Creating a family bathroom that is stylish, functional and above all, safe for younger children to use, is all any parent would want. When designing a bathroom, it is always important to bear in mind the ages of those who will be using it; what may seem attractive and stylish to a parent might not be so practical for bathing children and conducting a school run. Likewise, what may be suitable for the children might not contribute to the spa-like feeling that many people want their bathroom to have.
Tips for Designing your Child-Friendly Bathroom:
Avoiding Contact with Hot Water
The most dangerous thing for children to come into contact with in the bathroom is probably hot water. All taps and showers in child-friendly bathrooms should have thermostatic features to regulate the water temperature, or parents should be prepared to calibrate their water heater so that it does not reach scalding temperatures. This is very easily done, and can help prevent inquisitive children from receiving nasty injuries when it comes to hot taps. Installing mixer taps can also prevent this problem; if the cold tap is always turned on first, there is less of a risk of scalding from hot water.
Storage is a necessity in many bathrooms, but out-of-reach-for-children storage is even more important in a room that will be used by all the family. Many people keep medications, harsh cleaning products and other harmful substances in their bathroom cabinets, so it is important to have some sort of storage facility that is out of reach for storing things like razor blades and medication.
Fixtures & Fittings
This tip seems rather obvious, but it is vital to ensure that all features, especially things like wall-hung basins and toilets, are entirely secure when affixed to the wall. Children love to play circus performers and dangle off things when their parents aren’t looking, and the last thing any parent needs is for a badly-installed basin to come loose from the wall while their little one is playing.
Preventing Wet Floors
Wet floors are perilous in bathroom situations, so it is important to minimise splashing when in the bath, no matter how much they enjoy it! A corner bath can offer plenty of space and depth, whilst keeping the splash-zone minimised to one corner of the room. The water can then easily be mopped up with towels to prevent any slips or falls on wet tiles or laminated flooring. Shower baths are also a great solution; they often have glass enclosures that keep the splash to a minimum, and they provide two solutions in one place.
Lastly, the design of the bathroom itself should be considered wisely when attempting to cater to children’s tastes. Whilst it may be tempted to give into a child’s wishes and give the bathroom an underwater sea theme, complete with mermaids and pirates, it is important to consider what the children’s preferences will be in five or ten years’ time. Ensure that any added extras that are implemented for the sake of children are temporary, then when they are removed, the bathroom remains a stylish and functional haven for mum and dad.
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 child safety tips.
5 Child Safety Tips - Making a Safer 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 child safety tips will ensure that bath time remains a fun time!
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