Injury Research and Policy Bathtub and Shower Safety :: Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio

Bathtub and Shower Safety

Bathing is a part of every day life. However, many parents do not know that children can be seriously injured in bathtubs and showers. Every year, more than 43,000 children receive emergency treatment for bathtub- and shower-related injuries. Many of these injuries can be prevented by following the safety tips below.

Types of Bathtub and Shower Injuries

  • Children can drown in very small amounts of water.
  • Hot water can cause burns and scalds.
  • Slips, trips and falls can cause deep cuts, bumps and bruises, broken bones, and serious head injuries.

Who is Most at Risk?

  • More than half of all bathtub- and shower-related injuries occur to children younger than 5 years old.
  • 2-year-olds have the largest number of injuries.
  • Young children have little strength and when they fall, they tend to topple head first.  This causes young children to hurt their heads and faces more often than older children.

Bathtub and Shower Safety Tips

  • Never allow a young child to take a bath or shower without adult supervision.
  • Some parents think using a baby bath seat will keep their child safe, but baby bath seats do not prevent drowning.
  • Injury experts recommend NOT using baby bath seats.
  • Check the water temperature before placing your child in the bathtub or shower. Hot water scalds are the most common and most severe type of childhood burn.
  • Set the water heater thermostat to no higher than 120°F. Consider installing anti-scald devices on faucets to stop the flow of water if it gets too hot.
  • Install handholds inside of the bathtub or shower.
  • If your shower has a glass door, make sure it is shatterproof.
  • Get rid of sharp points and edges by using cushioned or rounded edges on all bath or shower fixtures.
  • Use slip-resistant mats inside and outside of the bathtub or shower.

Additional Bathtub and Shower Safety Information

Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000