Make baby's bath time safer

Sep 28, 2010 at 9:29 p.m. ET

Because everyone uses the bathroom so many times a day, it's easy to forget just how dangerous a place it can be -- especially for babies and young children. Get some tips here on how to make your loo a little bit safer for everyone!

Baby in bathtub

According to the National Safety Council, more than 80 percent of home accidents occur in the bathroom, and safety experts consider the family bathroom to be the "most dangerous room in the house."

Curious kids

Children tend to explore under bathroom sinks and in bathroom storage areas. Everything from household cleaning products to make-up and hygiene products can be swallowed or eaten. Tile floors, bathtubs and toilets can all be slippery when wet and cause climbing hazards.

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"Children can become very ill or injured if they come in contact with many items found in most bathrooms, such as medications, cleaners, cosmetic products such as lotions, creams and moisturizers, make-up products and electrical appliances," says Dr Mick Connors, emergency medical physician at East Tennessee Children's Hospital.

"This can happen to children at any age and may cause serious reactions. The best solution is to look through your home and be aware of the most common items that might poison or harm children in the bathroom and the entire home."

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Preventing bathroom injuries

The following tips can be used in the prevention of bathroom injuries:

  1. Set temperature of your water heater to no higher than 120 degrees F to prevent your child from being scalded in the tub or the sink.
  2. Never leave a young child alone in the bathtub, as a child can drown in as little as one or two inches of water. If you are interrupted while bathing your child, wrap your little one in a towel and take himor her with you.
  3. Install nonslip strips or shapes on the bottom of your tub to prevent your child from slipping. Put a cushioned cover over the faucet so your child won't be hurt if he or she does slip and fall. These items are available at hardware and discount stores.
  4. Keep the toilet seat cover closed. A child playing in the water could fall in and drown. For added security, install a toilet seat lock (available online here, or at hardware and big box stores).
  5. Keep all adult toiletries (razors, cosmetics, mouthwash, perfume, etc.) out of reach of children and in cabinets with safety locks.
  6. Do not use electrical appliances, such as hair dryers, in the bathroom because of electric shock. If you must use such items in the bathroom, have special wall sockets (with GFCI -- ground fault circuit interrupters) installed that will minimize the risk of shock and unplug such appliances immediately after use.

"Parents can prevent their children from being harmed in the bathroom by rearranging items in cabinets, keeping things out of children's reach, and paying attention to wet floors and children in the bathtub," says Dr Connors. "It is not always easy to keep an eye on small children who are running and crawling around, so we need to protect them from getting into things or hurting themselves in the bathroom."

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