Bathing is a part of our daily routine. It’s not uncommon for us to forget to take proper precautions while we or our children are in the bathroom. This is also considered one of the most dangerous rooms in our home. January is National Bath Safety Month which makes it the perfect time to do what is needed to minimize the risk of injury and drowning in the bath.
An estimated 87 children die each year from drownings at home. Two-thirds of these incidents took place in the bath. Remember a drowning can occur in as little as two inches of water. These incidents can be prevented if you implement layers of protection at home.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following tips to help prevent incidents in the bath:
Children can drown in only a few inches of water, so never leave a young child alone in the bath, even for a moment. If you can’t ignore the doorbell or the phone, wrap your child in a towel and take him along when you go to answer them. Bath seats and rings are meant to be bathing aids and will not prevent drowning if the child is left unattended. Never leave water in the bathtub when it is not in use. It’s also important to have anything and everything you think you’ll need within arm’s reach before getting down to business.
Slips and falls:
Install no-slip strips on the bottom of the bathtub. Put a cushioned cover over the water faucet so your child won’t be hurt if he bumps his head against it. Get in the habit of closing the lid of the toilet, and get a toilet lid lock. A curious toddler who tries to play in the water can lose his balance and fall in.
To prevent scalding, adjust your water heater so the hottest temperature at the faucet is no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.9 degrees Celsius). Test the water with your wrist or elbow to check that it feels warm, not hot. When your child is old enough to turn the faucets, teach him to start the cold water before the hot.
Medicine and toiletry storage:
Keep all medicines in containers with safety caps. Remember, however, that these caps are child-resistant, not childproof, so store all medicines and cosmetics high and out of reach in a locked cabinet. Don’t keep toothpaste, soaps, shampoos, and other frequently used items in the same cabinet. Instead, store them in a hard-to-reach cabinet equipped with a safety latch or locks.
If you use electrical appliances in the bathroom, particularly hair dryers and razors, be sure to unplug them and store them in a cabinet with a safety lock when they aren’t in use. It is better to use them in another room where there is no water. An electrician can install special bathroom wall sockets (ground-fault circuit interrupters) that can lessen the likelihood of electrical injury when an appliance falls into the sink or bathwater.