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How to Bathe Your Toddler

Feb 18, 2022 | 2 minutes Read

Bathing your toddler can be a fun experience for both parent and child. Your toddler can now sit up unaided in the bathtub and play independently. You may have a hard time getting them into the bath and then an even harder job getting them out! Bath time can be a wonderful time of the day for everyone involved and may be a highlight for some toddlers who enjoy water play. They may not even notice they are getting cleaned up at the same time. Here are a few tips for your toddler’s bath time.

Toddler bath tips

  • Give a few minutes' warning before starting so your toddler will be ready to move from their current activity to bath time.
  • Gather everything you will need from start to finish so you are not tempted to run to get it later.
  • Even though your toddler is sitting up, they should never be left unattended while in the bath. Not even for a moment.
  • Commercial bath seats or rings are not recommended and have been associated with injuries and drowning deaths.
  • If you forget something, or need to leave the bathroom, take your child with you wrapped up in a towel.
  • Remember that bathtubs are very slippery! Use a rubber bathmat or install no-slip strips to prevent falls when getting in and out of the tub.
  • Implement a “no standing in the bath” rule from a very early age.
  • Bath water should be warm but not hot—the ideal temperature is 98 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Keep your toddler away from the faucet handles and turn your water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent accidental burns if the hot water faucet gets turned on.
  • Allow some independence and encourage them to start washing themselves. Make the bath playful and fun. Disposable washcloth products with product pre-loaded can also be handy for this.
  • Use baby cleansers and shampoos sparingly and rinse well.
  • Bath toys are great fun for a toddler. Rotate them to keep them interesting.
  • A pair of goggles in the bath can be their first introduction to swimming with their face in the water. They are great for practicing bubble blowing.
  • Give a warning a few minutes before bath time ends to avoid protests.
  • Have their towel and pajamas ready when they are done.

The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.