Bathroom safety and open door policy? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 01-12-2012, 09:29 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm wondering about how to negotiate babyproofing the bathroom vs. an open door bathroom policy.  On the one hand, the recommendations seem to be to lock the toilet, and to keep the bathroom door closed and locked.  On the other hand, we have been doing some late EC, and I'd like to have a relaxed and open attitude that encourages her to go in and out of the bathroom.  How have you guys reconciled this? 

 

Is she still at risk of drowning herself in the toilet at 1yr (she can already walk and climb a bit, which is why I am spending hours babyproofing again...)?  When do you guys remove the toilet lock?  Or did you lock the toilet at all?  (We've just kept the bathroom door closed up until now.)

 

Do you keep your bathroom door closed and locked, or do you let your kiddo wander in and out?  And if you leave the door open, what do you do specifically to limit any safety hazards?  (I think our main danger in the bathroom is the toilet (drowning and just general grossness of grabbing it) and the trash can (the bag is a suffocation hazard and it probably contains some choke hazards). 

 

I guess we could just lock the adult bathroom away and keep her potty out in the living room...

 

What do you guys do? 

 

Thanks for reading my post!


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#2 of 10 Old 01-12-2012, 10:15 AM
 
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Well, I am clearly much more laid back about baby-proofing than you! 

 

Toilet lock - we had one for a while as DS was trying to play in the toilet (GROSS!) but that phase has passed (he's 17.5 mos) and now he just likes to say bye-bye every time we flush.  I keep a pretty close eye on him so I guess I wasn't worried about drowning for that reason, and also the water level in our toilet is very very low, so even if he did tip himself in his face wouldn't be in water.

 

Bathroom Sink - does have the toilet brush and cleaner in it, but we have a lock on the doors so he can't get in.

 

Linen Cabinet - He can reach some toiletries like deoderant, etc. but so far can't actually open the items so I don't care if he plays with them.  I'll either move them up or put a lock on the door when I need to.

 

Garbage can - I'm pretty sure he's not going to stick his head in there and he hasn't really tried to fish stuff out.  Again, I'm pretty laid back on this and also it is tucked in behind the toilet so he doesn't ever really even notice it's there.

 

We have an open-door bathroom policy.  He likes to play in the tub sometimes when there is no water in it.  I have to lift him in and out, so usually this is when I'm getting ready for work in the morning but sometimes he just wants to play with his bath toys for a bit, (or drop stuff in the tub that belongs elsewhere, that stage is also passing) and that is fine by me.


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#3 of 10 Old 01-12-2012, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply, nstewart! 

 

I seem to go back and forth between really laid back and really uptight when it comes to baby proofing (depending on how recently I've been reading up on dangers!).  We never really leave our daughter unattended, so on the one hand we haven't really baby proofed much, but on the other hand, because she is so mobile now (and wanting to get into everything), there are things that I think we need to babyproof now that weren't a problem when she was shorter and not walking/climbing, like the stovetop, the TV, the knife drawer, the medicine cabinet, etc.  So we are actually putting things like TV straps, cabinet locks, and oven guards on for the first time now, mainly just because when we are overtired (as we often are these days!) it's too easy for us to forget to pay attention to what she is doing for a few minutes, and of course she could get into all kinds of stuff in that amount of time.  Our original babyproofing was really just hiding the outlets, keeping bathroom and offices doors closed, and not letting her wander around the (open plan) kitchen alone.  I'm not sure how paranoid to be - the problem is that once you start reading about babyproofing, or asking friends about babyproofing, you hear all the dreadful statistics and horrible stories about deaths, injuries, and trips to the emergency room, and that makes me react with the desire to go to extremes and to glue everything down!  Expert advice here in the US always seems to be do to more rather than less, and without reliable statistics, I don't know how to make a rational decision about things!  (If they would only tell me which risks are greater than getting into a car, and which are not, I would know exactly which things to babyproof and which things to let go...)


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#4 of 10 Old 01-12-2012, 10:42 AM
 
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We have an open bathroom policy. The kids walk in on me, when I'm sitting on the throne and 'help' by handing me toilet paper or stuffing toilet oaper directly into the toilet.

They sometimes play with the sink, standing on a chair. The ensueing inundations are usually quite managable.

With DD we did lock the toilet for a while, because she liked to take laundry from the laundry rack and put it in there. Eventually, when she started potty learning, we opened the toilet up again. DS liked to scrub the toilet with the toilet brush, but was never in danger of falling in. I found, that instead of locking the toilet, putting a child toilet seat on the toilet seat works well, especially one, that can not simply be flipped open, but has to be lifted off (Baby Bjoern makes some like that.) The opening provided by these seats are too small for a child to fall through, but the child still has access to the toilet for business.

