How to Child Proof Your Bathrooms
When a child goes from a sweet little baby who doesn't go anywhere to a mobile, curious toddler, your house suddenly looks like a pretty scary place! Everything that looked safe before now is a potential hazard to this newly active little person.
Although childproofing is necessary throughout your home, the bathroom is one of the most dangerous places for children. Follow these guidelines for making your bathroom safe for all.
Cabinets and Vanities
Bathroom cabinets and vanities are homes to many hazards for children. Take one look inside and you'll see that nearly everything there is dangerous! For that reason, you'll need to install childproof locks or latches on ALL cabinet doors and drawers so that children can't get into them at all.
Many people think the latches are enough to keep children out, but that's not completely true. Even with a latch, a cabinet door or a drawer can open at least an inch. It has to open that far, or else adults wouldn't be able to disengage the latch. You would be amazed at how much a child can reach or pull out through that inch! For this reason, you should push everything in your bathroom cabinets or drawers back several inches from the front, so they can't be touched or pulled through that small opening.
All small appliances such as hair dryers, curling irons, etc., should also be stored in latched cabinets. Make sure they are cool before putting them away, to avoid a fire hazard. It is best to keep children out of a bathroom when these items are out or in use.
Sinks and Countertops
What's on your bathroom counter top? Make-up? Hairspray? Soap? Toddlers have the ingenuity and fearlessness to find ways to access sinks and counter tops. To keep sinks and counter tops free of hazards, follow these rules:
- Put most items into drawers and cabinets. This includes make-up and other beauty items, and any other chemicals or items that could be poisonous.
- Make sure all medications (prescription or over the counter) are stored in childproof bottles and in high places such as medicine cabinets. If you have medicines that are not in childproof bottles, ask for some at your local pharmacy.
- Anything that could be a choking hazards should be put away. A choking hazard is anything smaller than a quarter.
- Also put away any implements, such as tweezers, that could injure a child if used in the wrong way.
- Be sure to turn off the faucet completely each time you use it. The tighter it is, the less likely a child can turn it on. The same goes for showers and bathtubs!
Childproofing Toilets and Tubs: Watch Out for Water!
When we think of childproofing, we often think of keeping choking hazards or poisons out of reach. But in the bathroom, drowning and scalding are also serious risks.
Many hardware or baby supply stores sell toilet locks which hold the lid of a toilet in place and prevent children from opening the toilet. Because they see adults and older children using the toilet, and it is within reach, small children find it a fascinating way to access water. It only takes a small amount of water for a child to drown, so keep your toilet lid closed and locked.
The bathtub is another potential hazard for drowning, scalding, or slipping. Place nonskid strips on your bathtub floor to prevent slipping when a child is in the tub. Also, consider adding a faucet cover to protect children from bumping their heads. Finally, to prevent the water from getting too hot, consider lowering the temperature on your water header to 120 degrees or lower.
Excellent Advice on Childproofing Toilets and Bathtubs
Additional Bathroom Childproofing
Besides the cabinets and counter tops, there are other hazards in a bathroom. For example, it pays to limit a child's access to the bathroom altogether. You can do this by installing childproof doorknob covers and keeping the bathroom door closed so that children can't enter the room on their own. Of course, this only works until the child starts potty training!
Linen closets can should also have childproof doorknob covers. If your closet has a folding door and cannot support a doorknob cover, move all cleaners and other hazards to the top shelf. Safe items such as towels should be the only items stored on the bottom shelves.
When you are in the bathroom, make sure to clean up any spills quickly and completely, so a child won't slip and fall on a wet floor.
Childproofing Tips: Test Often!
Test your childproofing every couple of months to make sure everything is functioning properly. Here are some tips:
- Get down on your hands and knees to look at a room from a child's perspective. If you see anything that could be a hazard, fix it.
- Try to open cabinets and drawers and see if the latches work. Over time, screws on often-used latches can become loose.
- Make sure childproof doorknob covers are in place and secure. These can pop off from frequent use.
- Replace all outlet covers that are not in place.
No matter how much you childproof a bathroom, there will always be potential hazards. Make sure an adult is present any time a child is in a bathroom. Keep a watchful eye on children at all times, and anticipate their moves. Supervision is the most important factor in keeping children safe.