If you’re new to the parenting game, there are so many things to think about and daunting issues to address before your little one makes his or her grand entrance into the world.
When my wife announced she was pregnant, I’ll fully admit I was terrified at the prospect of caring for our newborn baby. Whenever I'd been with family or friends who'd recently had a baby, I’d always avoid holding their new arrival. It just felt so awkward, not to mention being a huge responsibility! Was I supporting the baby's head enough? What if I accidentally tripped??
It's only natural to feel a little bit like a fish out of water when it comes to caring for your baby. Whilst we all soon get the hang of it, a little helping hand along the way is always welcome. Giving your baby a bath is a great bonding routine that can help wake baby up in the morning or send him or her into a gentle slumber—at least, that's the plan. However, there are some golden rules to follow when creating a bathroom that's safe for your baby. That's why we've created this handy, shareable infographic to show you the best way to create a baby-friendly bathroom.
As we all know, unless your baby is sound asleep in the safety of a cot or crib, they do need your undivided attention. The golden rule of bathing your baby is never to leave them unattended in the bath, or in the care of a child.
You may be tempted to quickly pop to the next room to grab a towel or quickly answer the phone, but a baby can drown in just a few inches of water. If you do need to urgently leave the room, wrap your baby in a towel and take them with you.
What do babies do?
Of course, as your babies grow they start to become more mobile, more inquisitive and more likely to be involved in an accident. By recognising the different things that babies do at different stages of their development, you can alter your bathroom accordingly.
Testing the water
"Testing the water" is an age-old safety measure, to ensure the bath isn't too hot for your baby. Typically, the elbow is used, as it contains some of the most sensitive nerves to heat when compared to the palm of the hand. However, to be even more high tech, you could use a digital thermometer.
Accidental scalding is one thing we all worry about when your baby is in the bathroom, but you can minimise the risk by setting your hot water to a maximum temperature of 46°C and using a thermostatic valve with any shower handset you may use.
Bathing your baby
Once your baby is ready to be transferred to the big tub, at around 6 months, you might find it easier to use a bath seat or support. Of course, the same golden rules still apply. Despite the fact a seat will keep your baby upright, there is the risk that it could topple, trapping your baby underwater.
There are varying theories on the age at which you can stop supervising your child in the bath. Between 4 and 6 years old seems to be the general consensus, but use your own common sense on this matter.
Top safety tips
There are obvious things you can do in your bathroom to make it more baby-friendly, like ensuring items such as razors, medication and cleaning products are moved to a hard-to-reach place. Keep toilets seat down, so baby isn't tempted to stick hands into it, close doors and empty your bath fully after use.
Things to look out for
Aside from ensuring all dangerous items are moved to a safe place, there are other things you can do to ensure your bathroom space is baby-safe. Look for shower enclosures or bath shower screens that are "CE marked to BS EN 14428”. This shows that they are tested, certified and safe for use. Also, ensure any blinds are secured at the child-safe height of 1.5 metres to avoid accidental strangulation. Finally, ensure you don't have any glass bathroom accessories.
7 products for your baby-safe bathroom
- Straight bath — a must-have item in any baby-safe bathroom
- Foldable shower screen — means you can easily access your baby in the bath
- Thermostatic shower valve — contains an anti-scald cut off device and keeps water temperature consistent
- Lockable medicine cabinet — although not strictly necessary, a lockable cabinet will bring greater peace of mind and may be more important as your child grows up
- High shelving, cupboard or mirror cabinet — keep all those dangerous items out of reach
- Flooring with low slip rating — look for this to prevent falls, or use rugs for secure footing
- Non-slip bath mat — helps prevent baby from falling once they can stand
For more great safety tips, help with DIY and buying guides, head to our bathroom advice section. It'll provide everything you need to create the bathroom you've always dreamed of.