by Lodovica Trevisan
Your baby loves splashing. Your toddler stands on a stool at the bathroom sink, filling containers and dumping them. Your preschooler treats the tub like a private swimming pool.
Little kids find water fascinating. Can you think of a more convenient place in your house to discover this intriguing play thing than in the bathroom?
Once your baby becomes mobile, a whole new world opens for exploration, including the one beyond the bathroom door. Here's how you can create a safe bathroom for your younger kids.
Bathrooms mean bath-time fun. They also contain hidden dangers for small kids. All this time you thought the reason to keep the bathroom door closed was to prevent toilet paper decorations streaming down the hall!
Drowning is a silent death. Small kids can drown in less than a minute and in an inch of water. Always supervise your child in the tub. If you need to get a towel out of the dryer or answer the phone in another room, bring your little one with you. Bath seats and bath rings can come loose, so don't rely on them to keep your child safe.
The bathtub isn't the only drowning hazard in the bathroom. Small kids are top heavy. They can lean into the toilet and get stuck, unable to stand upright again. Keep the lid closed and secured with childproof safety devices. As inconvenient as they may be, better to be safe. If you have a wet bucket for dirty diapers, you might want to consider moving it to another room and out of reach.
A baby's skin is thinner than an adult's, so double check the bathwater before putting your child in the tub. The water should be about 100° F or 37° C. Color changing tub toys or a thermometer can let you know if the water's too warm. If you don't have those, you can test the temperature by placing your elbow or forearm in the water. It should feel "just warm" to you.
Keep your hot water temperature set at below 120° F or install an anti-scald valve to prevent the water going above that temperature.
Hot faucets can injure kids, too. Covering the spout can prevent burns and curtail injuries if your child slips and falls against the faucet.
Many popular flooring styles like granite and tile are slick when wet. It's best to clean up spills right away when possible. Use rubber backed bath mats around splash areas like the sink or tub to prevent slipping.
Kids are going to slip and fall in the tub. You can offer interesting toys to decrease the interest in standing during a bath and use non-skid mats or strips to prevent falls in a slick bathtub.
Some bathroom furniture is built for kids. The sink is lower to the floor and the toilet is shorter. Most families don't have the luxury of a child-sized bathroom. To help your child get in and out of the tub, reach the sink to wash up and access the toilet, use a sturdy, slip-proof stool.
Shaving's probably part of your regular bath time routine. Your child might have watched you intently. Next time you look away, your imitating toddler might try to remove the hair from a leg and remove skin instead.
Razors aren't the only dangerous "big people" things in your bathroom. Hair dryers, radios and other electrical appliances need to be unplugged and put away after use in a secure location.
Kids will drink or pour mouth washes, shampoos, conditioners and other products they find laying around. Some burn eyes or skin; others can be poisonous. Keep them on a high shelf.
You can decrease a child's interest in your bathroom things by providing their very own drawer of kid-friendly toys and "stuff." We suggest changing the contents of the drawers every so often to keep boredom at bay.
Lock your medicine cabinet or store your medicines in another safe area. Even bathroom cleaning supplies can hurt an inquisitive toddler. It's best to move these products to a secured cabinet out of reach.