Infant bathing is the practice and activity of cleaning an infant by bathing. It has been characterized as being "fun", but care is recommended when an infant is in or around water. Most drowning deaths in children happen at home, often when a child is left alone while bathing.
Bathing accidents can occur. Often these can be prevented. Recommendations include:
- Staying close enough to children who are in the tub so that they can reach out for stability.
- Using non-skid decals or a mat inside the tub to prevent slipping.
- Using toys in the tub to keep your child busy and sitting down, and away from the faucet.
- Keeping the temperature of your water heater below 120°F (48.9°C) to prevent burns.
- Keeping all sharp objects, such as razors and scissors, out of your child's reach.
- Unplugging all electric items, such as hair dryer and radios.
- Emptying the tub after bath time is over.
- Keeping the floor and your child's feet dry to prevent slipping.
A baby bath tub with a non-skid design is safe. If the water is deeper than a few inches, the baby may slip into the water and could possibly drown. An infant can easily slip under the water. The infant can be burned if the water temperature is too hot. How often an infant is bathed is a decision made by the parents or caregivers. Two or three times a week is sufficient. Infants can have sensitive skin and mild soap is best. Keeping all towels and soap within reach allows the parent or caregiver to keep a constant eye on the infant. Shampooing with water alone is adequate. Parents or caregivers may wish to be trained in CPR.
Care during infant bathing will maintain infant health. Caregivers can:
- Have a towel ready to wrap the infant in to dry and keep warm after the bath.
- Keep the infant's umbilical cord dry.
- Use warm, not hot, water. The water can be tested to check the temperature by placing an elbow under the water.
- Wash the baby's head last so that their head does not get too cold.
Safety while in the washroom
Besides safe bathing practices, an infant, toddler or child may be unsafe when unsupervised in a bathroom or washroom. Safe practices are:
- Storing medicines in the child-proof containers they came in.
- Keeping the medicine cabinet locked.
- Keeping cleaning products out of reach of children.
- Keeping bathroom doors closed when they are not being used so the child cannot get in.
- Placing a door knob cover over the outside door handle.
- Not leaving the child alone in the room.
- Placing a lid lock on the toilet seat to keep a curious toddler from drowning.
- "Bathing an infant: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia". medlineplus.gov. Retrieved 25 July 2017. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- "Newborn care and safety - womenshealth.gov". womenshealth.gov. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- Lang N, Bromiker R, Arad I (November 2004). "The effect of wool vs. cotton head covering and length of stay with the mother following delivery on infant temperature". International Journal of Nursing Studies. 41 (8): 843–846. doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2004.03.010. PMID 15476757.
- UK Instructions on bathing a baby.
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Bathing Your Newborne
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Transitioning Newborns from NICU to Home: Family Information Packet - Bringing home a baby from the NICU can come with special challenges. This toolkit from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality includes tips for parents on understanding signs of illness, medication safety, and newborn feeding.