As we consider safety while raising our children is it important to consider bath time. The risk for injury during a bath for newborn or small child is high. Most children love water and are drawn to playing in it. *affiliate links*
Newborns should be given sponge baths until their umbilical stump falls off. During this period a small baby tub is great for bathing. These allow you to have a very limited amount of water, they support the baby well in netted sling, and you can gently wash baby with a wet rag.
After a week or two, once the umbilical cord stump falls off it is okay to give the baby a bath submerged further in the water. The baby tub is still wonderful for baths while small. It is important to always keep a good hand on baby. It can be easy for them to slip out of your hands while soapy and wet.
Bathing with Baby
Often times, while my kids were babies, before they were able to sit up unassisted, I would bathe with my baby in our normal, large tub. This works well for maneuvering the baby in the water. You have them lay on your legs while washing them, playing with the, helping them relax and enjoy the water. This method does have one draw back however, you need a second person. If you are alone it can be tough to place baby outside the tub, stand up and get out yourself without slipping.
Water temperature is very important. Babies can be extra sensitive to heat. It is easy for the water to be too hot, burn their skin, or raise the body temperature dangerously if bathing for too long. The water temperature should be just above luke warm. Test the temperature with parts of your skin that is more sensitive. This can be your elbow, feet, or the inside of your wrist.
When to Bathe Baby
When and how often you should bathe your baby is up to you. Often times they absolutely love the water and it can be a great calming activity. Generally, however, it is recommended not to bathe babies everyday. Too many baths can cause them to have itchy, dry skin.
What Soaps to Use
There are many soap, body wash, and shampoo brands made specifically for children. These brands are great to use because they are made of less harsh chemicals. I use Johnson’s Tear Free Baby Shampoo.
The most important factor when it comes to baby baths and safety is the need for constant supervision. Babies in an instant can drown and with only a couple inches of water. They can also do so without struggling, kicking, or making any noise. This is why it is important to always have them within arms reach.