There’s no question having children around changes the way you look at things – suddenly you see dangers for their curious little hands everywhere! Some of them might not be as obvious as others, but the bathroom is one of those places where there are many potential hazards that you may want to focus your attention.
Medicine, toiletries and vitamins
We take our daily grooming tools for granted and like to have them easily at hand – but they absolutely must be kept in a high cabinet with sturdy child locks for the sake of safety.
- Razors, scissors, nail clippers, tweezers and the like should never be lying out around the sink or stored in drawers or cabinets underneath.
- All cosmetics should be placed well out of the reach of children.
- Mouthwash contains more alcohol than wine – keep it away from children.
- Medications – including prescription drugs (even those with safety caps), antacids, and over-the-counter pain relievers – should all be placed securely out of reach.
- Vitamins and other supplements should also be stored securely out of reach; high levels of iron are poisonous for young children, and other supplements can pose hazards as well.
Trash isn’t treasure
A trash bin is very accessible and can seem like a treasure trove to curious little explorers.
- Keep it behind a child-locked cabinet or secured with a child-proof lid.
- If you have an open garbage can, be extremely vigilant about what you throw away (even Q-tips can be a choking hazard).
Hair product dangers
Styling your hair requires the right equipment and over time we can garner a pretty impressive collection of blow-dryers, curling irons, flat irons, hot brushes, heated rollers, spinners, volumizers, ionizers, etc. Just remember they all have something in common – heat generated by electricity.
- To prevent burns, always unplug any hair treatment appliance and put it away – that may mean investing in heat-resistant covers and wraps if you need to unplug and stow on the go.
- Don’t keep anything plugged in near a water source like the sink or bath since water conducts electricity (make sure all your bathroom outlets are protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI).
Don’t flush that down the toilet
Speaking of water, the toilet seems to be a source of endless fascination for pets and children, and therefore poses a potential hazard for both.
- Babies are curious, uncoordinated, and top heavy – and this can result in an unexpected topple head first into the water below, which doesn’t need to be more than one-inch deep to have some terrible consequences.
- If you have a child with particularly insistent curiosity, you might need to install a toilet lid lock. Again – not always convenient for adults, but certainly a safeguard against a potentially-dangerous alternative.
It should go without saying, but it bears repeating — never, take your eyes off a child in the tub. Not even for a moment.
- Water temperature is also important. It’s a good idea to set your hot water heater no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Less heat in your water reduces the chance of an accidental scalding; at 148°F it only takes 2 seconds to get a serious burn. If you’re not sure how to set your water heater, a local plumber can help. Or if you live in an apartment or don’t have a separate water heater, you can purchase an anti-scalding device at any hardware store.
- Attach a soft plastic or rubber guard to protect little heads from bumping into the spout.
- Line the tub bottom with a non-slip rubber mat.
- Place a non-slip bath mat on the floor next to the tub.
Above all, a child proof door knob cover is a great way to keep little ones from making an unsupervised visit to the bathroom. If some adults find these tools a little too effective (frustrating to use), a hook-and-eye lock on the outside of the door out of reach is another option that’s pretty mechanically straightforward and easy to use.