Don't Fear the Bathroom - Babyproofing in the Real World


Baby defeating a toilet lock

I’ve heard the statistic that the kitchen sink has more germs than the toilet. But, my toddler doesn’t bee-line to the kitchen sink, hold the rim to steady himself, then use the basin as his personal splash pad. He tries that trick at the toilet. Even though my toilet sparkles (ha ha), I don’t want baby blowing bubbles in toilet water.
 
How do I prevent baby’s water play? Keep him out altogether.
Door Knob Locks
 
I lay awake at night thinking of the ways my kids can hurt themselves. One reoccurring image is of my sons locking themselves into the bathroom while I’m trapped outside unable to rescue them from bathroom dangers: Germs! Water! Cleaning products! We installed unlockable door knobs on our bathroom to prevent such a scenario. Yes, it is possible for someone to walk in on you when you are doing your business, but if you visit me, I promise I’ll knock.
 
This still didn’t solve our problem of keeping them out of the bathroom altogether. When our boys could finally reach the bathroom door knob, we installed a hook-and-eye lock higher than their little hands could reach, at the top of the door. The hook-and-eye is less un-attractive than the plastic door knob covers that never stay on. The hook-and-eye lock allowed me to sleep knowing my night wanderer couldn’t topple over into the toilet without making a ruckus. The obvious negative of the hook-and-eye lock is it locks from the outside. Luckily my little ones weren’t tall enough, and I never annoyed my husband enough, to lock me in.
 
Hook-and-eye lock: like THIS
 
Door knob cover: like THIS
 
Toilet Locks
 
Let’s say the hook-and-eye lock isn’t for you. How do you keep your bathroom child proofed when, in a matter of a few Facebook posts, baby could be head down in the toilet. Some people swear by toilet locks. Others, not so much.
 
Deborah M, a Park Slope mom, admitted to being ‘a little obsessive about the first child’. “I bought a toilet seat lock,” she said. “I put it on and about an hour later, I heard panicked calls from the bathroom. My husband wanted to use the toilet and could not operate the lid. Our then not quite two year old toddled in and said something approximating, 'I help you, Daddy.' He opened it for us.”
 
The point: test before you buy. Be sure you can unlock it, and not your toddler.
 
Toilet lock: like THIS
 
Cabinet Locks
 
Although Deborah didn’t find the toilet seat lock useful, she swears by cabinet door locks. And so do I.
 
Consider the afternoon I was in charge of my then 4-year-old niece. She snuck into the unlocked bathroom, crawled under the unlocked sink, unscrewed a childproof bottle top and guzzled minty smelling, sparkly blue cleanser. Cabinet door locks, if they wouldn’t have prevented the situation, may have slowed it down. (I know you are wondering how I, at 21, handled the situation. Well, I read the label which said to drink water then go to a doctor. I shoved a glass of water in her face and screamed, “DRINK THIS!” She promptly burst into tears. I called her dad who met me at the hospital and the doctor calmly handed her a glass of water which she happily drank. Good news: She is now 19 on scholarship at Dartmouth.)
 
Even if your cleaning products are stored in a high closet, many other dangers lurk in bathroom drawers, curling iron cords, for example. Install cabinet door locks to deter accidents.

Door latches: like THIS
 
Bathtub
 
Bathtub safety tip: don’t leave baby alone in the tub.
 
Now, how do we make tub time safe and fun? Rubber ducky thermometer promises just that. But by the time the thermometer settles on a color coded temperature, patience for bath time will be exhausted. Simply set your water heater to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, double check the temperature with the inside of your wrist and enjoy watching baby splash.
 
Water + porcelain = slippery. Bath mats offer traction to an otherwise slippery situation. Thankfully, bath mats are made to match almost any bathroom décor.
 
Even though you have done your best to prevent sliding in the tub, baby won’t be able to resist turning the tub into his personal slip-and-slide. A bath spout cover will protect baby’s head from gashing open when he inevitably smashes it into the faucet. Luckily for the fashion conscious, the faucet cover can match the bath.
 
Bathtub thermometer: like THIS
 
Bath mat: like THIS
 
Bath spout cover to protect baby’s head: like THIS
 
Outlet covers
 
Typically in the bathroom outlets are out of baby’s reach. But protecting children from electricity is important to me. So, here is my favorite outlet cover.
 
Because you still have outlets in the bathroom consider a cover: like THIS
 
Now that you can sleep at night with a safe bathroom, look to the other areas of your home. Next on my list is figuring out how to corral Lego and Playmobil pieces into a baby-free zone. I don’t want my older boys’ sculptures toppled by a pint-sized Godzilla, and I don’t want my little one choking on a random piece of plastic.