His own personal water fountain may be making your water bill soar.

How to Childproof a Spigot

by Rosenya Faith

It's not his fault – he needs the water to make his mud pies and the water makes such perfect puddles for puddle-jumping, too! With that explanation, how can you possibly stay mad? Unfortunately, when youngsters tamper with outdoor spigots, the water bill can come as quite a shock -- especially if he forgets to mention he turned the water on in the first place. The good news is you can childproof the spigot and encourage your little munchkin to enjoy his water play during bath time instead. While you're at it, invest a bit of time inside, too, with bathtub and kitchen faucet childproofing to keep your little mud pie-maker safe.

Outdoor Spigot

Pick up a hose bibb lock from a local plumbing supply store. The end of your outdoor spigot is actually called a hose bibb. This is the part you need to lock to make it childproof and keep your little munchkin from playing with the water.

Slide the hose bibb lock onto the end of the spigot; remember, this is the hose bibb. Slide the key into the lock. The lock comes with a little key that's magnetized to lock the device. There's a little keyhole on the side of the lock, just below the top edge. Just slide the key into this hole.

Screw the lock onto the hose bibb with the key still inserted into the keyhole. Keep turning until the lock is on there nice and snug.

Remove the key from the lock. Just pull back gently and the key won't give you any resistance. That's it -- no more sky-high water bills from your little chef's mud pie making adventures.

Indoor Faucet

Lower the temperature on your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This keeps the water hot enough to prevent bacterial growth in the tank, while low enough to prevent severe hot water scalds.

Have an anti-scald shower valve installed for the bathtub's faucet. It's designed to keep the water at a safe temperature all the time. The valve compensates for water pressure changes when you flush the toilet or run the cold water elsewhere by reducing the pressure from the hot water pipe to match the cold water flow, thus maintaining an even, safe temperature. This valve is installed professionally on the pipes behind the bathtub faucet in the walls. You can also have these valves installed on any other faucet in the house as well, such as kitchen and bathroom sink faucets.

Cover the bathtub faucet with a protective spout cover. These just slip over the faucet and are made of soft material to help protect your tot's head if he slips in the tub.

Pick up a protective spout cover with a built-in thermometer. With one of these, your youngster's head is protected if he slips or falls and you can see the exact temperature of the water at all times. You might know the anti-scald valve is on there, but it's always reassuring to see it working firsthand.

Items you will need

  • Hose bibb lock
  • Anti-scald shower valve
  • Protective spout cover


  • How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding and Maintaining Your Home; Charlie Wing
  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to Simple Home Improvements; David J. Tenenbaum

About the Author

Rosenya Faith has been working with children since the age of 16 as a swimming instructor and dance instructor. For more than 14 years she has worked as a recreation and skill development leader, an early childhood educator and a teaching assistant, working in elementary schools and with special needs children between 4 and 11 years of age.

Photo Credits

  • Photo and Co/Lifesize/Getty Images