Observe National Bath Safety Month

Danna F. Gillett  |  1/4/2011 3:23:19 AM

Submitted by Danna Gillett, the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent for Richland Parish. This article originally ran in The Richland Beacon and The Delhi Dispatch on Jan. 6, 2011.

Families can resolve to keep everyone safe in 2011 by observing National Bath Safety Month in January. The Consumer Project Safety Commission reports that approximately 44,000 children visit the emergency room for bathtub injuries each year. More than 300 Americans of all ages die from drowning or head injuries related to falls in the tub or shower. Households with young children and/or elderly or disabled family members must remember that it only takes a few seconds for someone to become injured from a bathroom related accident. Infants can drown in just one inch of water. Medication side-effects, reduced physical ability, and diminished vision can all contribute to bathroom accidents and drownings.

Keep your young children safe by following these bathroom safety tips:

  • Never leave small children alone around any container of water, including tubs and toilets.
  • Keep bathroom doors closed and secure toilet lids with lid locks.
  • Safeguard bathtubs and sinks used for bathing by using faucet covers and nonskid mats or decals.
  • Before running the bath water, gather soap, shampoo, toys, towel, diaper, clothing and any other needed items you might need.
  • Check the water temperature before placing the child in the bath water.
  • Once your child is in the bath, don’t leave for any reason. If you must leave the room to answer the telephone or door, wrap the child in a towel and take him/her with you.
  • Always keep one hand firmly around the child to avoid falls or slipping under the water.

For families with older or disabled family members, these suggestions may prevent serious injury or death. Consider installing grab bars on walls around the tub. Horizontally placed bars are best for safely lowering and raising the body for the tub. Suction mats or rubber appliques can prevent slips in the tub. A non-skid bath rug on the floor near the tub can ensure firm footing.

Some elderly adults may have less sensation in their hands and misjudge water temperature. Check the water temperature in their home to avoid scalding injuries. The water heater should be set no higher than 120º F to prevent burns from hot water. If your water heater does not have a temperature gauge, you can check the water temperature with a candy thermometer. Test the water in the early morning before anyone has used the hot water. Turn on the hot water tap and leave it running for two minutes. Hold a candy thermometer in the stream of running water until the temperature stops rising.

Adjust the temperature, if needed, and wait 24 hours. Test the water temperature again to ensure it is in the safe range.

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