Bath times are great. Not only do they do what they need to and keep your baby clean and hygienic but they’re also great for your baby’s sensory development. Splashing around in the water can allow them to get a feel for something a little different as well as learning to move their arms and legs around more.
However, like everything, there are important rules that you should follow to keep bath time safe. The most important rule is to never leave your baby unattended whilst they are in the bath. We will elaborate on these rules much more as we go through the blog.
A common question that parents ask is what temperature should a baby bath be?. This is really important to know as when your little one is young; it can be hard for them to regulate their temperature. If you’d like to find out more about your baby’s bath temperature, just keep reading.
Whilst some of us like to have steaming hot baths, this is definitely not the case for babies. Our skin has had enough time to develop and harden and can therefore handle higher temperatures. For a baby, the temperature needs to be warm but not too warm to damage their skin.
The water should be comfortably warm, but definitely not hot. It shouldn’t be too cold either as this can make your baby sick. You can test the temperature by placing your wrist onto the surface of the water. Your wrist will give you an accurate temperature that can help you decide whether it is ready for your little one. You should also make sure to swish the water around before putting them in and then testing the water again. This ensures that any hot or cold spots have been mixed in.
The water should be turned off once you put your baby in the tub. If it is still running, it can change the temperature of the bath very quickly without you realising. You should take extra precautions to ensure your baby is not as risk of burns or becoming too cold.
If you still feel worried that you won’t be able to tell if the temperature is safe for you baby, you can always go and buy a thermometer to help you out. This ensures that the temperature will be exactly where it needs to be, and you won’t have to worry about anything. There are baby bath toys that have thermometers fitted into them. This means that you’re less likely to tuck it away in a safe space and then forget where you put it!
When using the thermometer in the bath, make sure the water has been properly mixed around and then place it in the centre of the bath. Wait a few seconds and watch the temperature slowly rise. It should stop at around 37 to 38 degrees. Your baby’s bath should not be any hotter or colder than this. If you need to, put more hot or cold water into the bath to either warm it up or cool it down.
This is the perfect temperature as it’s around body temperature. This means there will be no need for your baby to regulate their temperature – something that can be difficult in young babies.
After your baby is in a good temperature bath, there are other safety precautions you have to be aware of. Although the water is now safe for your little one, there are other things around them can potentially cause harm. For example, the bath taps can pose a risk as they tend to hold their temperature. The hot tap can stay dangerously hot for the whole time your baby is in their bath. As well as this, they may drip onto your baby’s skin and cause burns.
To avoid this, you can purchase tap covers that protect your baby from getting burnt. They normally just slot over and means that if your baby does try to touch or play with them, there will be no risk of injury.
Another way of protecting your little one in the bath is just being there and making sure they are stable and comfortable during their time in there. You want to ensure that bath time is a positive experience for your little one so that it's not something they dread. If you find your baby is having a hard time and isn't enjoying it, try introducing some fun, sensory play toys that you can distract them with.
By using toys that flash or make noises, it can take your little ones mind off of the fact they are in the bath and will make them much more comfortable. If this still doesn't help, it may be worth taking them out and then trying again another day. It may be that your baby is tired or hungry which can make them feel groggy.
You shouldn't keep your baby in the bath if they are crying and screaming. Although they need to be cleaned, it's worse if bathing turns into a negative experience. It means that the next time you put them into the bath, they will most likely do it again. Take your baby out if they are too distressed, calm them down and then put them back in the day after to try again.
We all love a deep bath, but for babies and young children, less is better. It means that your baby can balance better in the bath and gives you easier access to hold them whilst bathing them. For newborn babies and children up to 6 months, you should only fill the bath to around 10cm. We know this doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s enough to clean your baby and let them have a little play if they want to. Using more water would mean you’re just wasting it, only use what you need to use.
When your little one can sit up on their own in the bath, you can fill it to around hip height. Never go higher than this for young children as it can pose risks.
Once your bay is all clean, it’s time to take them out. You should try and make sure that the room is kept warm so that when you remove your baby from the bath, they do not feel an instant drop in temperature. As we mentioned earlier, it can be very difficult for babies to regulate their temperature whilst developing.
Once they are out, wrap a towel around them straight away, this will also help them stay warm. Pat your little one dry do not run their skin as this can cause irritation. Once they are dry, put their nappy on and dress them. You shouldn’t leave it a long time before you dress them as this gives them time to get cold.
Some parents prefer to bath their little one before bedtime as it soothes them and gets them ready to be put down to sleep. This is a great way of doing it as it means your baby goes from their warm bath to their warm cot/bed.
This is a definite no. Even if your baby is old enough to sit up in the bath on their own, it still means that they can lose their balance and fall. If you’re not there to support them, this can have devastating consequences.
Before you begin your bath, you need to ensure that you have everything ready and by your side. This includes towels, toiletries, nappies and your baby’s clothes. You may choose to have extra things to just to cover your back. Having everything with you means that you won’t have to nip out to grab anything.
If someone knocks at your door or the phone rings, you should never go and leave your baby. Although it may take under a minute, this is long enough for your baby o potentially injure themselves or worse. Instead, take your baby out of the bath, wrap them in a towel and take them with you.
Although this may seem like more hassle, it means that your baby is safe and with you whilst you are out of the bathroom.