As a parent, I know bath time is an important part of every family’s rhythm and routines. From baby’s first bath to reminding your big kid to use soap, a parent’s job during bath time grows and changes with your child’s changing development. Beyond cleanliness, bath time can be a time to connect with your child, support their development, and build healthy habits.
However, bath time can also be one of the riskiest times in our homes. In 2023, 24 Texas children died from drowning in bathtubs. Bath time routines should focus on safety first. Be fully engaged with your child to keep them safe, happy, and clean every bath!
Colin’s Hope is spreading the word about bath safety as January is National Bath Safety month, yet these are important reminders for your family to follow year round! Below are tips for a safe and fun bath time for your baby, toddler, or big kid!
Drowning is FAST. Drowning is SILENT. Drowning is PREVENTABLE.
Colin’s Hope envisions a world where children do not drown. Did you know that a child can drown in as little as 20 seconds? Parents and caregivers can ensure that bath time is safer by diligently following these simple safety tips for infants and toddlers:
- NEVER Walk Away!
- Always take your infant, toddler, or child with special needs with you if you need to leave the room.
- Gather all supplies before the bath.
- Remove Distractions
- Focus on the child.
- Do NOT answer phone calls or texts.
- Do not multitask.
- Drain the Bath Tub Immediately!
- Never leave water in the tub. Standing water in bath tubs is a big drowning risk for curious kids!
- Ensure the bath tub drains completely.
- Limit Water Level
- Remember “2” Under 2!”- 2 inches or less of water for kids 2 and younger.
- Follow a similar rule for toddlers and preschoolers– 4 inches of water or less for kids 4 years old.
For older kids, supervision remains important until sometime between 8-10 years old, depending on your child’s development, maturity, and hygiene skills. Remain vigilant about NEVER walking away, even with your school age children. Use this time to connect with your child and build their skills in everyday care tasks.
Bath Time Tips by Age
With bath safety firmly in place, you can build fun into your bath time routine!
Infants and Toddlers
- Infants and Toddlers only need bathing 2-3 times per week for hygiene. Bath time can be a powerful connection-building time for caregivers and babies.
- Safe and gentle touch, calm voice narrating bath time, music or singing, and age appropriate bath toys and books are excellent ways to make the most of bath time.
- As children grow, they need bathing more often.
- Use age-appropriate bath toys and books to practice counting, naming body parts, letter sounds, animal sounds, and nursery rhymes.
- Pouring and measuring cups are great for building motor skills and coordination.
- Special soaps, bath bombs, and bubbles make bath time feel special.
- Two words: Popsicle Bath! Having trouble getting your bigger kids in the bath? Let them eat a popsicle in the bath before cleaning their bodies.
- While school age children need less hands on help bathing, caregivers still need to supervise closely! Never Walk Away!
Author: Julie Reynolds, Program Manager of Colin’s Hope