Bathing your baby can be a special part of the day—you can sing songs, enjoy your babe's sweet coos and smiles and marvel at how much she's grown. But bath time can also be scary because a wet baby is very slippery! These five tips will help keep your baby safe.
“If we were only to discuss one thing about bath time, it would be supervision,” says Stephanie Cowle, health promotion coordinator at Parachute Canada, a national charitable organization dedicated to preventing injuries. “When there is water present, children need to be supervised at all times.” A baby can drown in just an inch or two of water, and in a matter of seconds, says Cowle, and drowning can often be silent. An adult should always be within sight and reach of kids during bath time, she adds. “Don’t rely on another child, like a sibling.”
Preparation is key. Make a checklist of items you’ll need on hand and be sure they’re within reaching distance of you and the tub. This should include towels, soap, shampoo, a diaper and a change of clothing for baby. “Even if you walk across the bathroom for something, you’re not within arm’s length, and in a split second that can make a big difference,” says Cowle. If, for whatever reason, you need to leave the room completely, bring baby with you.
Fill the bathtub and make sure the water is the right temperature before placing your baby in the tub. Remember that a child’s skin is much more sensitive and burns faster than an adult’s. Water should be lukewarm. Make sure to swirl the water around with your hand, to prevent hot pockets from forming, and test water temperature using your wrist, elbow or forearm. “You can also check your water heater manual to see how to adjust maximum water temperature limits,” says Cowle. “If you have it set a little lower, you’re helping to prevent scalding.”
Cowle recommends products like tap guards, which prevent older babies from accidentally turning on hot taps on their own, and padded spout covers to protect your baby from the sharp edges of the bath spout.
With all that splashing and pouring, it’s inevitable that water ends up around the tub or sink. Prevent your own slips or falls (dangerous for you, and for baby if you’re carrying her) by wiping up spills with towels and using non-slip mats on the floor.