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Creating Safe Bathrooms for Children

Kitchen and Bathroom Solutions
By Barbara Schmidt
(ARA) - In a perfect world, everything that works for adults would work just as well for children. But the reality is that traditional bathrooms are specifically designed to function for adults. Toddlers and small children face a host of possible safety issues every time they enter a bathroom. Thinking about potential pitfalls of the bathroom from a small child's point of view helps to create a safe and enjoyable environment for the whole family.
Fixture Fixes
Children often have a hard time navigating sinks, toilets and tubs made for adults. Here are some easy fixes.
Hang it Low
Make it easy for the kids to use the sink by installing a wall-hung model several inches lower than you would for an adult. For added fun, choose a sink with a whimsical pattern.
Potty Training Made Easy
If you have a bathroom dedicated to the children in the house, install a toilet designed specifically for three-footers. American Standard's Baby Devoro toilet has a rim height of 10 1/4 inches making it perfect for toddlers as well as grade-school aged children. And it is compatible with standard plumbing so it can be easily replaced with a full-sized toilet when the kids grow up.
Step it Up
Place a step stool near the bathtub so little ones can climb in and out easier. Make sure the tub is slip proof and never leave children unattended while bathing.
Just Add Water
Here are some quick and fun ideas to build safety into bath time for any age child.
Safe Space
Give children a lower drawer or cabinet for their storage. Kids' towels and toys can be left unlocked for them to play with at bath time.
Smaller is Better
Refill small plastic bottles of shampoo so children can learn how to handle and pour their own shampoo with your supervision. Kids' soaps and shampoos are less likely to sting eyes and come in fun shapes and scents.
Pocket Storage
Many of today's colorful new shower curtains come with breathable pockets for wet toy storage. These mesh curtains are a great way to keep toys put away and mildew-free.
Safety Underfoot
Many popular bathroom flooring materials can become slippery when wet. Smooth tile or granite may look great and be easy to upkeep, but it can be dangerous under little feet. Choose a safer alternative like vinyl or textured tiles.
Don't Get Burned
To avoid scalding, water heating systems should not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Check water heaters to retrofit an anti-scald device. Homes built after 1985 may have such a device already built in. For added safety, install a faucet with safety stops that offer adjustable settings and restrict how far the handle can be pushed toward hot.
The Great Lock Up
Some areas are just not safe for young children and should be locked when not in use. There are devices available that are inexpensive and easy to install for bathrooms, kitchens or just about anywhere in the home.
Toilet Seat Locks
Kids can drown in less than one inch of water and toilet seat lids can easily be locked with a plastic latch to keep this water inaccessible. Lids will lock automatically when shut and open with a swing lever.
Cabinet Latches
Locks for virtually every style of single and double door cabinet as well as drawer latches are available. Whether you have a knob or pull type of handle, these locks can secure any cabinetry.
Outlet Covers
There are several varieties of outlet covers these days, some that just insert into the outlet, some that cover the outlet while in use and some that swivel closed when the outlet is not in use. All of these covers keep children away from live outlets.
Doorknob Covers
These make round doorknobs hard to open for smaller hands. Adults have to squeeze grip buttons on either side to allow the doorknob to turn.
Cord Wind-ups
These devices keep dangling cords from hanging down to within a child's reach. The excess cord is coiled inside the plastic sphere clipped high on the blind's cord.

Here are just a few of the ideas that parents have actually used to make life with young children easier:

  • Childproofing Keep a rubber band around the toilet tissue roll to prevent waste and clogged toilets due to "flushing fascination." Drape a towel over the top of the bathroom door to keep children from shutting it tightly and locking themselves in.
  • Tantrums Listen. Acknowledge the source of frustration. Whisper in your child's ear. The screaming may stop or turn into a giggle. Disappear into another room. You'll feel better and the tantrum will lose steam.
  • Hair Care Sit your child in a high chair to prevent "wandering." Spread a newspaper underneath. Remove gum from hair with peanut butter. Work it into the hair and then comb out both gum and peanut butter.
    by Vicki Lansky, a Family Circle columnist and bestselling author, has added over 400 practical, parent-tested ideas to this bestseller to make it the most complete and up-to-date book of its kind. "The most helpful collection of down-to-earth ideas for parents every published.'' - Parents Magazine.

    How-To Install a Child-Safety Gate
    1)Measure the doorway where you plan to use the gate. Be sure to choose a gate that will be the right size for the area.
    2) Pressure lock gates have 2 "lock bars" that provide the pressure which holds up the gate. Be sure to connect these so that the notched bar is on the top and the latch loops over to fit inside the holes. back to top
    3) Slide the sides of the gate together so that it fits inside the doorway. Set the lock bars to the proper width for the doorway, and press down. Slide the clip up over the bars to secure them in place.
    4) Test the gate to be sure it's secure. If not, adjust the setting of the lock bars and try again.

