Our home is often our “safe space,” where we feel the most comfortable and at ease. Unfortunately, many areas in our home can also be dangerous, especially to young children. One of these potentially hazardous spaces is the bathroom.
Here are SEVEN different bathroom hazards for babies and children to watch out for:
Hazard #1: Leaving Children Unattended
Never leave your children unattended in the bath, regardless of the reason or length of time. According to Safewise.com, a disaster only takes a couple of inches of water and a few short seconds to strike, especially when parents or caretakers aren’t present. Young children and babies can slip or become submerged under the water and lose consciousness within mere minutes, causing them to drown if not saved in time.
To further reduce the risk of drowning, parents can bathe babies in the sink or hop into the shower with their young children (Source).
Hazard #2: Unrestricted & Unsupervised Bathroom Access
Beyond the bathtub, bathrooms are full of potential hazards, including open toilets, slippery floors, and toxic chemicals. Therefore, allowing unrestricted and unsupervised access can significantly increase the risk of bathroom-related injury or death. The Cleveland Clinic recommends leaving the door closed, installing locks, putting up baby gates, and adding child-proof latches to the toilet and cabinets as a way to prevent access.
Hazard #3: Slippery Surfaces & Excess Water
From tile or linoleum floors to the bathtub, slick surfaces in a bathroom can pose a serious risk when water is present. To prevent slips and falls, mop up any excess watch and install anti-slip strips or mats in the tub (Source). We also recommend laying down some non-slip bath mats where children will be walking around the tub and vanity area.
Hazard #4: Hot Water Burns
Young children’s skin is much more sensitive to temperature than adults’, which can result in accidental burns or scalding during a bath or hand-washing. Therefore, to reduce this risk, the Cleveland Clinic suggests lowering the maximum temperature on your water heater to under 120 degrees. They also recommend testing the water with your wrist or elbow first since those areas are less resistant to heat than our fingers (Source).
Additionally, Safewise.com recommends installing scald-guard faucets in both the tub and sink to help eliminate accidental burn risks.
Hazard #5: Uncovered Sharp Edges
Young children and babies often bump into things, making the sharp edges of tub faucets, drain openers, and vanity counter corners a major hazard. Bumping into these can lead to cuts, bruises, concussions, stitches, and many other injuries (Source). To counteract this risk, ensure to baby-proof any unforgiving corners with rubber or silicone bumpers or covers.
Hazard #6: Unsanitary Bath Toys & Choking Hazards
Though bath toys can add more fun to the bathtime experience, they can also cause sickness or injury to your children. Water-retaining bath toys are a breeding ground for bacteria and mold “if they aren’t completely drained and dried after each bath” (Source).
Moreover, small toys (or toys that can break apart into smaller pieces) can pose a choking risk, especially if the child is not being closely monitored. For example, non-toxic water beads – a popular bath toy – can cause choking and even intestinal blockages if they are accidentally swallowed (Source).
Hazard #7: Exposure to Toxic Chemicals
Keeping your bathroom is an essential part of keeping your family healthy. However, highly toxic cleaning agents, such as bleach and toilet bowl cleaner, must be locked up tight and out of reach to prevent accidental ingestion or exposure by curious children. If cleaners cannot be securely tucked away under the bathroom sink using child-proof latches or other means, they need to be moved to a more secure location in the home.