Bath time can and should be one of the most enjoyable times of the day for parents and children; a perfect opportunity to bond and relax with baby. But once baby has moved into the big tub, the big shiny faucet and warm streaming water can be too much to resist, despite mom and dads repeated warnings. So how can parents ensure that bath time is safe, enjoyable and relaxing for everyone? A few precautionary measures go a long way.
Stay in Touch
The single most important action that a parent must take each time a bath is given is touch supervision. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), touch supervision requires that an adult be within arms reach of baby at all times. If you cannot touch your baby at any time during the bath, then you are too far away.
Nationally, drowning is the third leading cause of injury-related deaths in children younger than one and the second leading cause of injury-related deaths in children ages one to four. In fact, young children can drown in less than two inches of water, according to AAPs Injury Prevention Program (TIPP). Drowning frequently occurs quickly and quietly, in the amount of time it would take a parent to take or make a phone call. Regardless of the intended time of absence, a parent must never leave baby unattended in the tub at any time for any reason. Very simply, touch supervision saves lives. No gizmo or gadget will prevent drowning or substitute for the adult supervision that can.
Keep Your Distance
The second most important action a parent must take is to protect baby from the faucet and fixtures. According to the National Safe Kids Campaign, 5,000 children a year require emergency room treatment for tap water burns. The AAP warns that the bathtub is a source of severe scalding burns. In addition to burns, contact with the faucet can cause injuries resulting in stitches, bumps, bruises, scrapes and even chipped teeth. The Center for Injury Research and Policy at Columbus Children’s Hospital found that 75 percent of kids under age five who were hurt in the tub were being supervised at the time.
When selecting safety products for the bath, avoid products that will attract a baby. Bright colors, shiny materials, and happy animals will all draw babies towards them, despite their intended safety purpose.
In addition to touch supervision and the right safety products, parents should also take the following precautions when bathing baby:
– Set water heater to 120 degrees or less.
– Check water temperature on the inside of your wrist before placing baby in the bath.
– Place a rubber mat or non-slip appliqués on the bottom of the tub.
– Have bathing supplies, clothes and towels already assembled prior to babys bath.
– Always bathe baby using as little water as necessary.
– Do not allow other children to substitute for adult supervision.
With the right preparation, precaution and products, bath time can be less struggle and more fun.