately childproof your bathroom could cause more grief than potty training solves.
If you want to keep your kids safe in the bathroom, these are the steps you need to take.
Protect Against Falls
Water and hard surfaces are a slippery combination. Place a non-slip mat in the shower or tub and non-skid mats near the tub, sink, toilet, and other places with the potential to get wet. Parents should also cushion bathtub faucets and edges so that if their little one does fall, they don’t hit their head on a hard surface. You can buy spout covers and tub guards designed specifically for childproofing, but towels and washcloths also work in a pinch.
Always Supervise Bathtime
Just because water is contained in the tub doesn’t make it safe. Children can drown in as little as an inch or two of water, so never leave babies and children under the age of 5 unsupervised in the bathtub and drain the tub as soon as you’re finished using it.
Lower the Water Heater Temperature
It doesn’t take extreme temperatures to scald a baby’s delicate skin. To prevent painful scald burns and the long-term scarring they can cause, turn your water heater’s maximum temperature down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If your water heater doesn’t allow you to adjust the temperature, install anti-scald devices on the sink and bathtub faucets.
Install a Standard-Height Toilet
Many modern homes come equipped with comfort height toilets, also known as universal height. However, while these 17 to 19 inch high toilets are great for seniors and people with disabilities, they’re too tall for children to use safely even with a stool. Replace the toilet in your child’s bathroom with a standard height toilet for easier access. These models are 14 to 15 inches from the ground providing ease of use for both children and adults. Depending on whether you’d prefer a round or elongated toilet bowl, you’ll pay between $218 to $523 to install a new toilet, a small price for the peace of mind of knowing your child won’t tumble from an extra-tall seat.
Add a Toilet Seat Reducer
Getting onto the toilet isn’t the only challenge for small children. If your little one is afraid of falling into the toilet, install a toilet seat reducer to make potty training less intimidating. A toilet seat reducer is much more manageable than a separate potty chair, especially if you’re short on space, and some styles even come with built-in steps for easy access to the toilet.
And a Toilet Seat Lock
Potty training aids are great when you’re teaching your tot how to use the toilet, but what about when your priority is keeping curious kids out? An open toilet seat is not only an invitation for toys, phones, and tiny hands to end up submerged in water, it’s also a drowning hazard. Luckily, there’s a cheap solution: a toilet seat lock. With options under $10, this is a much better solution than hoping your toddler doesn’t figure out how to open the bathroom door.
Lock the Cabinets Too
If you store cleaning supplies, medications, or cosmetics where your child can access them, either move them out of reach or install child-proof cabinet locks to prevent accidental poisoning. It’s also a good idea to plug the number for the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) into your phone just in case.
No amount of precaution is too much when it comes to keeping little ones safe in the bathroom. Whether you’re starting out on your potty training journey or still a year or two away, make sure your bathroom is designed with your child’s safety in mind.