Child Proof the Bathroom
Your bathroom has obvious hazards – cabinets full of everything that goes with an adult bathroom; toilet bowls filled with water and lids that slam, sunken tubs, tubs with steps (up and down), bathtubs period, medicine cabinets that are easily reached by climbing up toilets onto counters, slippery marble or tile floors, an array of jewelry, perfumes, nail polishes and removers sitting out, hair dryers plugged in, razors left out, etc.
Latch all bottom cabinets and drawers and just as in the kitchen get all the chemicals; toilet bowl cleaners, drain cleaners, etc. out of here and up with your other chemicals.
Medications kept in your bathroom pose an additional hazard of poisoning and where they are kept is extremely important. Between the age 2 to 3 years old most children can figure out any “childproof” cap on a medicine bottle along with similar caps found on cleaners especially if given enough time or exposure to the container. Do not let your child play with even the empty prescription containers.
Check out a few of the common items listed below which can be very harmful to your toddler; they are listed by order of frequency in poisonings for children under 5 years old:
VITAMINS CONTAINING IRON
ASPIRIN or ACETAMINOPHEN
TOPICAL OINTMENTS and SPRAYS
TRANQUILIZERS and SEDATIVES
ALMOST ANY PRESCRIPTION NOT TAKEN IN ACCORDANCE WITH YOUR DOCTOR’S INSTRUCTIONS IS POISON TO YOUR CHILD.
Many of the children’s medications have been made to taste good (relatively) so that you do not run into problems getting him to take it; at the same time it has also added another degree of danger in that he may well ingest it without your supervision because it tastes like candy. Which leads to the old warning “never tell your child that a medicine is candy” during the struggle to get it down his throat.
Latches are available for your medicine cabinet, both sliding and hinged types of cabinets. If your toddler makes it a practice of climbing up to the medicine cabinet we do not recommend this as your only other layer of protection. Maybe it is time to move your medications.
Childhood poisoning incidents tend to peak out at age three for medications and related products and fall off to almost nil after age five until children move into their teens. Keep in mind, that even though your three year old may seem responsible, in the process of imitating you he is at a premium age for poisoning from prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.
Know what drugs you store. Read the manufacturer’s warning label. Look for recommended ages and dosage along with information on possible drug interactions with other medications your child may be taking.
Keep ipecac syrup on hand and know where you have it stored. This product is available at your pharmacy; it is intended to induce vomiting.
IPECAC SYRUP IS TO BE USED ONLY WITH THE DIRECTION OF A PHYSICIAN OR THE POISON CONTROL CENTER.
Not all poisons should be vomited; most caustics and acids do the majority of their damage on the way down, vomiting will usually do further damage to lungs and throat tissue.
Keep the number of the poison control (information) center by each telephone. Use it promptly, even if there is just a suspicion of poisoning. That’s what it is there for.
Request childproof caps from your pharmacy when filling prescriptions. Obtain caps for over-the-counter medications wherever these can be used. Your pharmacist will probably be delighted at your concern (it is his profession) and usually give you a supply free of charge.
While your pharmacist may be trained in the dispensing of medications, drug interactions, etc., he is not the ideal person to deal with medical emergencies such as the ingestion of a poison. With the multitude of toxic and poisonous substances that a child might ingest, even the average physician might be a little hesitant to tackle the problem on his own without knowing the exact nature of the poison he is dealing with. Your first point of contact should be the Poison Control Center via your telephone. Have the product container or prescription bottle with you so that you will be able to answer their questions promptly. Follow their instructions to administer any immediate first aid as might be required to reduce the effect of the poison, then proceed with getting your child to the nearest hospital emergency room if so directed (with the product container or the remainder of the poison ingested if a container is not available).
All old medicines (especially prescriptions) that you are no longer using should be flushed down the toilet. You have been hearing this for years concerning adult “accidental” poisonings. Now, listen! There is more at stake now than just your safety.
Being realistic on what a parent will or may not do, for whatever reason, is the basic format on which this booklet is written. So, if you must keep old prescriptions or rarely used medicines, put them in a locked container; stored out of reach on a closet shelf. Make it a policy not to transfer medications to other than the original container. If you do, be sure labels are included. Do not mix medications in the same container; you can easily forget which is what if they are seldom used.
Be extra cautious at grandparent’s homes; they keep many of their medications very handy for use and often do not use childproof caps.
Toilet seat covers should be equipped with a cover latch or strap. Use it. A toilet seat lid can inflict nasty black eyes, smashed fingers, cut lips, etc., if it falls on an unsuspecting toddler. Playing in toilet bowl water is not particularly sanitary. At the same time, a toilet latch also protects against a different type of “hazard” such as your car keys, jewelry, and anything else that will fit (shoes), from being flushed. Along the same line, it may well save you from clogged toilets and hefty repair bills. This type of “accident” does not hurt a child, but it might well leave a parent in pain!
On the grim side is the fact that there are a number of drowning and suffocation’s associated with toilets every year in this country. Beware of your child using a walker in the bathroom; a young child’s fascination with the toilet, its sounds and swirling water is very compelling to further investigation. A toy thrown in the toilet can easily prompt a child to climb out of his walker (with the ready assistance of the toilet lip or seat to grab onto) and go face first into the water; unable to get back out and still entangled in his walker combined with a few minutes of you being distracted elsewhere could spell tragedy for your family.
Your bathroom door and medicine cabinet can be equipped with simple, inexpensive door alarms that will alert if the door is accidentally left open for more than a few seconds or if it is opened at all. Most brands have a setting for your choice of operation.
We all know never to leave an appliance plugged in around small children, especially on the bathroom counter next to the sink. The danger of electrocution far outweighs any inconvenience of putting these items away properly.
We highly recommend that you have an electrician check your circuits in the bathroom to ensure that your ground fault interrupt (GFI) or similar cut off device is working for bathroom outlets; particularly if you live in an older home where current codes were not in effect at the time it was built. This simple action alone could save a life, maybe even yours or your spouse’s.