toilet seatParents, there's a little-known threat to your children we need to discuss. It's almost too horrible to mention, but -- did you know toilet seats are attacking little boys' penises at an increasing rate? Maybe I could have phrased that better. A new study shows that injuries caused by toilet seats falling down on boys' penises are on the rise. This happens to adult men, too, but mostly it's happening to little guys who have just learned how to pee standing up. And it's sending some of them to the emergency room.

As the mother of a little guy, OUCH. This concerns me. Maybe seat safety should become part of toilet training for boys?

Between 2002 and 2010 there were 13,175 genital injuries that sent people to the emergency room. Of those, 68 percent involved someone's penis getting crushed between the toilet seat and bowl. And of those, 97 percent were for little boys under the age of seven. So -- now you get the picture. It's rare, but you wouldn't want it to happen to your son, would you?

So I've been thinking about how parents can teach their boys to prevent these accidents. Here's a few ideas.

1. When boys are big enough to use the regular toilet, make them aware (without scaring them) that this is something that could happen to them if they're not careful.

2. Get them into the habit of holding the seat up with one hand. (Will that work? Or will that distraction keep them from holding onto the fire hose with their other hand and create more of a mess to clean up? I guess we'll just have to try it out and see.)

3. Teach your son to gently lower the seat back down only after he's completely finished every last drop and put his penis back away in a safe place. Rushing through it all can cause painful accidents, too.

Kids (of both genders) can be hasty and impatient with their bathroom habits as it is -- this seems like a good excuse to teach them to slow down in general. Is it optimistic of me to think teaching boys to be aware of falling toilet seats could actually lead to cleaner bathrooms? Probably. But it's worth a try.

Has your son ever been crushed by a falling toilet seat?

 

Image via macaron*macaron/Flickr