January is National Bath Safety Month, and although you may be like me and thinking “I know what I’m doing” there is a lot of surprising data when it comes to children and accidents in the bathtub. An article in the August 2009 edition of Pediatrics Journal states:
“There were an estimated 791,200 bathtub- and shower-related injuries among children less than 18 years of age who were treated in US emergency departments in 1990–2007. The largest number of injuries involved children 2 years of age; children less than 4 years accounted for 54.3% of injuries. The most common diagnosis was laceration (59.5%). The most common mechanism of injury was a slip, trip, or fall, accounting for 81.0% of cases. The most frequently injured body part was the face (48.0%), followed by the head/neck (15.0%).”
Those are some scary statistics, and it opened my eyes to a whole world of hazards when it comes to children and bathtubs. So here are some tips on how to make your bathroom a safe place for your children.
1. NEVER leave a child unsupervised
I know it sounds basic, but even if you just want to quickly grab a toy for your little one, don’t leave them alone in the tub or anywhere that has water. All it takes is a few seconds for a something serious to happen. Stay by their side at all times.
2. Always empty the bathtub when you’re done
If you’re in a hurry to get the kids to bed, don’t forget to empty the tub. Toddlers are very curious and adventurous, so always make sure there’s no water in there for them to reach for after you’re done.
3. Buy preventative hardware
Given that so many parents go through the same scenarios (my daughter is desperately trying to stick her hand in the toilet water these days- just lovely) there are so many products on the market that will make your bathroom a safer place to be. Invest in a toilet lock, a faucet cover to stop any injuries should your child slip and hit the faucet, and a bath mat which will prevent slipping altogether.
4. Beware of Hot, Scalding Water
To prevent burns, the temperature of bath water can now be easily checked with Duckymeter, the cute and useful bath thermometer. It will show the temperature of the water, and the background will be blue if the water is too cold, red if it’s too hot, and green when it’s just right. Fun for your child, informative for you!
Try to distract your child away from turning on the hot water while in the tub to prevent injury.
5. Keep all adult items out of reach
Ensure that all your shampoos, conditioners, bars of soap and most importantly- razors and razor blades are safely hidden away in a cupboard or somewhere unreachable by your child.
6. Be cautious of bath “safety seats”
Bath safety seats, which allow a smaller baby to sit in a bathtub by floating in the seat, must be used with extreme caution. An article in the July 2010 issue of Pediatrics stated:
“The association of unsupervised bathtub drowning deaths with the use of bathtub seats and rings was recognized more than a decade ago.Three hazard scenarios have been noted: (1) seat tipping over from suction cup failure; (2) child becoming entrapped in leg openings that are too big; and (3) child climbing out of the seat. In response to reports of at least 27 deaths and 29 nonfatal incidents with bath seats from 2003 to 2005, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has released warnings about these products but has not banned them from the market.”
This brings us back to point 1. Nothing beats adult supervision at all times.