Bath time can be a fun, special time to share with your baby. It’s also a time for caution, though. Keep these bathing tips in mind so your little one stays safe while he gets squeaky clean:
- The first and most important rule is this: Never, ever leave your baby unsupervised, even for a minute. Children can drown in less than an inch of water. So gather all the supplies (soap, towel, clean diaper, clean clothes, etc.) you’ll need ahead of time, and 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). Babies can get chilled quickly.
- Don’t put your baby into a tub when the water is still running. (The water temperature could change or the water could get too deep.)
- 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 can protect your baby’s head from 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.
- For kids who can sit up, a bath ring may provide you with an extra “hand.” But don’t let it give you a false sense of security—babies can tip over or get trapped under them, so it’s no substitute for keeping your eye and a hand on your baby at all times.
- Teach your baby not to stand in the tub.
- Wash your baby in plain water if you want to, as long as you clean the diaper zone and skin folds well. Soaps and shampoos can dry your baby’s skin and may cause rashes. If you do use soap, choose a mild one designed for babies and use it sparingly. To avoid having your baby sit too long in soapy water, play at the beginning of the bath and save the soap and shampoo for the end.
- Don’t use bubble baths. They may be irritating to the urethra, which in turn might increase the risk of urinary tract infections.
- Set your water heater to 120 degrees F. It takes just three seconds for a child to get third-degree burns from water that is 140 degrees F – the default setting on many hot water heaters when they leave the factory.
- Don’t allow your child to touch the faucet handles. Even if he can’t move them now, he’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 his back to the faucets.)
- Keep electric appliances (like hair dryers and curling irons) away from the tub.
article adapted from babycenter.com