Bathing your child

Bath time can be a fun time for both babies and young children, and parents and carers alike. It’s an opportunity for bonding, exploration and play, however you must not forget water can be dangerous, especially so for babies and young children who require constant and appropriate supervision during bath time.

To support you in keeping your baby or child safe during bath time we have developed the Bath time Duck which reminds you of the key messages about how to keep your baby or child safe:

Do plan ahead: Before you start to run the bath and bathing your baby, gather everything you will need to hand. Always use the family bath or a baby bath. Always ensure that if you use a baby bath this is on the floor rather than on a raised surface, and that you follow any instructions for use which have been supplied with the baby bath.

Use touch supervision: Keep a hand on your child at all times and never leave them unattended, or in the care of another child. It's easy to get distracted away by a phone call, doorbell or another child. Leaving your child even for a few moments could be enough time for them to seriously hurt themselves or drown.

Check the water: Before putting your child in the water make sure to check the temperature and the depth of the water. The water should be warm but not hot. Check it with your elbow and mix the water well using a figure of eight action, so there are no hot areas. The depth should be 5-10 cms for newborn to 6 months of age. For older babies that are sitting up, the water level should be no more than hip-height (when they are in a sitting position).

Keep your child safe: Make sure anyone else who bathes your child knows these safety messages too.

If you are unsure, or want further advice please talk to a professional such as your midwife, 0-19 Public Health Integrated Nurses or someone at your child’s nursery or childrens centre.


Further Information and Resources

The following sites provide further information about bathing babies and young children, including safe bathing, as well as information to support parents in looking after their child:

The Baby Buddy app

This app guides you through your pregnancy and the first 6 months following your baby's birth. It is designed to help you look after your baby's mental and physical health, as well as your own, and give your baby the best start in life. Within the app you will find information regarding bathing.

Resources for practitioners