Bathing baby safely

By Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell

Follow these guidelines to make bathing safe:

  • Set your water heater so that the hot water can never come out at more than 120 degrees. A baby's delicate skin can be scalded in seconds by too-hot water.

  • Test the water temperature in baby's tub: Use a thermometer or buy a tub toy that turns a bright color if the water is too hot. A newborn's bath shouldn't be warmer than 85 degrees.

  • Avoid slips: When baby graduates from sponge baths to a baby tub, your biggest concern will probably be whether or not you can safely hang on to a slippery infant. As long as you keep your eyes and at least one hand on baby at all times, you'll be fine. Don't turn away and leave your child alone even for one single second; babies (and toddlers, too) can drown in any amount of water.

  • When you take baby out of the bath, wrap a towel around him to reduce slipperiness.

  • Do NOT leave the baby unattended for even a moment! ALWAYS keep baby within arm's reach.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.