There might not be a more terrifying moment for a parent than when their child locks themselves in the bathroom. Especially if that child is a toddler, visions of destruction, danger, and even death can flash before your eyes as you wonder how to get your child out of the bathroom. Breaking the door down might be your first thought, but there are other things you can try first that are less likely to traumatize your tyke and cost a fortune to repair.
Turn Off the Water Supply
Whether you’ve already started a bath or not, turn off the water supply to the bathroom. This may require shutting it off to the whole house, but it’s a huge step toward keeping your toddler safe. By turning off the water quickly, you prevent your little one from running water themselves and putting themselves at risk of drowning. If you’ve started running a bath for them, it also stops the tub from overflowing if you can’t get in quickly enough.
Look for Alternative Ways In
Some doorknobs come with visible screws that you can remove and take the doorknob off the door. Even if the screws aren’t visible, they may still be there. Removing the doorknob may be one of the quickest and easiest ways of regaining entry. If that doesn’t work, you can also try removing the hinges if the door opens outward instead of into the bathroom. You may also have a window in the bathroom that you’ve left unlocked or can otherwise manage to open more quickly than the door.
Call a Locksmith
Even as you’re trying other alternatives, begin calling local locksmiths. You’ll want to specifically look for locksmiths that offer emergency services, meaning that someone can be immediately dispatched to your home. Locksmiths have many tools and tricks that are tried and true for getting through any locked door quickly and with little to no damage.
Talk to Your Child
Depending on your toddler’s age and ability to understand, they may have accidentally locked the door and have no idea how they did it. But you may be able to talk them through the process of unlocking it for you, if you keep trying. Additionally, if you can keep them talking to you, you may distract them from any water that’s in the tub or sink or any fear they might be feeling.
One of the scariest things any parent will encounter is a situation where their child is potentially in danger, yet unreachable. The most important thing you can do when your child has locked themselves in the bathroom is remain calm. If all else fails, you can still break the door down. But if you try these tips, you probably won’t have to.
By Anita Ginsburg