It happens: a young parent steps out of the bathroom and leaves the baby sitting in a tub of water “for just a minute”. The result is a tragedy from which that parent will never recover.
Somehow we always think, that can never happen to me but each year babies and toddlers continue to suffer burns and drown in horrible accidents that were preventable. My Plumber Heating and Cooling would like to remind readers of some basic safety rules that can protect babies and toddlers from plumbing-related accidents in the home; specifically, hot water burns and drowning.
- The law requires manufacturers of home water heaters to set the thermostat at 120°F. The reason for this requirement is because babies, the elderly and some people with disabilities burn easily or react slowly. Water temperatures above 120°F can scald in a matter of seconds. Homeowners can save on their energy bills and reduce the risk of scalding accidents by setting the thermostat on their water heater to 120°F.
- Don’t leave standing water in a bathtub or a bucket; a toddler or baby can drown in as little as an inch of water. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death among 1-4 year olds, and the fifth leading cause of accidental death in infants under one year of age.
- Keep toilet lids closed and consider using clamps to keep top-heavy toddlers from leaning over an open bowl and falling in.
- Never leave a baby or a small child alone in the bathtub, even in a safety seat. Safety seats are not foolproof and it can take less than ninety seconds for a child to drown.
- Face babies and toddlers away from the faucet during baths so they cannot grab a hot water spout or turn on the hot water. Consider installing a shower safety tap. This is a clear box that attaches around the shower tap to prevent children from turning on the water and burning themselves.
Accidents involving babies or toddlers are heartbreaking – even more so when they could have been prevented. We hope that by writing about the safety rules listed above, accidents will be avoided, and readers will be galvanized to put into practice the safety measures necessary to protect small children in their homes.