Did you know that January is Bathtub Safety Awareness Month?
I know, it’s not the kind of national holiday we typically celebrate around here at KIDDOCJJ, but bathtub safety is hugely important! Whether for a child or a senior or anywhere in between, there are a few simple steps we can all take to practice bathtub safety:
Always check the water temperature
I think we’re all guilty of taking the trusting plunge into the tub. But it’s an important reminder to always test the water temperature before putting a child into the tub (or before getting in yourself). My suggestion: turn the cold water on first and then adjust the hot water until it’s comfortable.
When bathing babies and small children, plan on staying in the bathroom the whole time
The key to a good bath is a plan. You don’t ever want to leave a baby or toddler alone in the bathtub (or take your eyes off her, for that matter). Assemble everything you’ll need ahead of bath time (set up those towels, wash cloths, toys and accessories). Grab your phone before anyone gets wet (and keep it out of reach of playful splashes). Plan for limiting distractions. That means ignoring incoming calls or knocks at the door.
Make it fun!
For babies and toddlers (and their parents/guardians), bath time can be simply delightful. Bath toys offer endless entertainment, and you’re getting the added benefit of a clean kid! Remember to bathe your little one at the end of the tub opposite the faucet, and that bath rings and seats are not safety devices. And standing in a wet (slippery) environment never ends well.
Make sure your tub is healthy too!
Some of the points above may be a little obvious (we all have to start somewhere), but this point may not be: We want to watch out for LEAD that may be in tubs. Lead is the 3rd most common element on earth and, because of its malleability and other physical properties, it’s no wonder historically it’s been used extensively in fixtures, appliances and in the manufacturing of many consumer products. And because it can make color more intense, its use in paint products and finishes has been extensive.
You’ve probably heard a warning about lead paint, but let’s dig a little deeper into why we’re concerned about lead. Simply put, long term exposure can cause long term health problems in all age groups. Babies and children are especially vulnerable to its effects in lowering IQ, causing severe neurologic problems, developmental delays, growth, learning disabilities, etc. The list goes on and on. And because the presence of lead in the body often isn’t obvious for awhile, it’s especially important to know how we all can prevent it from affecting our families.
That's why it is so important that we talk about lead safety in your home. Some of our long-lasting home products like old bathtubs, sinks, plumbing and even “vintage” ceramic tile can still provide a source of a lead in the home, and they are often overlooked by modern home owners.
So, you’re probably asking yourself, “What am I supposed to do with this information?” because it’s a lot to digest! I have a few recommendations:
If you’re living in a home built before 1978, there’s a great list from the Environmental Protection Agency that can answer all of your questions!
ALL CHILDREN, at age 1 AND 2, should have routine lead testing done in their primary care doctor’s offices, and any time when lead exposure is suspected. This is especially important if you are considering getting pregnant, are pregnant, or have young children at home. If any family member has detectable lead levels, it’s especially important to examine the home environment, and that includes the bath – an area often forgotten!
And tune into my Facebook LIVE on Wednesday January 31, 2018 at 5PM PST. I’m going to be covering all facets of bath safety, and will be able to answer your questions! Go “Like” my page right now (KIDDOCJJ) to get an alert when I’m live, and set a reminder in your calendar so you don’t forget!