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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How to Childproof the Bathroom

In 2002 the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission released statistical data showing that approximately 115 children each year, on average, drown as a result of hazards in the home. These deaths are unrelated to what’s considered the most major drowning hazard for small children, swimming pools; between 1996 and 1999, the Consumer Product Safety Commission received 459 reports of children drowning in bathtubs, spas, hot tubs, buckets and toilets. Taking the prevalence of water in bathrooms, and the presence of other serious hazards, it’s essential that parents take steps to childproof their bathrooms.
  • Install Toilet Lid Locks – Babies that are learning to pull themselves up with the aid of surrounding low surfaces and toddlers that are just beginning to walk are both a bit top-heavy, making it easy for them to tumble forward when they look down. When that stable surface is a toilet, and the water inside the bowl captures a little one’s attention, they can pitch forward and drown in the water before an adult is any wiser. Even if your little one doesn’t drown, he could contract any one of a handful of messy illnesses from the bacteria living in the water, so it’s best to install a toilet lid lock; for the record, adults can operate most models very easily.
  • Spring For Cabinet Latches – Latches designed to keep kids from accessing the contents of cabinets are effective against little ones, but not so impossible to operate that adults are stymied. These relatively cheap and effective measures can be installed easily, and provide parents with an extra measure of peace of mind.
  • Move Sharp Objects and Chemicals Upwards – While cabinet locks are a great way to deter babies and small children from rummaging in the bathroom cabinets, they’re not infallible. As with any other childproofing installations, they should be backed up with common-sense approaches like moving sharp objects, cleaning fluids, and other dangerous items upwards and out of the reach of questing little hands.
  • Keep Styling Appliances and Other Electrical Items Out of Reach – Hairdryers, curling irons and other electrical items can be dangerous on more than one level; in addition to the electrocution risk that they can present if dropped into standing water, many also generate enough heat to severely burn kids’ delicate skin.
  • Treat Medications Like Poison – Both prescription and over-the-counter medications can be lethal to children, who may confuse the brightly colored pills for candy and accidentally overdose. In order to prevent such tragedies, parents should treat all medications as the potentially poisonous substances that they are, securing them in a container that’s kept well out of kids’ reach.
  • Adjust Your Water Heater Temperature Settings – The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that hot water heater temperature settings be kept at or below 120° to prevent painful and potentially severe scalds. Should a child manage to access the bathroom and turn on the hot water, the likelihood of him being injured is greatly reduced if the water heater settings are at the appropriate level.
  • Install Non-Skid Pads in Bathtubs – Even adults can sustain nasty injuries from falls stemming from the combination of slippery bathtub surfaces and water. Because small children are considerably less steady on their feet, it’s wise to apply non-skid pads or appliques to the floor of tubs and showers.
  • Hook and Eye Locks On the Outside of Bathroom Doors – Because bathrooms can be among the trickiest rooms in the home to completely secure, a hook and eye lock installed well out of kids’ reach on the outside of the door can be a smart supplemental security move. By ensuring that kids never access the bathroom without the help of an adult, parents can almost eliminate the possibility of an unsupervised child sustaining either a minor or major injury as a result of dangers in the bathroom.
While safety measures and childproofing methods are an essential part of helping to keep your children safe in their home, there is absolutely no substitute for supervision. Never leave a child unattended in the bathroom, especially in the bathtub, for any length of time whatsoever. A young child can drown in the bathtub in the blink of an eye, so be sure to take him out of the tub and carry him with you if the telephone or doorbell rings.
 P.S. This post was  proposed to me for publication by Lynda Albertson.  I'm therefore publishing it by her invitation and under her permission. See also the link below fore more information:

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