Most parents take precautions when bringing their babies and young children to the pool. It is just as easy, however, for a child who is 6 years or younger to drown in a bathtub. Whenever your child is around any sort of water environment, including a bathtub or a bucket of water, you need to be there to provide supervision.
Supervision is the most important element to your child’s being safe in a bathtub. If you have a bath seat, flotation devices or inflatable toys, you cannot depend on those devices to keep your child safe, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The bath seat, for example, could slip and shift position, creating a drowning hazard.
Prepare the bath area before you put your child in the tub. Have all the supplies you are going to use within arm’s reach of the bath so that you do not have to walk away for even a second. Gather a washcloth, soap, shampoo, a towel and a pitcher of water to rinse your child. Also, make sure to have baby wipes to clean your baby’s diaper area before putting him in the tub. If you do have to leave the bath area for any reason, wrap your child in the towel and take him with you.
Do not let your older children keep an eye on a baby or young child for you, recommends the Consumer Product Safety Commission and MedlinePlus. This is unsafe. In addition, teach any caretakers the proper safety guidelines before you let them bathe your child. Most bathtub drowning incidents involve caregivers leaving the room with the child in the bathtub or letting an older sibling watch the younger one, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Check Water Temperature
Before you place your child in the bathtub, check the water temperature using your elbow. You won’t get as accurate an idea of the temperature by using your hand. The water should be between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are not sure, you can use a thermometer. Immediately after the bath, drain the water. Babies and young children can drown in even an inch of water.
For infants up to 9 months old, consider using a baby bathtub, which provides a more compact space in which to bathe your baby. You can place the baby bathtub on the floor, the kitchen counter or in the regular bathtub. Baby bathtubs are generally for use until your baby is around 6 to 9 months old.
You should enroll in an infant and child CPR class. That way, in case your child does have an accident in the water, you will be prepared. In a drowning situation, every second counts. Find a class near you through your local hospital, community center, the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association.