Bathing Your Baby Safely

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New moms are terrified of bathing their infants on their own. Most often it’s the grandmother who takes charge of bathing the baby for a couple of months until mom gets the hang of it.

Your baby may love splashing about in the water, but there are some important rules to follow to make bathtime safe as well as fun. Below are a few tips that will help you keep your baby clean and out of harm’s way.

• What’s the right water temperature for a baby bath?

Make sure the bath water is comfortably warm, but not hot, before putting your baby in. Put cold water in the bath first and then add the hot water. Mix the water well to make sure there aren’t any hot spots. This will reduce the risk of scalding your baby. Never put your baby in the bath when the water is still running. The water temperature can change quickly.

Even though her /his bath may be warm, your baby can quickly lose body heat once you take her out of the water, so keep the room warm. When you lift your baby out of the bath wrap her in a hooded towel and pat her dry before putting her nappy on. Then wrap your baby in a dry towel or blanket again and give her a cuddle for about 10 minutes to keep her warm before dressing her.

• How deep should the water be?

For newborns and babies up to six months old, run the water to about 13cm (5in) deep. Or just make sure there’s enough water so that your baby settles in the water with her shoulders well covered.

Never fill the bath more than waist-high (in a sitting position) for older babies and children. And never put your baby into a bath when the water is still running. The depth of the water could quickly rise too high.

• How can you safely support your baby in the water?

As you lower your baby into the bath, hold her firmly under her bottom with one hand. Place your other arm under the back of her neck and her shoulders. Once your baby is in the bath and settled, you can use the hand that was supporting her bottom to wash and swish the water around. Keep a firm hold on your baby with your other hand and support her head above the water.

You may decide to use a bath support that frees your hands for washing your baby. If your baby can’t sit up yet, a bath cradle will support her in the water. If she’s old enough to sit up you can use a bath seat.

Always remember:
Babies can drown in less than 3cm of water and it can take just seconds for a baby to slip or topple into the water and be helpless. Babies don’t struggle or make a noise when they get into difficulties in water. Therefore you may not realize that anything has happened until it’s too late. So please be vigilant and cautious.