According to the National SAFE Kids Campaign in 2002, approximately 93,000 children were treated in emergency rooms for burns, including nearly 23,000 scalded by hot liquids. In addition, a child exposed to hot tap water at 140 degrees Fahrenheit for three seconds will sustain a third-degree burn, an injury requiring hospitalization and skin grafts.I helped a client through this and it was not fun for either one of us. She went through both a Family Services and a criminal neglect case. Burns are common in American households. It is important for us to know and avoid the pitfalls that accompany accidental scalds or other bathroom accidents.
The most important part of anytime a child is in the bathtub is supervision. Children younger than seven should never be left unsupervised in a bathroom especially at bath time. This prevents play or accidents from causing trauma to children. Also, children often need help and reminders to clean behind ears and the back of the neck.
Children can be scalded in water of 140°. The consensus among professionals for a safe water temperature for children is 120°. Make sure that the water heater used to bathe children is set at that temperature. However, water heaters malfunction so always test the water. In addition, have your water heater inspected once a year to ensure that it is functioning properly.
Use an Infant Tub
I often see little children bathed in the kitchen sink. As a matter of fact that is how I was bathed. I remember my parents telling me of the time I slipped out of my Dad's hands and into the water; apparently I was not amused. Needless to say I highly recommend the use of an infant safety tub. Fisher-Price has a four in one unit which grouws with your child as they age.
Always run water into the tub before you place the child in the tub. Then check it. Using your elbow test the water in the front, middle, and rear of the water in the tub. This will ensure that the water is not to hot in any area. There are several safety devices which can be used I like A cute turtle toy and thermometer I found on Amazon. The turtle changes color product changes color if the temperature of the water is too hot.
General Bathroom Safety
Bathrooms can be dangerous places for young children. We often store dangerous items in our bathrooms. Parents should not store cleaning products, medicines, vitamins, mouthwashes, first aid supplies like hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, or antibiotic creams or gels in the bathroom where children can get to them.
In addition, electronics and bathrooms do not mix with young children. All items used with a child in a household bathroom should be water safe. This includes electric toothbrushes, radios, curling irons, and any other items that can be plugged into a wall outlet. Ensuring that things are unplugged and put away from little hands will make the family safer. We can also not use these appliances in another bathroom if available.
Another important area to consider is falls. Parents need to have a plan to avoid slippery floors so a child has less possibility of slipping and hurting themselves. Rugs or a bath mat in front of the tub are key to helping avoid slips. Also ensuring that a child is dried from the feet to the head, rather than from the head down will help prevent slipping.
Children need to know what to do in a water emergency. There is a program called Infant Swimming Resource that teaches infants and toddlers what to do in an emergency. This program has been developed to save lives and to help parents and children avoid an accidental death by drowning. The URL for this program is http://www.infantswim.com. It is the belief of Parents, Teachers and Advocates that every parent should have their child enrolled in this class as soon as possible.
Parents often store medication, cleaning supplies, vitamins, and other potentially harmful items below sinks or in restrooms where their children can have access. It is imperative to keep these items out of the reach of children. Preferably to keep them in locked cabinets so if children can somehow climb up to reach them they will still not have access.
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