Pediatric Bathroom Safety Equipment for Special Needs Children
The term Pediatric Bathroom Safety alone may raise some questions. What exactly is “Bathroom Safety”? Is this just an industry term for bath seats and grab bars? How does it apply to children? If this is what you are thinking, you have valid reason. Typically Bathroom Safety is terminology used for elderly persons or persons thought to be at risk when living independently. That said, bathroom safety does apply to special needs children as well. Here’s why:
Understanding the Need for Pediatric Bathroom Safety
Children with decreased muscle tend to be more fragile and this means they require more protection whether in the tub or toileting. Children who exhibit tremors or indications of seizures require a greater need for support to prevent risk of injury. Limitations in trunk support also present a need for positioning which creates safer caregiving practices for parents or healthcare workers as well. Bathrooms also tend to build up with steam causing wetter surfaces which in turn cause risk of falls for the caregiver. The less lifting that can be done in these conditions the safer it is for both the child and the guardian.
What to look for when choosing Bathroom Safety Products for Children
Pediatric Bathroom Safety products thankfully do come in a variety of configurations which can suit a number of needs. Things to consider are:
- Will the child be toilet trained?Bathroom Safety Products such as the Rifton Blue Wave Toileting System allow you to convert the equipment for use in the shower off of the toilet, over the toilet, or remove the base for use on top of the toilet. This kind of versatility can save the need for multiple pediatric bathroom products.
- Toileting or Bathing?Most pediatric bathroom products can be used for both toileting and bathing however some offer more adaptation than others. For parents who are using the product for both applications money can be saved by choosing a dual function device. Snug Seat’s Swan offers limited toileting minimal adjustment for positioning but does accommodate for tilt-in-space.
- What does optimum positioning look like for the child?You may need to be able to tilt the child for better caregiver access or for positioning the child. The Rifton HTS provides full tilt maneuverability. It also offers a variety of accessories to help customize the amount of support required. Rifton has done a great job explaining the difference between the Blue Wave Toileting System and the Rifton HTS for those who may be wondering about the different features of each.
- Tub or Shower?Using a product in the tub obviously presents a new set of challenges over using products in a shower. Tubs mean that the caregiver will need to lift and lower the child in and out of the tub. Addressing the size of the tub that is being used will be necessary in determining the best product for the job. You’ll also want to consider how much recline you want to see for the child and of course look at what the child’s ability is like in terms of range of motion, tone, and positioning. The Manatee Bath Seat provides an option to recline and support for children from youth up to young adult ages.
- What about Growth Spurts?Choosing a product that can be adjusted for size as your child grows will help to remove some of the financial burden that accompanies the need for adaptive pediatric bathroom equipment. The Blue Wave Toileting System is a great example again to go by for an application that will grow with a child.
In conclusion, pediatric bathroom safety products need to remain focused on two purposes. The first objective is to keep the child safe and secondly to accommodate for the safety of the caregiver. Looking for products that can crossover and provide multiple applications or that can grow or adapt to future needs can help to provide needed cost savings in the process. A pediatric product consultant will work with your occupational therapist to help identify the best avenue for you and your child.