  • Toilet Training Tips by Lisa Julian do not steal this graphic!
    Helpful Toilet Training Tips! Make it fun
    Make a big deal about using the last diaper or let your child help you throw out the diapers in the trash can. Shop together for new underwear!
  • Dress your child in clothes that are easy to take on and off.
  • Never punish or scold your child for accidents.
  • If your child can't produce anything after 5 minutes of sitting on the potty, its time to try later.
  • Train your child to wash his/her hands after using the potty.
  • Change diapers and/or accidents as soon as possible. Explain the need to stay nice and dry. After awhile your child will want to stay nice and dry.
  • Do not punish your child by keeping him/her in wet or soiled diapers. This is counterproductive and will not teach your child to use the potty. If your child is old enough to dress him/herself, have your child change into dry underwear all by him/herself. Your child may be reluctant to wet his/her pants if he/she knows that he/she will have to do all the work. Be kind, nonchalantly instruct your child to put the wet ones in the sink, and put on a new pair. Have a stack of clean, dry underwear in a handy place for your child to change when he/she wets (provided your child is capable).
  • Do not pressure or nag your child to use the potty. The harder you push, the harder he/she will resist! Bring your child on an hourly basis when starting with a young child, to encourage practice. Consistency is key! Instead of saying "Do you have to use the potty?" Say, "It's time to use the potty." This gets your child in the routine of going on a regular basis.
  • With older children, only remind your child to use the potty when he/she is showing signs that he/she has to go.You want to try to let it be their success, not yours.
  • Never force your child to use the potty.
  • Let your child put wet underwear in a designated place, such as the sink or laundry basin and instruct your child to get and put on new ones.
  • All caregivers should use the same approach and method to toilet training.
  • If using cotton underwear, buy more than one 3 pack (9 pairs should be good)! Also, it is sometimes helpful to buy the underwear one to two sizes bigger so it is easier for your child to pull-up and down (also, because they shrink!). Be prepared to spend some time in the bathroom with your child!
  • Spring and summer is a great time to toilet train! Let your child go without his/her diaper.
  • Make sure your child's diet has plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and juice.Your child is trained when he/she goes to the potty without any assistance or reminders from you! Good Luck! More Details here:
    Lee-Bee Toilet Training and Chore Charts

    Lee-Bee® Potty Chart Includes 75 reusable stickers and a potty training guide
    L-Bee Chore Chart inludes 150 reusable vinyl cling stickers
    Each time the child completes a chore or uses the potty, they put a special L-Bee sticker on the appropriate circle or square. When every circle or square is filled, the child receives the incentive prize they chose.
  • These Mom Invented, Doctor Recommended charts are perfect for busy parents trying to motivate their kids

    -Bzzzzz--the sound of the alarm clock rings. The dreaded day has come . . . it's time to get up and go -to-school!

    (ARA)- We all remember making the difficult transition from relaxing summertime slumber to the early mornings associated with heading back-to-school. While the act of just getting out of bed can send kids and parents into a tailspin, it's the rituals at sunrise, following the wake up call that can make school mornings so hectic. It's no wonder then, that parents are constantly seeking ways to simplify mornings and make things run a little more smoothly. Not surprisingly, choosing "just the right outfit" for school takes lots of time that can be better spent snoozing.
    Morning Madness
    A survey by Lands' End shows 62 percent of children start their day between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m. As kids wake up, the craziness begins. The survey indicated kids and parents alike try to cram a day's worth of activities into those precious hours before school. Common activities for kids before they leave the house, include: eating breakfast (89 percent), watching TV (51 percent), listening to the radio (30 percent), and doing household chores (25 percent). "The morning routine and getting ready for school may cause anxiety for both parents and kids," said Susan Lipton, Lands' End Kids merchant. "One great way to alleviate some of the stress is to make the big decisions, such as what to eat for breakfast or what to wear, the night before."
    Solving The What to Wear Woes
    Many parents and children (40 percent) have already attempted to minimize the "what to wear woes" by choosing outfits the night before. Of the 60 percent of parents and kids who choose the school outfit in the morning, 48 percent of them are spending a mere five minutes making a decision. One thing that can simplify the dressing dilemma, is choosing clothing that embodies a coordinated color scheme making it easier to mix and match. "Most often, parents and kids are deciding together what will be worn to school," said Lipton. Tops and bottoms can be mixed and matched for versatility and ease."
    Common Denominators
    Parents can tackle potential morning dressing problems in advance. It's no secret that kids and parents don't always agree on the perfect wardrobe or outfit. And the team effort goes beyond the point-of-purchase decision, as 49 percent of parents and kids report they select each day's school outfit together. According to Lipton, its a two part equation. First aim to build a wardrobe that both parents and kids agree upon. Second, simplify mornings by anticipating dressing woes the night before so they don't become as predictable as the alarm clock.

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    Forty vivid, full-color photographs, an easy-to-read supportive text for children, and a comprehensive guide for parents answer all the questions of potty training. 40 pages.

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    On Your Potty
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