One of the great joys of having small children is the fun they have in the bath and most families view a decent bath as a vital part of your bathroom suite. No matter how tough the day has been, you can usually rely on bath time to be full of joy as they splash about exploring the water. Keep this happy time safe for your children by being vigilant at all times, and make sure they carry on having fun at bath time till they are old enough to get on with the business of getting clean themselves by following these 5 tips for keeping your children safe in the bathroom.
5 Tips to Improve Children’s Safety in the Bathroom
1. Always Supervise your Children in the Bathroom!
Children under the age of 6 really do need adult supervision in the bathroom, and not just when they are in the bath. Older children may not always appreciate the dangers inherent in bath time, or may not recognise that a baby is in trouble until it’s too late, so make sure you or another adult is always present. If you have to leave the bathroom, get your child out of the bath and take them with you. It’s horrifying but a child can drown in as little as an inch of water so it’s really not worth taking the risk of leaving them unsupervised.
By all means get older children involved helping with bath time, but don’t leave them in charge. Although it’s a great part of the bed time routine for a small baby or child, to get them relaxed before bed, if this is the wrong time of day for you to be able to give your child your full attention – for example you need to be cooking dinner for the rest of the family – consider changing bath time to earlier in the day. And remember that a bit of dirt never hurt anyone. If you don’t think you are going to be able to offer the appropriate supervision, it won’t hurt to use soap and a flannel to give your child a good wipe over every once in a while instead of a full bath.
2. Be Vigilant!
The key to bathroom safety when you have small children is to be vigilant at all times. The major accidents that can occur in bathrooms – drowning, scalding, poisoning from medicine – can all be avoided as long as you make sure you or another adult is present to keep focussed on the children while they are in the bath. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted, so make sure you have everything ready before the bath so you don’t have to nip off and get something, and let the phone ring to answer machine – you can catch up on your messages once the kids are in bed.
3. Keep an Eye on the Water
As babies and small children have very sensitive skin, they can scald very quickly if the water is too hot. Always check that the water is at the right temperature yourself before plunging your child in. Run cold water first, then add the hot, swirling the water together to achieve the right temperature. You might also want to have a final run of cold water to cool down the taps – scalding can occur when you touch the hot tap as well as from coming into contact with hot water itself. Use your wrist or elbow to make sure the water is comfortably warm – or better still use a thermometer to check that it’s 36 degrees celsius for a new born, no more than 38 degrees celsius for older children. Prevent drowning by making sure you don’t run deep baths for your children. A child that can sit up on his or her own doesn’t need more than ‘belly button depth’ of water. Once your child is clean and playtime is over, make sure you empty out the bath water straight away.
Another potential water hazard you might not have appreciated is the toilet. Keep the lid closed to prevent a curious toddler falling in – if you have a child with a persistent fascination with the loo, consider investing in a lock for the loo seat. When potty training, use a special seat which creates a more appropriate-sized hole for a child’s bottom. It’s a good idea to keep the bathroom door closed (and locked if possible) to stop small children going in when you’re not around and getting into trouble.
4. Watch Out for Slip Ups!
Just as you should never run in a swimming pool, the risk of slipping and tripping is one to avoid in the bathroom – both in and out of the bath. Use a non-slip mat in the bath to keep your child from sliding around, or for small babies, use one of the many ‘bath cradles’, or simply a small baby-sized bath initially – that will keep your child in one place and reduce the chances of drowning, or a child banging their head. If you can encourage your child to sit still and play with his or her toys that way, so much the better. Try and keep the floor as dry as possible (a tall order when splashing is so much fun) and make sure that mats placed by the bath are non-slip, and dry off children’s feet as soon as they get out of the bath. It’s also worth having a no running in the bathroom rule.
5. Keep Sharp Objects and Medicines Locked Away!
Bathrooms are actually full of potentially dangerous objects – razors, tweezers scissors, medicines – and your child may not understand not to touch. Medicines in original bottles should have childproof caps on but even so, they should be kept in a locked cabinet out of reach of children, along with tablets and medicines bought over the counter. Sharp objects which could cause injury should also be kept out of reach of children, as should cleaning products. Keep any electrical items such as razors, hair curlers and the like unplugged and out of reach during bath time to avoid accidental electrocution.
Following our handy tips will ensure that bath time remains a fun time!