Jan 12, 2018
January is National Bath Safety Month, so we’d be remiss if we didn’t throw our towel in the tub! Bathing is a habitual thing which means we don’t have to put a lot of thought into it, making these bath safety tips all the more important. Use these reminders for different ages and stages of life to prevent bath time injuries for yourself and your loved ones!
Newborns & Babies
First and foremost, daily bathing isn’t necessary and can be counterproductive, drying out baby’s skin. Plain sponge baths are recommended until the umbilical cord stump falls off. After that point, try bathing in two inches of warm (not hot) water and make it brief; notice when your baby isn’t ready yet - it’s okay to go back to sponge baths until she’s fully ready. Conversely, if she’s enjoying it, it’s good to let her splash around some to acclimate to water.
Healthychildren.org recommends always keeping both eyes and at least one hand on your newborn baby during bath time. If you must walk away, even for a second, take your infant with you.
Recommended infant bathing techniques involve providing full support and working from the top down, rinsing soap away from already clean areas. For your baby’s face, use a warm, soft washcloth - don’t forget behind the ears! Infant hair doesn’t need to be washed often but, if you feel it’s warranted, tilt your baby’s head back slightly to rinse. Lift and separate any folds in your baby’s skin to thoroughly wash hidden areas. Rinse any soap from the baby’s hands quickly as he is guaranteed to head directly to the mouth or eyes.
Pro Tip: Avoid upright bath seats as they can tip over. Stick with an infant bathtub, as recommended by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Toddlers & Kids
Children four and under should always have an adult present during bath time (in or even near water), according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Children of this age do not yet possess the coordination necessary to prevent falls on their own, so consider the following to assist them along with your careful guidance:
- Slip-resistant mats in the tub
- Slip-resistant rugs outside the tub
- Grab bar for assistance in and out
Your home’s water heater should be set to a maximum of 120 degrees to lessen the risk of scalding water. If that isn’t an option or in addition to, there are anti-scalding devices called Temperature Activated Flow Reducers (TAFR) that screw into the faucet. While you’re at it, you might also consider a rubber cover to protect your little ones from hard, sharp edges.
Pro Tip: Fill the tub completely before putting your kids in it as the temperature can fluctuate greatly during fill time.
Elderly & the General Population
Those 65 and older are the highest risk for injuries from falls and bathrooms pose the highest danger. It’s easy to lose balance especially on a wet floor or a slippery tub. Urge your elderly loved ones to take caution and set out all bathing supplies to prevent reaching.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study on nonfatal bathroom injuries for those 15 years old and older. Bathrooms were found to be common area for hazards and, although the risk is higher the older a person is, all people are at risk. U.S. emergency departments treated approximately 234,094 for nonfatal bathroom injuries in just one year. Their advice is the same for everyone: install grab bars, place nonslip mats in and outside of the tub area, be sure the area is well-lit and lower your risk of scalding hot water.
Pro Tip: Use only OSHA recommended ground fault circuit interrupters in the bathroom and keep electrical outlets and switches a safe distance from water sources.
Now that these bath safety tips are top of mind, you can go back to enjoying your bathing rituals - safely. Remember, staying Per Mar protected throughout your home isn’t limited to keeping burglars and fires at bay; we always have your best interests at hand!