January is Bath Safety Month, and even if you think that your kids are too old to worry about drowning in the bath tub, there are some things that you may need to know. Most bathroom injuries have to do with slipping and falling, not drowning. No matter how old you (or your kids) are, here are some pointers to keep in mind when it comes to bathtub safety.
- Never, never leave your baby or toddler unattended in the tub. A young child can drown in the time it takes you to run and answer the phone or even grab a towel. Assemble all of the things you need for your child’s bath (toys, shampoo, soap, washcloth, towel) and if you need to leave the room even for a minute, scoop your baby up and take her with you. Don’t depend on a baby bath ring to keep your child safe; it’s not worth the risk.
- Turn down your hot water heater. Water over 120 degrees Fahrenheit can scald in just a few seconds. Either turn down the water heater or install a special valve that shuts off the water if it gets above a certain temperature. This is particularly important once your kids start showering on their own; they can easily hit the dial while soaping up and accidentally knock it onto a hotter setting.
- Check the water temperature before putting baby in. It’s best to check the water with your wrist or forearm instead of just your hands, which are usually more tolerant to heat than the average baby’s skin.
- Keep your razors up and out of the way. Curious little fingers can be sliced if the grab one of Mommy’s pretty razors off of the ledge. Before you bathe your child, make sure that your razor did not fall on the floor of the tub and that it’s on a high shelf or out of the area entirely.
- Watch your child to be sure he doesn’t dump the shampoo or bubble bath. Too much soap can make it very slippery. If he does knock it over, take him out and be sure to rinse the tub well before anyone else uses it.
- Make your small child sit while taking a bath. Standing up in a slippery tub can lead to falls and injuries. Put down textured decals on the inside of the tub to add some friction for bathers and showerers alike.
- Have a towel or bathmat out to step on. Stepping onto linoleum or tile with wet, soapy feet can lead to a nasty fall. Teach kids to dry off before walking off the mat and onto the tile to avoid injuries.
- Be sure to empty the tub after each use. That, along with keeping the toilet lid closed, can eliminate the chance that your little one will wander back into bathroom and drown.
- Discourage older kids from locking the bathroom door for as long as you can. At least if they slip and fall, you can get in quickly. Since kids in their pre-teens and beyond probably will resist leaving the door unlocked, consider keeping a key or a toothpick to pop the doorknob open in the hall closet or in another place nearby.
With the water, slippery soap and hard porcelain appliances, the bathroom can be one of the more dangerous rooms in the house. With a little bit of forethought and common sense, however, your child can enjoy safe baths and showers. Have you thought of any bathtub safety tips that I have missed?