Making A Bathroom Safe For Children

Bathrooms can be dangerous places for children, especially young children, they’re notorious for slippy showers and surfaces.  Fortunately, there are a number of straightforward precautions which can help to keep children safe. Katie Mills a bathroom design expert from explains a few things you can set in place to protect your little ones.

Think about the lock

In principle, you can simply tell children to leave the lock open, but in practice, curiosity may get the better of them.  When children are young, it’s best to have a lock which can be opened from the outside.  If, for some reason, that’s not possible, then it would actually be safest to remove the lock and just put up a reversible sign for “vacant” and “in use”.

Floors with good grip

Children are going to run and probably jump as well.  The younger they are the less control they are going to have over their bodies and the more likely they are to need to make a last-minute rush for the toilet.  This all means that any floor coverings have to offer good grip to both bare feet and feet in slippers or shoes.

Potty training seat with step then step stool to toilet

You want to make it as easy, safe and comfortable for your little one(s) to use the toilet and using a potty training seat with a step and then a step stool to access the toilet will go a long way to achieving these goals and helping to overcome any fear of the “big toilet”.  It will also make life more comfortable for you since you won’t have to hold your child on the toilet, you can just be with them.

Step stool for sink

You want to get small children up to a height where they can use standard sinks comfortably, without the risk of them toppling over and banging their heads against the sinks. For similar reasons you may want to upgrade your faucet so it operates with a press button or lever (or even via motion sensor) as this will not only reduce the risks of your young child overbalancing as a result of trying to use a tap which is designed for adult fingers, but also make it easier for them to close the tap properly after them, saving you the hassle (and expense) of dealing with drips.  Likewise, make sure that soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste are all easy for your child to reach.

Easy access storage for bath/shower toys

Toys can be a tripping hazard for both children and adults. Easy access storage for them allows them to be corralled in one place and takes away the excuses for not putting them away after use.

Secure storage for “adult-only products”

People often think of putting first-aid products and medicines in a safe place but actually there are lots of common bathroom items which need to be kept out of the hands (and mouths) of young children.  These include, cleaning products (e.g. bleach), electrical products, sharp objects (like scissors and tweezers) and toiletries to name but a few.  Locks and/or childproof catches are the ideal solution but at a pinch magnetic closure would be better than nothing.

Child-accessible (or automatic) lighting

You can now buy motion-detecting bathroom lights which switch on when the bathroom door is opened (and switch off either when it is closed or after a specific length of time).  Alternatively, there are now plenty of battery-operated LED lights, which can be stuck onto walls at child height.  In addition to making the bathroom safer for a child, these can also make night-time bathroom visits much less intimidating.

Non-slip mats in the bath and/or shower

Baths may be a convenient way to get younger children clean but it’s important to be very aware of the drowning hazard they pose.  Adults can drown in very little water, children have smaller lungs in smaller bodies and are therefore more at risk.  Young children should never be left unattended in baths and even when they are attended, you can save yourself heartache and trips to the hospital by using non-slip mats to give toddlers and younger children secure grip when getting in and out of the bath (and also if they decide to stand up in it for a random reason). 

Hand rails are a bit of a mixed call in that they do provide grip and hence security but if children bite on them, they can get their chin stuck and that can lead to lost teeth as they try to get free.

From a safety perspective, showers are actually the better option, since they completely eliminate the risk of drowning, although even here it’s highly recommended to use a non-slip mat to stop children from falling over during play.

Both baths and showers should ideally have a non-slip mat beside them so that children can put their wet feet onto something secure.  This is useful for adults and even more so for younger people who are still learning to control their legs.


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