Feb 16 , 2020
Bath time can be a fun, special time to share with your little one. It's also a time for caution. Remember these bathing tips to keep your child safe while getting squeaky clean:
- The first and most important rule is this: Never, ever leave your baby or toddler unsupervised, even for a minute. Children can drown in less than an inch of water. So, before you start, gather all the supplies (soap, towel, clean diaper, clean clothes, etc.) you'll need. Always keep at least one hand on your baby while he's in the water. If the doorbell or phone rings and you feel you must answer it, scoop up your baby in a towel and take him with you.
- Make sure the bathroom is comfortably warm (around 75 degrees F or 25 degrees C), because little ones can get chilled quickly.
- Don't put your baby or toddler into a tub when the water is still running. (The water temperature could change or the water could get too deep. Also, the sound of rushing water can be too intense for some babies.)
- Make the family tub safe. Bathtubs are incredibly slippery, so outfit yours with a rubber bath mat for more secure seating. A cushioned spout cover or strategically wrapped hand towel can protect against painful bumps. Also, be sure that any sliding glass shower doors are made from safety glass.
- Make the bathwater comfortably warm. Test it with your wrist or the inside of your elbow to make sure it's not too hot. Babies and toddlers generally prefer a much cooler tub than you probably do.
- Fill the tub with only 2 to 4 inches of water for babies and no more than waist-high (when sitting) for toddlers and older children.
- Teach your child not to stand in the tub.
- Wash your little one in plain water if you want to, as long as you clean the diaper zone and skin folds well. Soaps and shampoos can dry out baby-soft skin and may cause rashes. If you use soap, choose a mild one designed for babies or toddlers and use it sparingly. To avoid having your child sit too long in soapy water, play at the beginning of the bath and save the soap and shampoo for the end.
- Avoid bubble baths, which can irritate the urethra and increase the risk of urinary tract infections.
- Set your water heater to 120 degrees F (50 degrees C). It takes just two seconds for a child to receive third-degree burns from water that is 150 degrees (65 degrees C) and five seconds if it is 140 degrees (60 degrees C), the temperatures at which hot water heaters often leave the factory. Don't allow your child to touch the faucet handles. Even if your baby is too small to move them now, she'll be strong enough to do so eventually – and that could lead to serious injury. (You might try putting your baby in the tub with her back to the faucets.)
- Keep electric appliances (like hair dryers and curling irons) away from the tub.