Having a baby changes everything, even the way you use your plumbing system. If you don’t take the proper precautions, your plumbing system could harm your little one, or your little one could damage your plumbing. Get started by following these seven plumbing tips for new parents.
1. Don’t Flush Baby Wipes
After you wipe your baby’s bottom, tossing the wipe into the toilet may be convenient. However, this habit is very dangerous for your plumbing. Unlike toilet paper, which breaks down very quickly, wipes can stay intact for weeks or even months. So, if wipes get caught in your sewer pipes, you could end up with a major clog and sewage backups.
Put baby wipes into the trash can rather than the toilet. Many parents find that wrapping the used wipes up inside the diaper helps minimize odors. There are also odor-resistant cans that you can use to hold dirty diapers and wipes.
2. Put a Lock on the Toilet
Locking your toilet helps ensure the safety of your baby and your plumbing. It prevents your child from falling into the toilet and drowning while also preventing them from dropping toys or other items into the bowl.
There are numerous styles of toilet locks on the market, and it may take some time to find one that fits your toilet model. If you’re struggling to find the right one, try using a baby latch—the same type you’d put on a cabinet or fridge—to latch down the toilet seat.
3. Install Anti-Scald Devices on Faucets
Once your little one starts washing his or her hands, you need to ensure the water does not get hot enough to scald them. The easiest way to protect their little hands is by installing an anti-scald device on each of your faucets.
An anti-scald device is a special type of valve that regulates the temperature of the water that comes out of the faucet. Some work by mixing hot and cold water in a chamber, which is fitted with a thermostat, and releasing the water through the faucet when it’s at a safe temperature. Others respond to hot and cold water pressure; they adjust to limit the flow of hot water if the cold water pressure ever drops.
A plumbing company like Custom Comfort can come fit your faucets with anti-scald devices. It’s a rather simple process that they should be able to complete within a few hours.
4. Replace Your Shower’s Mixing Valve to Prevent Hot Water Surges
Does your shower get extra hot when someone flushes the toilet or uses cold water elsewhere in the home? This could be dangerous if you wash your child in the shower or tub.
Have your plumber come address the issue by replacing your shower’s mixing valve. A thermostatic mixing valve, which is similar to anti-scald devices used in faucets, automatically reduces the amount of hot water that’s released if cold water pressure fails.
5. Install GCFIs in Bathrooms and Kitchens
A GFCI is a type of electrical outlet that constantly monitors the flow of electricity and stops the flow if there is any loss of current. Essentially, it prevents someone, such as your child, from suffering an electrical shock if they accidentally touch a wire and water at the same time. A GFCI could prevent electrocution if your child were to drop a plugged-in toaster in a sink of water, for instance.
Most building codes require CFCIs in the bathrooms and kitchens of new homes, but if you have an older home, your outlets may not have them. It’s a good idea to switch them over before your child is old enough to use the water.
6. Keep Baskets in Your Drains
If your drains don’t already have baskets in them, it’s time to make the change. You can find inexpensive plastic sink baskets at most dollar stores, and if you pay just a few dollars more, you can purchase some really nice metal ones from a hardware or home improvement store.
Sink baskets stop small items from going down the drain. So, if your child drops a small toy, a candy wrapper, or tissues into the sink, you won’t end up with a clog.
7. Install a Water Softener If Needed
Have you noticed mineral buildup on your faucets? Maybe your soap does not lather well and your family members are all prone to dry skin. These are all signs that you have hard water, which is water with a high concentration of dissolved calcium and magnesium.
It’s a good idea to have a water softener installed now that you have a child. The water softener will remove minerals from the water as it enters your home so that all of the water coming from your faucets has a healthier mineral concentration. Soft water will keep your baby’s skin softer, leave their clothes softer after laundering, and make baby soaps and shampoos easier to lather.
If you follow the plumbing tips above, your child will be protected from most plumbing-related hazards. You’ll also reduce your chances of having to call the plumber for a clog, sewage backup, or other plumbing emergency caused by your child’s actions.