Bathing Safety Basics
So how can you best bathe baby safely—even when you're in the tub with him?
- The most important rule is to maintain vigilant supervision immediately before, during, and after your bath. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that more children drown in bathtubs than in any other product in the home. In 2002 (the most recent year for collecting data), the CPSC reported that 69 children younger than the age of five drowned in tubs, and more than half of these children were younger than one year. The CPSC notes that babies and toddlers can drown even when seated in bath seats or rings—so keep your eye on your little one at all times.
- Be sure to get everything ready before you begin your bath: shampoo, washcloth, towels, soap, and tub toys. When bathing with your baby, have an infant seat in which to place your baby in while you get in and out of the tub or have your partner nearby to hand baby to you and take her when she's fresh and clean. Don't hold your baby as you get in and out of the tub since you could slip and fall.
- Check the tub area for things you do not want nearby, such as razors or shaving cream.
- Babies get chilled easily, so make sure the room is warm—ideally 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. You'll be more comfortable too, since you can't really sink down into the water.
- As you add water to the tub, run the cold water first to minimize the chance of scalding your baby. Always check the water temperature before bringing your little one into the tub. Remember to test the water with your elbow—what might feel normal to you in the tub is likely to be too hot for your baby.
- It bears repeating—to keep your baby safe during bath time, never leave him unattended. Let the phone ring, let the delivery man stop by at a later date, but don't leave your baby for even a moment. If you absolutely must get out of the tub and leave the room, bundle your little one in a towel and take him with you.
Next time your baby needs a rub-a-dub scrub, fill the tub with warm water and enjoy some together time with your child. Your little one will delight at sharing her experience with someone she adores!