How to Make Your Bathroom Safe for Everyone

The Most Dangerous Room in the House

Bathroom SafetyThere are dozens of dangerous products or accidents waiting to happen in your family bathroom, with drugs, cleaning products and cosmetics among the most dangerous.

Here are some of the bathroom dangers parents need to be aware of:


Misuse of prescription drugs, particularly analgesics and sleeping pills, account for more than half of the 3 million poisonings each year. Vitamins and iron supplements are particularly toxic to children, and many resemble candy. Poisoning can also occur from the following:

Cleaning products – Ammonia and bleach mixed together make a potentially deadly gas. Either one by itself can irritate your eyes and nose, burn skin and cause respiratory complications. Many drain cleaners will burn skin if touched. If ingested, these corrosive products can have fatal consequences. Air fresheners usually contain either phenol or formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, and phenol can cause convulsions, circulatory collapse and death. If it gets on your skin, it can cause burning, swelling, peeling or hives.

Cosmetics – Overexposure to hair spray and deodorants can cause serious illness or injury. New studies are showing that many artificial nail products, particularly nail primers, can cause severe burns.

Mildew – Although not strictly poisonous, molds and mildews are inevitable in a warm, moist environment. If anyone in your family suffers from frequent respiratory infections, asthma or bronchitis, exposure to mold spores and mildew may be the underlying cause, or it may make symptoms worse.

Safety Precautions:

Store medicines out of children’s reach or locked away from children, including young visitors.

Never put harmful products in unmarked containers.

Keep Syrup of Ipecac in your home.

Place your travel kit in a safe place upon returning home.


Tubs, showers and wet floors can be slippery, and if you fall in such an enclosed space, you’re much more likely to hit your head or fracture a wrist or hip on your way down. Bathmats and “throw” rugs can cause you to trip or slide. Use non-skid rugs and mats on the bathroom floor.

Safety Precautions:

Attach double-sided carpet tape or put rubber anti-skid mats under small rugs.

Install grab bars, which provide additional safety if they’re firmly attached to a wall stud and not just screwed into the sheetrock.

Never use glazed ceramic tile on a bathroom floor.


Electrical Shocks

Bathrooms house many electric appliances, which can cause electrocution if they fall into a tub or sink filled with water. Frayed or damaged cords on electric appliances are another danger, particularly when they lie on a wet countertop.

Safety Precautions:

Make sure electric appliances are unplugged and positioned away from all water when not in use.

Never use these appliances near water.

Install ground-default circuit breaker outlets in bathrooms.


Sharp items abound in bathrooms. Razors, in particular, are a leading cause of bathroom injuries. Mirrors and drinking glasses can also break into sharp shards.

Safety Precautions:

Keep razors and other sharp items in a child-proof drawer or cabinet. 


Hot water from the tap that is more than 120˚F or more can cause first-degree burns or scalds.

Lower the temperature setting on your water heater.

Install anti-scald devices in your tub spout and shower head.

Use knob covers over faucets to prevent children from turning on hot water.


The National SAFE KIDS Campaign