As parents, we all have our fears. Some parents are terrified of head injuries, choking, or rolling off the bed. For me, it was bath time. But with some education and helpful tips, I've learned how to be as safe as possible even have a little fun, too. 🛁🐥 This January is national bath safety month, so we wanted to share some tips with the parents and soon-to-be-parents in our Curious Baby community.
Your Brain Changes When You Become a Parent
After recently watching a Netflix documentary "Babies", I learned that when a mother experiences birth, a part of her brain (the amygdala) changes forever. This change activates that sense of "mom-anxiety" and gives us the joy of worry about our little ones, no matter what they do or where they are :) (The same happens with dads and adoptive parents, too!)
In our home, my amygdala shift has given way to being completely terrified of losing my child in a water accident. Whenever I had a chance to skip a bath and let my husband do it, I was so much more at peace and relaxed .
While still is something that I worry about, I've found ways to help reduce my anxiety around it. First, it was educating myself on everything I could do to be safe in the bath. And second, one ironic thing that helped was signing up for Baby & Me swim lessons.
Excuse the digression, but spending time in the water together and teaching my little one how to hold her breath with a lifeguard present was one of the best things for both of us. If you're a mom that's terrified of water, consider opting into some swim lessons to help build your confidence in the water together.
Back to my main point here. January is National Bath Safety Month, so we're sharing helpful tips for making bath time as safe as possible. We all know that drowning can happen in only an inch of water, which is why it's so important that parents and caregivers know how to prevent accidents in the bath.
Prevention is key 🔑
Here are some ways to prevent bathing accidents (Adapted from Medlineplus.gov)
- Keep close to your children when they are in the tub so that you can catch them and hold them in case they fall
- Use a non-skid bath mat for the floor of your tub to prevent slipping (We use this one in our bath and have liked it)
- Use toys in the tub to keep your child busy and sitting down, and away from the faucet (See below for our bath toy recommendations)
- Ensure the water temp is below 120°F (48.9°C) to prevent burns. (We used our meat thermometer to check in the early days to be extra safe--use what you've got, right!)
- Keep all sharp objects, such as razors and scissors, out of your child's reach.
- Unplug all electric items, such as hair dryers and radios.
- Empty the tub after bath time is over.
- Keep the floor and your child's feet dry to prevent slipping
Extra Tips for Newborns
Here are some extra considerations if you have a newborn in your home
(Adapted from Medlineplus.gov)
- Prepare ahead of time. Have a towel ready to dry baby and keep her warm after your bath
- Keep your baby's umbilical cord dry
- Use warm, not hot, water. Place your elbow under the water to check temperature. Again, we used a meat thermometer to check in the early days till we got the hang of 'feeling out' the water temperature.
Wash your baby's head last so that her head does not get too cold.
Bathe your baby every 3 days. (We bathed our baby more often than this during her first year as we incorporated a warm bath as part of her bedtime routine. It's up to you and your baby's pediatrician to recommend how often you should bathe your baby.)
Things that help make our bath time easier
- Everyday cups and kitchen items from around your house. No need to spend money on extra toys for the bath. Just some plastic baby bottle parts, or kitchen cups can keep baby occupied as good as store-bought toys. If you're on a low budget, choose a plastic tumbler or cup with a lid to take on/off for entertainment. As your little one grows up, it makes it 'fun' pre-bath activity for them to choose an (safe) item from the kitchen to bring up to their bath. (Note: NEVER bring glass kitchen items into the bath).
- Bath-Toys: If you choose to buy new toys for the bath, make sure that they have the ability to drain so that you don't build up any mold or store water that can build bacteria. If you haven't heard about mold from bringing Sophie le Giraffe into the bath, take a quick read! Some of the toys we love are these alphabet letters, this whale cup, and some cheap bath crayons (these won't last but they are worth it in the fun they bring). Other than that, it's just cups and random things that end up in the bath.
- Water Spout Cover: This soft cover prevents baby from falling or knocking their head on the water spout. I've always liked having this in our bath because our tub spout is super sharp on the edges.
- Sensitive Skin Lotions: If you have a baby with Eczema or sensitive skin you might want to try and find specific soaps and a special a lotion for after-bath time. We tried a lot with our second baby and nothing cleared up his eczema like these Aveeno oatmeal bath packets. We highly recommend them at bath time. And afterwards we use the "Night Therapy" lotion. (Don't choose these products if your baby has an allergy to oatmeal).
- Scrub-Bee: This is such a fun little bath scrubber (invented by a mom and a good friend of Curious Baby!) will help you make bubbles and bath time fun. And it helps grab dirt and food from under those tiny little fingernails. We love recommending great products made by parents and supporting their awesome small business like hers. There are also so many uses for these little Scrub-bees around the house, too! Visit Big Bee Little Bee's Site.
- Suction-Handle Bar: This isn't really intended to be made for babies, but we really liked using it when our kids started pulling up. They wanted to stand in the bath, and having a safe handle for them to grab onto made it a lot easier and safer for us than grabbing onto the slippery tub.
- Don't forget about bubbles! You can make your own with some simple recipes, or if you're short on time, we recommend this fragrance-free BabyGanics Bubble Bath.
- Get Comfortable: One key to being safe at bath time is making sure you're comfortable so that you can kneel over the side without causing pain to your knees. A no-cost option is to grab a bath or beach towel and put it under your knees. If you prefer to buy one, we use this foam mat in our bathroom. It's lasted for almost 3 years now, and sometimes I also put a towel on top of it for extra cushioning.
Pass it on!
Please share our post with any grandparents or caregivers that might need a refresher on how to safely bathe your baby if they are helping during these challenging times.
It's so important to never leave a baby or child unattended in the bath and we hope this helps set some good boundaries for parents just starting out. And don't forget to have fun in the bath, too :) 🛀
Have any other tips we didn't mention for bath safety? Share them below in our comments! Curious about how we approach safety? We recommend all parents read our safety pointers before and after purchasing our activity cards.
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