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Should I stop bathing with my 18-month-old?
Q: I have an 18-month-old daughter, and she and I take baths together. Is there any medical or hygiene reason why we should not? We both enjoy the time together.
A: Vallery, it's great that you and your daughter enjoy taking baths together. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to share physical closeness, playfulness, relaxation, and getting clean at the same time.

Taking a bath together is generally healthy and safe. But consider the following health precautions:
  • Make sure the water is not too hot. Babies should bathe in cool or warm water. Hot water that may be okay for adults is too hot for babies' small size and sensitive skin.
  • Use only mild baby soap. Don't use bubble bath or adult soaps that contain perfumes or antiperspirants—they can be very irritating to babies' skin and can cause eczema and irritation of the vagina and urethra.
  • Wash your baby's and your own face with clean water. The germs from your baby's bottom and your bottom get into the bath water. Although it's generally not a problem for bathing your bodies, it's better to keep the germs away from your faces and mouths.
  • Don't bathe together if either of you is sick, or if you have a vaginal infection. It's best to avoid spreading germs to each other.
Karen Sokal-Gutierrez M.D., M.P.H. Pediatrician