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How to childproof your bathroom

April 01, 2015

Previously, we shared some ideas about . Today, we’ll continue by talking about another one of the most troublesome areas in your home: the bathroom. It’s no secret that toddlers love the bathroom, and that one tiny room holds the potential for a whole lot of disaster.

Before we get into the specifics of how to childproof your bathroom, let’s revisit some of the general recommendations that we discussed last time about childproofing your home: 

Consider when others supervise your kids

When thinking about how to childproof your home, think not only about what is a danger when you are home with your kids but also when someone else is caring for them. For instance you may think, “I don’t need to childproof the bathroom because we keep the doors closed all the time.” What about when a babysitter comes or the grandparents watch your children for you? Other people will use things in your house differently than you do, and you must be sure your children are safe in each of those different scenarios.

Childproofing must change with your kid

Know that childproofing isn’t a one-time occurrence. The specific dangers will evolve as your child grows and their abilities and interests mature. Be prepared to continuously monitor and change your childproofing strategies along with them.

Nothing can replace adult supervision

It doesn’t matter how much time or money you’ve spent on childproofing your home or how sophisticated your gadgets are, no device can take the place of adequate adult supervision. Childproofing your home is a necessary and helpful aid in keeping your child safe, but it’s just that- an aid. It cannot take the place of adult supervision.

Here are some specific ways to make your bathroom as safe as possible:

Consider a “no unsupervised access” rule. The bathroom is one of those places where you may simply decide that the safest thing to do is limit your child’s access altogether. There are countless ways kids can get themselves into trouble in the bathroom, and until they reach an age where they are able to keep their curiosity at bay, it may not be a place where they should be given the freedom to explore.

Place a lock on the toilet. Be aware that a toilet not only creates the potential for a mess, but it is also a serious hazard for little ones. Small children often lean into the toilet to see what’s in there (or watch the water swirl as it flushes), but at this age kids’ bodies are top-heavy. They can easily lose their balance and fall into the toilet head first. Children can drown by falling into the toilet, so place a lock on yours to limit their access.

Remove bolt covers from the toilet. A little detail that often goes unnoticed in the bathroom until an accident occurs is the little plastic cover that hides the bolts on each side of your toilet. Many children find these fascinating, and they can easily be removed and placed in a child’s mouth. You may have never even noticed these little plastic things, but they pose a choking risk for kids so remove them from your bathroom.

Place all medications in a safe, locked box. It isn’t enough to place your medications on a high shelf or out of a child’s reach. It has been shown time and time again that nothing is out of a child’s reach when they want to get to something. They can climb, and they can be very crafty. Don’t just put your medications away; keep them in a locked container that cannot be accessed by your children.

Know that even childproof medication bottles aren’t childproof. Let’s be clear; nothing is ever truly childproof. Safety caps on medication bottles are child resistant, meaning they are more difficult to open than an easy-open cap. But as they say, where there is a will, there is a way. Don’t be fooled into thinking a child can’t open your medication bottles; they can. Keep your medications secured, even if they have a child-resistant cap.

Lower your water heater temperature. To prevent scalds and burns, turn down the temperature on your water heater. In case kids are tempted to turn on the bathtub faucet or play in the sink, they won’t be able to burn themselves.

Secure beauty products and toothpaste. Remember that it’s not simply medications that pose a risk to your child if swallowed. Beauty products and even toothpaste can be hazardous if consumed. Be sure these items are secured out of reach.

Place trashcan inside a cabinet. A trashcan is a treasure trove to a toddler. To prevent them from digging through your trash (which in the bathroom may be unsanitary or unsafe) consider placing your trashcan inside a cabinet or another secured area.

The most important thing to remember is that for a toddler, anything that holds water is a potential pitfall. Whether it is a bathtub, sink or toilet, be aware that these things can bring tragic consequences when children are left to use them unsupervised. Never leave your little one alone with any body of water, no matter how small.

Hopefully these suggestions will help you make your bathroom a safer place for your whole family.

Got any suggestions to add? Let us know what’s worked in your home!