Most of us are aware of water safety rules when around pools or lakes, but what about your nightly bath time routine? Babies and toddlers can be quick, and nearly any amount of water is enough for little ones to drown in, even as little as 1 inch. Here are seven essential tips to keep your kiddos safe during their bath time.
Because 1 inch of water can present a danger, never ever leave a child unattended when in the bathtub. This is especially important because when a child is drowning, it’s usually quiet, unlike what you see portrayed in the movies. If you need to step away from the bathroom for any reason, grab a towel and take your child with you. Even if they are in a bath seat or bath ring, they can still tip over and go under the water in a quick moment.
Do not run to the phone if it is ringing or to the door if someone knocks. The call or visitor can wait if you have an infant or toddler in the bathtub. This is especially important if you tend to scroll on social media and get easily distracted going down a rabbit hole, so put your phone away (preferably far away from the water so there are no accidents) and enjoy spending time with your child while they are bathing and having fun with their rubber duckies.
This will prevent you from having to leave the bathroom for any forgotten supplies. Whatever is part of your child’s routine – towels, toys, soap, shampoo – have it within reach and right next to the tub. A basket or waterproof bag is a great way to keep all your bath necessities in one place and ready for bath time fun! It also means that you won’t have to leave the bathroom at all.
Water safety begins at home with you, and avoiding a fall can help keep your child’s experiences with water positive. Firmly tell your child to sit down if they try to stand up. If they continue to disobey, take them out of the tub and conclude their bath time. Also, remind them not to run to and from the bathroom since water drops can make things slippery and cause a fall.
Additional ways to make the bathroom a safer place is to install preventative tools such as no-slip strips or non skid mats in the tub, install a cushioned cover over the faucet, and add a lock to the toilet and all cabinets. This will keep your child safe not just from water, but also from anything toxic or harmful that they could find in the bathroom cabinets or drawers.
You don’t want to put your baby or toddler in a scalding hot tub of water, nor do you want it to be icy cold. To prevent scalding, set your water heater to a maximum of 120°F (38.9°C). The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends checking the bath water by using your elbow or wrist to see how warm or cool it is before putting a child in the tub.
At Emler, we stress the importance of giving swimmers permission to enter the water to stop them from jumping in without an adult present and attentive. To signal it’s okay to get in, we use the words, “Ready, Go.” You might incorporate “Ready, Go” into your bath routine, too! It’ll help establish a routine and remind them of the importance of waiting for an adult’s consent to enter the water.
Feel free to make up a song or singsong phrase to communicate to your child what you are doing and to always remember this crucial step. When you are finished with bath time and are ready to leave the bathroom, remember to close the bathroom door and lock the safety latch so your little one can’t wander back in unsupervised.
These seven tips should help keep your babies and toddlers safe and enjoy their nightly bath time while splashing in the water. Remember to always stay right next to your child no matter what happens to keep them safe. And don’t forget the rubber duckies, bathtub crayons, and bubbles!