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Baby Bathing Tips for National Bath Safety Month

Baby Bathing Tips for National Bath Safety Month

Did you know that January is National Bath Safety Month? Water combined with smooth, hard surfaces can turns sink, bathtubs and floors into risky environments for all of us, especially for babies and young children. So what are some steps you can take to make bath time safer and less scary for your baby?

Avoid soaking your newborn for the first week or two, until the umbilical cord stump falls off. Just give your newborn a sponge bath; keep the infant wrapped in a towel to stay warm and wash one limb at a time. The cord can become infected, so keep it clean and dry until it falls off.

Once the baby has lost the stump, you can set up a washing station and begin bathing with more water. This can be in a sink lined with a padded surface, or a plastic tub with a sling placed in the bathtub. Whatever set-up you decide on, be sure the washing station is on a steady surface and keep the baby’s head away from the faucet. Line up everything you’ll need for the bath, including a couple of soft towels, mild cleanser, and a washcloth and make sure everything is within easy reach.

Keep the room warm and keep the water in the tub lukewarm and only about three inches deep. When checking the temperature of the water, submerge your hand up to your wrist to get a real sense of how warm it is. And make sure the water isn’t running. You don’t want to run the risk of the water temperature suddenly changing and scalding the baby.

Use a cup or pitcher to wet and rinse your baby. It isn’t as overwhelming for your little one as having water gush out of a faucet. Use a very mild, tear-free cleanser and don’t overdo.

Always keep one hand on the baby. Newborns are particularly slippery when wet. As you wash your baby gently from top to bottom, pay attention to folds in arms, legs, the neck, and genitals. Use a dry towel to pat these areas dry to avoid rashes.

Wash your baby’s hair last. Babies have a hard time retaining their body heat, so you don’t want them to sit through the bath with a wet head. And once their hair is clean you’ll want to get them out and dry them off.

It’s not just babies that are at risk in the tub. Be mindful every time you “jump in the shower” or “hop in the bath.” The bathroom is one of most frequently used rooms in the house, and the most dangerous. One-third of falls occurring at home take place in the bathroom. So let’s all watch our step.

Learn more about National Bath Safety Month and bathing tips for babies and young children: