Saving you and them a messy headache down the road.
Kids are curious. That’s just a fact of life. But when it comes to their favorite doll swimming in the toilet, it may be time to teach them some plumbing safety. Not only should you show your kids what to do and not do, but also safety measures they can take in case of an emergency.
Safety First: Water Valve
With age, kids will find themselves at home alone more and more. So, they need to know where the water valve is to shut off in case of an emergency; ranging from a flooded basement, a leaking roof, or an overflowing toilet. Whatever the case, knowing where that valve is and how to shut it off is important.
If you don’t know where your valve is, check the basement (if you have one). It will more than likely not be under the sink. It is also typically inside the house to prevent it from freezing during the winter. If you still can’t find it, here are several tips for locating it.
Safety First: Tools for the Job
Early on, it’s important to teach kids the difference between plumbing, carpentry, and mechanic’s tools. Common tools for the job include a basin wrench, plunger, plumber or drain snake, and a pipe wrench. Like changing a tire, knowing how to use these tools can stop or prevent a future accident.
Safety First: Toilet and Sink are Backed Up
How to identify and remedy a backed up sink and toilet can be taught to your kids as early as when they start to talk. A bowl of water in two or more rooms is a curious toddler’s dream. It’s like bath time, right? All the toys can go in the bowl? For every parent screaming “No!” right now, here’s what you need to do: tell your kids what can and cannot go in the toilet. Yes, it’s fun to see Barbie or G. I. Joe swimming, but not in the toilet.
Parents, don’t flush baby wipes – even if the packaging says they can be. They won’t break down like toilet paper will and you’ll be looking at a backed-up sewage tank. You also don’t want to put cotton swabs or Q-tips in there. Ladies, no feminine hygiene products! They will eventually cause septic tank issues and could cost you thousands of dollars.
Take the same approach to the garbage disposal as you would with the toilet. Much like the toilet, several things don’t belong in your garbage disposal. Kids that are more creative in their destruction will enjoy the sound of the grinder tearing up the food that’s down there, but not everything is good for the disposal or your pipes. Any fibrous vegetable like celery, bones, coffee grounds, eggshells, grease, and pasta are some of the many things that don’t go down the disposal.
For a complete list, click here.
Safety First: Water Heater
Your child should know how to turn off the water heater. This is especially important if your home has a gas water heater. If it’s electric, there should be a breaker in the panel box that can shut it off with the flick of a switch.
Another safety issue with water heaters is storage. Teach your kids what can and cannot be stored by the water heater. Toys, combustible items, paints, and solvents can start a fire if they’re stored to close to the water heater.