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For babies and young children, bath time is about more than just getting clean – it can be a chance to play or to unwind and relax before bed!
However, as fun as bath time can be, sadly accidents still happen. That’s why it’s important we take some simple steps to make sure our little ones are safe in the tub...
While most of us are aware of the importance of watching our children once they’re in the bath, it’s also important to keep an eye open while the bath is running. Not only can adventurous toddlers drown in less than three centimetres of water, babies and children are also at risk of being badly scalded – with potentially life-changing consequences.
Children’s skin is thinner than adults so they’re more at risk of scalds from hot water. When filling a bath, run cold water first and then add hot water afterwards.
Mix the water well to make sure there aren't any hot spots which could scald your child.
As the temperature can change quickly put your little one in the bath only once you’ve finished running it and checked the temperature. (It’s true that you’re more likely to feel if it’s too hot if you use your elbow).
A thermostatic mixing valve (TMV) controls the temperature of water as it comes into the bath so that it’s hot enough to enjoy a good soak, but not hot enough to scald. If you don’t already have one, you might want to think about getting one fitted.
Once your child is in the bath, it’s vital you watch over them. Tragically, children have drowned when their parent or carer has turned their back for a few seconds to grab a towel. It really can happen that quickly:
Always stay within arm’s reach of your little one when they’re in the bath. Wet soapy babies are slippy. If they slide down, or roll over, they can’t always right themselves, and you won’t always hear them trying. So even if the phone rings, or the doorbell goes, stay where you can see them.
Baby bath seats might look helpful, but by leaving your hands free they can provide a false sense of security. As babies can drown quickly, quietly, and in only a few centimetres of water, you’re better off without one – supervision really is key.
While the presence of water is the most obvious threat to our children at bath time, our bathroom itself can contain a number of nasty surprises....
"She got up in the bath and slipped so I’ve got a special bath mat."
Carly, mum of two
Energetic toddlers and wet, slippy baths don’t go well together! A non-slip bath mat, or stickers, can help avoid a nasty fall.
Remember, when it comes to dangerous medicines, cosmetics and cleaning products, take action today, put them away - high up or in a cabinet equipped with a safety lock.
Also see our Water Safety in the Home advice page.