Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 5: Facilities, Supplies, Equipment, and Environmental Health

5.4 Space and Equipment in Designated Areas

5.4.3 Bathtubs and Showers Safety of Bathtubs and Showers

All bathing facilities should have a conveniently located grab bar that is mounted at a height appropriate for a child to use. Nonskid surfaces should be provided in all tubs and showers. Bathtubs should be equipped with a mechanism to guarantee that drains are kept open at all times, except during supervised use. Water temperature should not exceed 120°F and anti-scald devices should be permanently installed in the faucet and shower head.
Falls in tubs are a well-documented source of injury according to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) data collected by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) (2). Grab bars and nonslip surfaces reduce this risk (2). Drowning and falls in bathtubs are also a significant cause of injury for young children and children with disabilities (1,2). An open drain will prevent a pool of water from forming if a child turns on a water faucet and, therefore, will prevent a potential drowning situation. Bathtub water comprises the leading cause of scalds for young children (2). Water heated to temperatures greater than 120°F takes less than thirty seconds to burn the skin (2).
Various inexpensive devices to check water temperature are available at stores and on the Internet.
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
  1. Gipson, K. 2009. Submersions related to non-pool and non-spa products, 2008 report. Washington, DC: CPSC.
  2. D’Souza, A. L., N. G. Nelson, L. B. McKenzie. 2009. Pediatric burn injuries treated in US emergency departments between 1990 and 2006. Pediatrics 124:1424-30.