11 Essential Bath Safety Tips for Infants & Toddlers
Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children under four years old, which is why bath safety is so important. Our simple guidelines help ensure that bathtime is safe, relaxing and fun.
Childhood bathtime is synonymous with clouds of bubbles, playful water toys and warm, soothing water. However, bath safety precautions are essential to prevent injuries or worse, drowning, which can happen in the time it takes for you to walk down the hall, grab a towel and return to the tub.
Here are 11 simple guidelines to consider before, during and after bathtime to keep your little ones safe and healthy:
Maintain constant supervision
All it takes is a few inches of water and the time it takes to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (20 seconds) for a child to drown, which is why constant supervision is of paramount importance. Never, ever leave the bathtub while you’re giving your child a bath, even if they’re seemingly secure on bath rings or seats. If you need to leave the bath for any reason, bundle up your child in a towel and take them with you.
2. Check water temperature
Baby skin is very tender and more prone to scalding than that of adults. Adjust your water heater, if possible so the hottest temperature is no more than 120°F (48.9°C). Test the water with your wrists or elbow to make sure it’s not too hot. Keep your child away from the bath water until it reaches a comfortable temperature.
3. Prevent slips and falls
As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Install no-slip strips to minimize sliding and a cushioned cover to protect your child from getting hurt if they accidentally bump against the faucet. Teach your child to sit and not stand in the bath. When they’re ready to come out, help support them.
4. Don’t overfill the tub
As a rule of thumb, fill the tub only until it reaches your child’s belly button, giving them enough water in which to wash and play. Filling up the tub to the top can be hazardous, since it’s easier for your child to accidentally submerge under water.
5. Break out the bubbles — every now and then
Bubble baths instantly liven up bathtime, but too much of a good thing can irritate tender skin. Harsh detergents can also affect the urethra, increasing the risk of urinary tract infections in girls. Check to make sure the soap is formulated for sensitive skin and use it sparingly.
6. Protect skin with baby shampoo
Use a gentle shampoo that’s free of chemicals and synthetic fragrances, and made expressly for children’s skin. Plus, a little goes a long way! Our assortment of soothing, plant-based shampoos and body washes gently cleanse while moisturizing.
7. Keep small hands away from faucet
After pouring the bath, the metal faucet can remain hot to the touch. As a precaution, pour some cold water through it, then place a faucet cover or washcloth over the faucet to prevent little fingers from touching the hot metal.
8. Make sure everything you need is within reach
Before your child enters the bath, check that towels, shampoo and bath toys are all within arm’s reach. Keeping everyday items in a bathroom shelf or cabinet makes them easy to retrieve. As mentioned above, do not, under any circumstances, leave your child in the tub unsupervised.
9. Select bath toys with care
Take note: not all rubber duckies are created equal. When selecting bath toys, make sure they’re made from sustainable, non-toxic materials. Avoid toys with valves, since they can absorb bacteria-forming water if they’re not fully drained and dried after each bath. Also, make sure the toys big enough not to present a potential choking hazard, since kids naturally love to suck and chew on squeezable bath toys.
10. Drain the bath immediately after use
While this tip is logical, it’s easy to forget to drain the tub when we’re busy drying off our kids, then getting them dressed and ready for bed. As soon as you take the kids out of the tub, make it a habit to pull the plug and completely empty the tub. Dry everything thoroughly before putting them away to prevent mold and mildew.
11. Keep towels at the ready
We all know what it feels like to step out of a warm, cozy bath and be pelted with a blast of cold air. Keep a fresh, dry towel or two at hand to wrap around your child as soon as they get out of the tub. Hooded towels help prevent added heat loss, while natural fabrics like cotton and bamboo provide breathable warmth and absorbency and feel soft against the skin.
After bathtime, close the bathroom door behind you to prevent your child from wandering inside and exploring other water sources like the toilet and sink. Then get cozy and enjoy cuddle and reading time together with a favorite book or two (or three).