Do you still think of the “rubber ducky, you’re the one, you make bath time lots of fun” song every time you hear the word “bath”? These nursery rhymes stick in our heads - and we’re not complaining, because this one reminds us that while bath time is a time to be extra cautious with our kids' safety, it’s also supposed to be FUN! Bath time doesn’t have to be limited to getting your little one clean – it’s also a great time to teach them things like safety skills and fine motor skills, while having a splashtastic good time!!
In honor of Bath Safety Month, we’ve teamed up with our friend, board-certified pediatrician Dr. Molly, to give parents 6 Tips to Keep Your Little One Safe AND 6 Tips Make the Most of Bath Time!
Safety Tip: Make sure your tub has a non-slip mat or non-slip strips.
As an adult, have you ever had a ‘life flashing before your eyes’ dramatic moment while you’re taking a shower? You accidentally spill a little conditioner on the bottom of the tub, and next thing you know, you slip and have to scramble to find the closest thing to grab on to. If you can slip, so can a little one!
As a wiggly toddler, it’s just flat out hard to stand still, especially in the bathtub! We know soaps and bubbles can make a tub more slick, so it’s important to have a non-slip mat or strips installed, so that your kiddo’s tiny feet have something to grip onto - helping to prevent slips and falls. Bonus Bath Time Tip from Dr. Molly: Color the water blue and pretend you are at the beach. Play some fun music and practice swimming too!
Those non-slip mats aren’t always the most aesthetically-pleasing addition to a bathroom. But by adding some water coloring and playing some fun music, you can make your bathroom your family's very own tropical escape for bath time!
Safety Tip: Keep the bathroom door shut when not in use.
Though you may not realize it, bathrooms are a dangerous place for unsupervised children. Even toilets can be a drowning hazard, as kiddos can drown in as little as one inch of water. You can help make your bathroom a safer place with childproof locks on toilets, cabinets and doors, but remember to keep the door closed when you’re not using the bathroom space to prevent any mishaps that may occur if children wander in alone. Bonus Bath Time Tip: Cut up different colored pool noodles and build with ‘blocks’ in the tub. Learn colors and fine motor skills!
Before an upcoming bath, have some fun family craft time with this DIY project for your littles! Grab a few colored pool noodles from a nearby store, and let kiddos use their imaginations to make fun colored, floating blocks. Then, let them take their masterpieces to the bathtub! (With parental supervision, of course!)
Safety Tip: Start with cold water.
Starting to fill the tub with hot water can be a hazard for little hands or feet that may pop into the tub before they’re supposed to, and before the water is done running. Starting with cold water, then adding in warmer water to heat up the bath, means if a kiddo touches the water too early, they’re not going to get burnt! Bonus Bath Time Tip: Bring your finger paints to the tub and let your kids paint on the wall!
Once the water is the perfect temperature, crack open the finger paints and let your child’s creativity come to life! You can use the paints to practice drawing numbers or letters, or just let them create a work of art! Most finger paints are bath-friendly, washing off and not staining - but be sure to test a small hidden corner first, just to make sure your little Picasso’s masterpiece doesn’t become a permanent art display! Also remind your kiddo that finger paints are only allowed in the bathtub, and when you’re watching!
Safety Tip: Prep the bathroom - and other family members!
It seems self-explanatory to not leave little ones alone in the bathtub without supervision. But there may be instances where you realize you forgot something and hurry into another room to grab it. Help avoid needing to run off by prepping the bathroom before you even turn on the water. Grab everything you’ll need post-bath ahead of time, like pajamas, lotion, hair brushes, etc., so there’s no reason you’d need to leave.
It’s also important to prep other family members! If there is another adult in the house, be sure they know you’re about to bathe a child, and that you either need them to help watch the other kiddos while you’re gone, or for them to be on standby in case you do need something. This way, things outside of the bathroom are taken care of, so your full attention can be on the little one in the bath! Bonus Bath Time Tip: Swim goggles at bath time create a new way to get used to being underwater.
When grabbing everything you need for bath time, don’t forget your kiddo’s goggles!Let them practice putting their face in the water, and make it extra fun by letting them use their imaginations to tell you what they see! Start with them wearing them when getting rinsed off if your child is wary about dunking their head.
Safety Tip: Explain to kiddos why bathtub rules are important.
We know kiddos are curious, and many go through the ‘questions phase’ where they want to ask ‘why?’ to every single thing we say. As we enforce rules in the bathtub, like don’t stand up without permission, it’s helpful to explain to kiddos why that’s an important rule! Letting them know that the rules are to keep them safe, and what can happen if they don’t follow them, can help them understand and stick to the rules. Bonus Bath Time Tip: Shaving cream letters on the wall! Spray a shaving cream shape or letter on the wall and let kids practice taking the shaving cream and copying it.
Have you ever been listening to a presentation or a story and felt like it was hard to sit still? Imagine being a toddler! By letting your kiddo play with shaving cream and occupying their hands, they’ll be more receptive to turning on their listening ears and taking in what you have to say.
Safety Tip: Enroll in swim lessons!
The best layer of protection to keep kiddos safe in any kind of water is to have the water safety skills taught in swim lessons. Most importantly - kids learn to float in swim lessons! So, if there were to be an accident in the tub, they’d have the skills to roll onto their backs and float in the water until help came.Bonus Bath Time Tip: Floating time! Have kids lay on their back while they look at a wall cling sun you put on the ceiling, or a play fishing line you hold over their heads.
Let kiddos show off what they’ve learned in lessons by floating in the bathtub! This is a perfect time to get some practice in between swim lessons.
At Goldfish Swim School, safety is our #1 priority. We teach children ages four months to 12 years the water safety skills they need to be safer in and around the water, and with our proven method, The Science of SwimPlayⓇ, we have fun doing it - which is how kids learn best! Learn more about swim lessons by visiting your nearest Goldfish Swim School location’s website!