I was recently visiting a lesser visited part of the family and met up with hitherto unknown humans that belong to my family tree. The experience was interesting for all the usual reasons and one not so wonderful reason – one of the mums happily left her child in the bath and went to get something to read.
This is probably fine for a child over the age of five, but when the Child Accident Prevention Trust points out that 12 children under the age of four drowned in the UK in 2008, that becomes a little scary. Children can drown in as little as 5cm of water. I know, insane, right? But true.
So here are five ways you can keep baby safe in the bath while also enjoying the bonding and the experience together…
1. Non-Slip Bum
I have to confess that I still haven’t gone out and bought myself a bath mat for my bath in spite of the fact that, last year, I slipped and delivered a rather spectacular wipe-out. A bath mat is pretty darn important, especially as kids get older and more active in the bath. That’s also when you tend to be more comfortable leaving them alone and if they slip and bang their head they could run the risk of drowning.
For a baby the water should be six to eight centimetres deep or no higher than the waist of an older child sitting down.
Some great non-slip bathmats that will look ace and keep you ALL safe include the Munchkin Grippy Dots which come in packs of six and cost around £10 from Argos and tell you if the water is too hot. Or you can nab something a bit more, ahem, traditional from JoJoMamanBebe for £12. That one frightens me a bit.
2. Stay beside their side
It may seem tedious or overkill, but stay with your kids in the bathroom. If they slip under the water they may not struggle or make a noise and it would be awful it if happened. Just take everything you need into the bathroom with you before you start out and a good book for you to read if the kid is a bit older.
You can find some lovely bathroom storage items that will comfortably hold all your baby washing equipment without taking up too much valuable space. Try this awesome bath storage dude from Kiddicare (boy do I need one of these, ever slipped on a sqishy octopus?) at £9.95 or the more traditional net with suckers like this one.
3. Not too hot
I did not know this but apparently a baby’s skin is 15 times thinner than an adult’s so they are more likely to get burned or notice if the bath is a bit too hot. I knew their skin was more sensitive, but not that much more!
You probably know this already, but never put a baby into the bath while the water is still running and use a bath thermometer to make sure you hit the right temperature. I have the cute little bath duck from Boots (that I am in the process of reviewing) that does the job well, or you can look at other options like these.
I like these toys. We had one for ages and ages, even though the thermometer part gave out after a few years it was still a fun toy. Who doesn’t like a bath duck, I ask you this?
4. When a toy is not a toy
Kids love exploring and learning. They also like playing with things that are not necessarily good for their health and what could be more entertaining than a tap? On and off, squirt and spray. My daughter loves playing with the tap. However, we are luckily in possession of one that has a temperature adjustable handle and only one spigot so it can be set to cold to avoid burns.
Not only can they accidentally turn on boiling hot water and scald themselves, but they can run the risk of hitting their heads. If you are worried about them doing an injury, wrap a cloth around it for the duration of the bath.
5. Family fun
Sure, your eight year-old is awesome and responsible and fantastic, but they should not be left alone with a younger child in the bath. If something were to happen by accident, they would not be emotionally prepared to handle it. There are other ways of involving them in the baby’s life but this is not a good one.
Can you think of any bath safety tips I have missed or left out? Am I too worried about my child’s bathing safety? Let me know!