Bath Safety for Babies and Toddlers

Bath time for little ones is a time to relax, have fun, play with some bubbles and sing songs.  Taking the time to remove potential hazards from the bathroom is an important step to making sure that bath time stays safe and fun.  Providing age-appropriate supervision is the other essential element of bath time safety for little kids.  Here are some steps you can take to avoid the main bath hazards: electrocution, drowning, burns, slips and falls.

Preventing Electrocution in the Bath

Bathrooms are often the room where families use small, handheld electrical appliances such as shavers, blowdryers, hair irons and radios.  However, using these appliances or storing them where they might accidentally fall into the bath water while plugged in is a risk for accidental electrocution.  If possible, move all electrical appliances to plugs in bedrooms instead of the bathroom.  If you must use an appliance in the bathroom, install a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlet and test it regularly.

Reduce Drowning Risk for Young Children

Keeping a baby or young child safe in the bath means that they must be supervised the entire time they are in the bath water.  Children can drown in a couple of inches of water and only a few moments of time, so it’s not worth it to take the risk by leaving your child unattended in the bath.  Even preschoolers and kindergartners still need some supervision, as they could slip while standing up, fall and knock themselves unconscious.  Supervision also helps prevent other injuries caused by slipping and falling, especially when getting in and out of the tub.

Water Temperature Safety

Burns and scalding may happen in the bath, either by a parent running a bath that’s too hot for their child’s skin, or by a child playing with the taps and accidentally turning on the hot water.  Preventing scalds and burns in the bath is relatively easy – just adjust your hot water heater’s thermostat so the water is no hotter than 120 degrees F, or 49 degrees C.

It may seem like a chore to sit with a 4 year old who seems old enough to stay upright in the bath on his own, but you don’t have to hover over the side of the tub the entire time unless you really want to play boats and patty cake.  Just being there in the bathroom and being aware of what your kids are doing in the bath may be enough supervision for their stage of development.  Supervision together with making small changes such as blowdrying your hair in the bedroom or turning your water heater down will help keep kids safe at bath time.

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