We do have strict rules about the bath tube. Both children are strictly forbidden to climb in and open the fosset without a parent present.

All cleaning suppleys, except for the toilet brush are stored out of reach. Also shampoos etc. Are stored where DS can't reach without assistance.
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#5 of 10 Old 01-12-2012, 11:02 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cww View Post

 We never really leave our daughter unattended, so on the one hand we haven't really baby proofed much, but on the other hand, because she is so mobile now (and wanting to get into everything), there are things that I think we need to babyproof now that weren't a problem when she was shorter and not walking/climbing, like the stovetop, the TV, the knife drawer, the medicine cabinet, etc. 

 

The stove guard is one that I do need to get on top of.  DS is getting into the reaching stage so I do have to be more mindful of what I leave close to the edge of the counter.  The knife drawer is another one I should probably lock. Otherwise, we don't have much "stuff" on our mainfloor to worry about.  And DS is one of those kids who likes to stay really close to mamma or daddy, so we don't have to worry much about him going off and getting into something.  And, oddly, he also is good about not getting into stuff.  He will go to do something, and then tell himself "no, no, no".  He knows what things are hot (like if I leave a coffee on the coffee table, he will say "hot" and not touch it).

 

Our original babyproofing was really just hiding the outlets, keeping bathroom and offices doors closed, and not letting her wander around the (open plan) kitchen alone.  I'm not sure how paranoid to be - the problem is that once you start reading about babyproofing, or asking friends about babyproofing, you hear all the dreadful statistics and horrible stories about deaths, injuries, and trips to the emergency room, and that makes me react with the desire to go to extremes and to glue everything down!  Expert advice here in the US always seems to be do to more rather than less, and without reliable statistics, I don't know how to make a rational decision about things!  (If they would only tell me which risks are greater than getting into a car, and which are not, I would know exactly which things to babyproof and which things to let go...)

 

It's true, it can be hard as a parent to know where to draw the line with safety (and so many other things!).  I guess I try to look for just real, major dangers (like outlets, cleaning products, etc.) and not worry about the rest.  I let DS go up and down the stairs on his own, for example, which drives my mom crazy because she knew a friend of a friend who knew someone who had a baby 30 years ago that fell down the stairs and died.  This is tragic, obviously, but that "baby" could have been a 7 month old learning to crawl, or one who didn't know how to do stairs yet, etc.  I know he "could" fall, but I also know he knows what he's doing and I felt that the baby gate was more dangerous because he was trying to climb it!

 

 


N, wife to my goofball K partners.gif and mamma to my EC grad D (July 2010) and my new little love S (May 2013).  Exploring the uncharted territory of tandem nursing with my two boys.

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#6 of 10 Old 01-12-2012, 12:56 PM
 
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I never had a toilet lock, but I did put a gate in the door of the bathroom for a while.  I couldn't close the door behind me or he'd scream if he couldn't see me (and the medicine chest is behind the door where I couldn't keep him out of it).  Then we progressed to just keeping a gate up to keep him out of the back end of the house entirely (kitchen, bathroom, master bedroom).  Somewhere around 20 mos or so it stopped being a concern for the kitchen/bathroom, and since about 25 mos I've stopped gating off the master bedroom (and the litter box).  He's tall enough now that he can flip all the light switches and reach just about anything in a drawer or on the counter and all but the top shelf of the medicine chest.  And we've (for the most part) taught him not to.  In part by putting the stuff he's interested either down on his level, or up out of sight/reach.  I put the fruit bowl down on a bench so he can help himself, and I keep the knives (and scissors) where he can't see them.  When I'm cooking I either put the gate up if I'm not standing in the kitchen, or just keep an eye on him (since our kitchen is tiny I'm never out of reach of the stove).  For the bathroom, he's curious about the toilet, but has never shown an inclination to flush things or do anything but look.  He's far more interested in the sink, and I do have to keep an ear out for him turning the water on, so he doesn't scald himself (it takes several minutes to get hot, so I have time to go turn it off). For the medicine chest, I moved anything dangerous to the back of the top shelf, and if he wants to scatter bandaids around the house, or play with the ice bag, I don't much care.  There was a period of time where I removed all the knobs from the stove because he was constantly turning them, and since we have gas I was afraid of him blowing us up, but that fascination didn't last long, and they're all back on now. 

