Shower Safety for Little Ones

Rubber ducky enjoys a splash.

I remember vividly the day I realized I had forgotten to explain exactly how a shower curtain works. Once my twins had outgrown bubble baths and were able to shower on their own, I gradually let them become more and more independent with their shower time.

That's when I learned the hard way that you must explain things in detail to little ones. As I walked into the bathroom after one of my children had taken a shower, water actually sloshed from the rug under my feet. It looked like gallons of water had been poured on the floor. My kid never realized the curtain needed to be on the inside of the tub during a shower.

Lesson learned, and thankfully no one got hurt. But there are many ways little kids can get hurt when they are learning to shower on their own. Fortunately, most shower hazards are preventable. Here are a few dangers you will want to look out for if your children are beginning to shower independently.

Scalding

Hot tap water can be deadly, because burns such as those a child may get in the shower cover large portions of their body. Tap water can scald a child in just seconds, and little ones can accidentally adjust the faucet before you even know what is happening. According to Safe Kids, "Scalds can be prevented by lowering the setting on water heater thermostats to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below and by installing anti-scald devices in water faucets and shower heads."

Falling

Showers are slippery, and falls in the shower can be especially dangerous. If your shower does not already have a non-slip surface, you can help protect your kids by adding adhesive non-slip strips for traction. Consider covering the faucet with a soft cover, too, to help cushion any falls.

Drowning

Although drowning deaths and injuries have greatly declined over the past two decades, the bathtub is still a dangerous place for children. You may think your child is safer in a shower than a bath because the water is not so deep. But children can drown in only a tiny amount of water, and a dropped washcloth or the flick of a lever can plug the drain, causing the tub to fill rapidly.

Cuts

Many women and some men keep their razors in the shower. These can cause serious cuts to curious children. It's best to store them outside the shower if you'll be sharing the space with kids.

Bruises

Shampoo and body wash bottles are heavy. So are many of the accessories hung by suction cups on the shower wall. Remember these items are generally above a child's head, and when they fall they can cause substantial injuries. Store toiletries and toys down low and keep shower clutter to a minimum.

Suffocation

Even the shower curtain can be a danger if your child is left unattended. Kids can easily pull a shower curtain down on top of them in the tub, especially if it is hung on a tension rod, and may suffocate. The best way to keep young children who are learning to shower safe is to stay nearby so you can react quickly if there is trouble.

Content by Tavia Fuller Armstrong.
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