It’s easy to make bath time fun, but it’s also important to make it safe. With these tips, you can avoid slips, falls, bumps, burns, and potentially life-threatening accidents.
Whether you’re sponge-bathing your newborn or playing with your toddler in the big tub, the number-one bath time safety rule is to keep your eyes on your child at all times. Children can drown quickly and quietly in just an inch of water. Products like bath seats and rings can free up your hands to wash or play with your baby, but don’t rely on them to keep her safe. Have all supplies (washcloth, towel, soap, toys, etc.) within arm’s reach before you start the bath. If you must leave the room during bath time, take your child with you.
Babyproof the Tub
When your baby is ready for the big tub (once she can sit independently without toppling over), be sure it’s babyproofed. Just as you set up a safe home for your curious little one, you can minimize the risk of tub injuries by doing a few key things:
Put a non-slip pad on the bottom of the tub. This will protect her from slipping or falling and hurting herself on the hard tub surface. This is especially important for little ones learning to step in and out of the tub on their own.
Cover the faucet with a cushioned cover. This will prevent injury when your child inevitably bumps her head on the spout.
Keep electric appliances like hairdryers and curling irons away from the tub. These may cause electrical injury if they fall into water, so it’s best to keep them unplugged and stored when they’re not in use.
Monitor Water Temperature and Level
Be sure the water is not too hot. Babies’ skin is thinner than adults’ and burns more easily. There are 3 easy ways to prevent bath time burns: 1) Set your home’s water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (this can prevent major burns, but you still need to add cold water for a comfortable bathing temperature). 2) Fill the tub BEFORE you put your child in it, because water temperature can change while the water is running. 2) Run your forearm through the water before you put your child in the tub, checking for temperature AND potential hot spots.
Keep water level at 2-4 inches in infant tubs, and waist-high or lower in the big tub. Even if you’re watching your baby at all times, keeping the water level low helps prevent her from swallowing or choking on water.
Empty the tub as soon as the bath is over. This eliminates the possibility of a mobile baby accidentally falling into a tub with forgotten water in it.
Teach Your Child Bath Time Safety Rules
Teaching your child to follow these two simple rules helps keep her safe in the tub:
Stay seated. Aside from getting in and out, staying seated during bath time (rather than crawling, standing up and down, or “swimming” in the tub) is one of the best ways to avoid injury.
No touching the water handles. Turning water on and off can be mesmerizing for a curious little one with new fine motor skills! It’s risky, though, because they could turn on the hot water and burn themselves.
Now that you know how to keep bath time safe, head over to this article for step-by-step tips for bathing your baby. You can also read about the unique developmental benefits of bath time here.