 

His fascination now is pot handles, and since I cook a lot with cast iron, I have to be aware of that and either stand there or be sure to turn the handles inward so he can't grab them.  Oh, and the freezer drawer - he's learned if he puts his weight behind it he can open the freezer, so I have to be aware of that also, so he doesn't leave it standing open.  Luckily it's audible when it opens. 

 

My kid has certain obsessions, and the toilet hasn't really been one of them.  The bathroom door (he likes to push the latch in and watch it pop out again), the sink (running water), the light-switch on the oven, the freezer.  Luckily nothing that I'm terribly concerned about him hurting himself with.  But every child is different, and you have to work both to your child's interests/adventure level and your own comfort. 


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#7 of 10 Old 01-13-2012, 10:47 AM
 
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About risk and baby proofing. The advice one gets in America is usually completely over the top. After having listened for a while, I decided, I'm better of using my own brain. After all, it is impossible to remove all dangers out of a child's life. And children who learn, that there are dangers out there early on, do usually a quite good job taking care. From what I observed, children who have very careful parents do quite as often get injured, if not more often, than children with more relaxed parents. Too much child proofing keeps children from looking out for themselves.

So that's what I did in child proofing: I removed all medication, cleaning liquids, detergents, etc. as high up as possible. Quite a few items I myself can only reach climbing on a chair. I removed very sharp and pointy items out of reach, cutting knifes are up in a shelf, the child can't reach. The way I sorted my silverware is, that in the front lay spoons and dull butter knives, the pointy forks go in the back. I set my sewing kit on a shelf. In the kittchen I put the sturdy pots, plastic bowls etc. in the lower shelves, the glasses and breakables are out of the reach of small hands. My children had almost always free access to my kitchen. When I cook, they like to hang around and 'help' or they play with pots and pans. The most important piece of childproofing was putting a fence between garden and road, fencing off a crumbling stone wall, and putting child gates at the top of every staircase. However, once I noticed that DS was able to get up and down the stairs on his own, I do not always look the gates. We do have rooms the children are not allowed in, mainly, DH office and the basement, which contains DH's woodworking power tools. In the garden, I make a point to turn every bucket over, so no water can be standing there, it also keeps mosquitos from breeding in there. The only place I plugged the electrical outlets is in DD room.

I might add, that DD was able to learn simple rules about which plants in the garden are edible by 2 years of age. The first rule is, don't eat anything you don't know. The second rule, if you want to eat leaves, they should smell like tooth paste. It works very well for us. I do however take care to remove particularly poisonous plants, whenever I find them.
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#8 of 10 Old 01-17-2012, 06:51 AM
 
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I always kept the bathroom door open. My kids were never interested in the toilet, I suppose because they knew exactly what it is for. 


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#9 of 10 Old 01-23-2012, 11:30 AM
 
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I think it depends on your kid and your family life and your home. Lots of good advice already. We have lived in small spaces all the time, so I pretty much know where my kids are all the time. None of them (so far-- the littlest is a baby) have been interested in using the toilet for anything other than a toilet, so not a problem. If I had a kid who was seeking water or obsessed with the toilet or something, I'd keep the door closed and the potty out in the play area.

 

Babyproofing really can only slow down a determined baby/toddler. You still have to monitor young children closely.

 

Also- adding- now that I have 3 kids it is harder to monitor each one as when I had one. So I might "babyproof" more than I did with my first, you know? (as others have said, most of my babyproofing is simply keeping things out of reach/out of sight)


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#10 of 10 Old 02-05-2012, 07:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for all of the thoughtful responses, everyone.  I'm definitely a "prepare for the worst-case scenario" kind of person, which makes babyproofing especially crazy-making.  The irony is that we still haven't done anything, out of uncertainty of what to do.  So far, we just keep the door closed. I've been thinking that the best solution may just be to put a baby gate in the entrance of each bathroom - then she can see what we are doing, but she can't come in unless we pick her up and put her there.  My instincts tell me that there isn't really anything in the bathroom that is particularly dangerous (although once she figures out how to turn on the water in the tub, I'll revise that opinion), but that she is always wanting to get her hands on the toilet or the trash can (or the dog food, which we moved into the second bathroom to keep it out of baby-reach), and so it would probably be best if we just kept her out of there generally and left her baby potty in the main living area for now.  Maybe when she is around 2 yrs we can let her go in and out of the bathroom herself?  I'll report back on how our ultimate solution works out... :)

 

We don't ever leave her unattended, but she's so fast that she can get into stuff within seconds.  I can't tell you how many times we've forgotten to shut the bathroom door where the dogfood is and have had to race over there and pull half a dozen pieces of dogfood from her mouth because she got there in the two seconds when we looked away...


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