Bathroom Safety for Young Children
Creating a bathroom that's safe for young children doesn't require extensive planning or intensive renovations. All it takes is a few simple precautions to prevent potentially dangerous accidents like
It doesn't matter how safe you make your bathroom renovations, when you have little children it's crucial to supervise them at all times. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a small child only needs a couple of inches to drown. That's why it's so important to make sure you never leave a small child alone in the bathtub, even for a few minutes. Keep the phone close by and the towel within reach so you can be there for your child.
Depending on the age of your child, you may want to create rules for safety. You may want to restrict the time your child spends in the bathroom to only when you're there to supervise. Use child-proof doorknob covers to make it harder for children to enter the bathroom unsupervised. Child-proof doorknob covers are not attractive from a design perspective, but they're very effective. They require the entire knob to be squeezed while turning the knob in order for the door to open.
Even if you add special slip proof decals to the bottom of your bathtub, you should encourage your children to remain seated during bath time.
Reduce Burn Risks
Next to drowning, one of the greatest risks to a small child is getting burned from too hot water, especially in the bathtub. It can take only a few seconds for water temperatures to reach 150 to 160 degrees F which can cause a blistering second degree burn. Even a temperature of 133 degrees F can cause a serious burn in just 15 seconds.
The US Library of Medicine recommends that the hot water thermostat is set at 120 degrees F for safety. But sometimes this isn't good enough. It's possible for water in different sections of the hot water tank to vary by as many as 30 degrees.
You can further reduce the chance of water burns by installing anti-scald devices on the faucets in the bathtub and even the sink faucets. They'll prevent the water from reaching a dangerous enough temperature to burn.
Some renovation experts suggest that specialized thermostatically controlled valves be installed. But most people use the pressure balance type since they're easier to install. They're both acceptable according to plumbing codes in most areas.
The pressure balance type works by sensing pressure differences in the cold and hot water pipes. They can be ineffective because the high temperature limit stop but it's based on the temperature of the hot water leaving the tank. For safety, it's worth it to spend the extra money and buy anti-scald valves that allow you to adjust pressure and temperature differences at the same time. These valves can't be readjusted unless they're turned completely off.
Locking Up Dangers
Anything that a child could hurt themselves with playing should be stored in a locked medicine cabinet or bathroom vanity. Make sure you lock up other dangers like curling irons, hair dryers and any type of razor. If you must store medications in the bathroom, make sure you purchase a cabinet that locks. It's better to store medications on a high shelf in your kitchen if you're able to do that.
Install a lid lock on the toilet seat if you're unable to prevent your child from entering the bathroom unsupervised. Faucet locks are also available for installation on bathtub faucets.
If you're considering any electrical renovations, the American Academy of Pediatricians suggests installing ground-fault circuit interrupters in the sockets. Building codes in some area require that all new outlets in the bathroom have this feature. They provide an additional safety back-up in case you forget to unplug an electrical device. The circuit interrupter stops or reduces the amount of electricity released.