How to baby proof your bathtub

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
November 23, 2021

Your baby will get sticky. As a parent, you will soon begin to stop asking why or how and focus solely on getting your child clean.

At this point, you are going to make a beeline straight for your already baby-proofed bathroom, plonk your little one in the tub and get scrubbing. Follow these tips to keep your baby safe in and around the bath.

Supervise, supervise, supervise

naked baaby with watermelon

Never leave your child alone in the bathtub. Infants and babies need constant supervision around water, especially in the bathtub.

It takes less than an inch of water for your child to drown. That's right, a single inch.

Pro-Tip

To avoid leaving your child alone in the bathtub, work the following into a safe bath routine:

  • Gather all the items you will need (soap, towels, diapers Etc.) ahead of time and keep them in the bathroom with you and in easy reach.
  • If the doorbell or phone rings and you must answer it, wrap your baby up in a towel and take him with you

Watch that water level

As I pointed out above, it does not take much water at all before there is a drowning hazard to your little baby.

The more water in a bath, the more dangerous it is for your baby. Try to limit filling the tub up with two to four inches of water at most.

Lower that water temperature

bathtub with white towel

The phrase "Soft as a baby's bottom" exists for a reason. Babies have soft skin. So incredibly soft that you can't help but stroke it.

Unfortunately, your baby's underdeveloped skin can burn quickly due to hot water. Three seconds is all it takes for a serious burn from water that is 140 degrees F, the default setting of many hot water heaters

A simple way around this is to lower the setting on your hot water heater to 120 degrees F. This temperature should not scald your young ones if they accidentally turn on the hot water.

If you do not wish to lower your water temperature as you find the water to cold then you have the option of installing anti-scald faucets.

Anti-scald faucets are a great solution. When your child grows and starts to take showers or baths unsupervised, he or she will be unable to make the water hot enough to burn the skin.

Anti-scald faucet

  • cUPC certified & anti-scald
  • Premium brass faucet
  • 360 degrees adjustable overhead shower

A warm bathroom means a warm baby

While we are talking about temperature, don't forget to keep the bathroom comfortably warm. As your baby will not be completely submerged in warm water, your baby can quickly get a chill.

Some simple solutions to keeping your child warm include:

  • If installed, use headlamps to keep the room at a comfortable temperature.
  • ​Promptly dry your baby after the bath is over, do not leave wet.
  • Put your child into clothes as soon as possible after a bath.

Discourage standing

If your baby has just started walking, then chances are he will constantly be on his feet. While it is great that your baby is developing, this behavior should be discouraged in the bathtub.

Standing in a wet bathtub poses a great risk to anyone, let alone a baby still learning to walk. The side of the bath is not overly soft and a fall can lead to serious injury.

If possible, teach your child to sit or lay down in the bathtub. You may need to continuously hold the head above water.

Once your baby can walk there is no turning back. If you are having difficulty stopping your baby from standing in the tub, then a non-slip mat is definitely the way to go.

Non-slip Bath Mat

  • Made from natural rubber
  • Suction cups hold in place
  • 36" long by 18" wide

Cover that spout

That spout sticking out of the wall there. yeah, that one. That's gonna hurt your little baby an awful lot if he or she knocks their head on it.

There are many baby-themed products designed to keep your baby safe around the spout. Spout protectors are a cover that slides over your faucet.

Made off a soft material, the spout cover will prevent your child's falling head from painful bumps.

A spout cover is a must when bathing more than one child. Despite your best wishes, bath time can quickly become a push and shove time.

Worst case scenario, there is nothing hard for your little ones head to come into contact with.

The spout covers simply slide over your faucet and form a protective barrier. spout protectors come in all shapes and sizes designed to appeal to little children.

Whale Spout Protector

  • Made from rubber
  • BPA and PVC free
  • Adjustable

Faucet handles are not toys

Your child is both curious and playful and learns by imitating. While this should be encouraged, it should be done safely.

Faucet handles will catch your baby's interest very quickly and a desire to turn them to watch the water come out will soon follow.

While your baby may not be strong enough to turn the faucet handles now, it won't be too long before he is. And that could lead to serious injury. Start encouraging good behavior now.

You can try setting your baby in the tub facing away from the front faucets. It is simply amazing how often the "out of sight, out of mind" principle works with babies.

Electricity + Water = Bad time for all

I know you have probably been warned a hundred times over to not leave objects such as hair dryers plugged in near where water pools.

If you have developed this bad habit, then now is the perfect opportunity to give it the flick

Your baby can and most likely will grab anything that is within reach of the bathtub. While most objects won't cause too much harm, an electrical product is a recipe for disaster.

So please, get in the habit of unplugging all electrical devices such as shavers and hairdryers when not in use.

Only Introduce bath toys when safe

Bath time is extra fun for a child because that's when the bath toys come out.

I know it may not seem fair to bribe children, but many mothers claim, with success, that you can use bath toys to teach your child to be safe in and around the bathtub.

The method is simple. If your child is misbehaving and leaping all over the tub, then no toys are added to the bath.

Teach your child that bath toys will only be added when seated and ready for a safe bath playtime.

It may take a few tries but stay firm. Your child will quickly associate bath safety with a fun bath time.

Get comfortable

Kneeling on tiles is no fun. Neither is resting your elbows up on the edge of the bath.

The bathtub was definitely not designed to be enjoyed from the outside. If you are uncomfortable, then you will be less focused on keeping your child safe.

Unfortunately, as a bath time safety supervisor, the most comfortable position is kneeling by the bathtub. Bending over the bath will very quickly leave you with a sore back.

To solve the problem, you can simply kneel on a folded up towel. Draping a second folded up towel over the edge of the tub will give your elbows some respite.

The downside is that you now need to worry about drying two extra towels each bath time.

Fortunately, there are purpose made knee and elbow rests designed to keep you comfortable while hunched over the bathtub.

Let us start with the knee rest.

Bath Kneeler

  • Large and cushy
  • Hangs to dry
  • Non-skid base stays in place
  • Made with quick-dry neoprene

You can read our detailed review on bath kneelers here - written by one mom who swears by them.

And now, onto the elbows. I personally do not use an elbow rest. While I have bumped myself a few times on the side of the bathtub, which definitely hurt, I still can't justify the purchase of one.

However, since many mothers swear by them I figured I had to include them in this guide.

You can also get elbow rests that run the length of the bathtub. These not only keep you comfortable but have the added bonus of keeping your baby safe. Your baby's head will be cushioned from the bathtub lip in the event of a fall.

Your baby's head will be cushioned from the bathtub lip in the event of a fall.

Bathtub Elbow Rest

  • Thick foam
  • Non-slip backing
  • Comfortable

You made it!

If you are still with me then you have just made it through my bathtub safety guide. Congratulations. Now with your new-found knowledge go out there childproof your bathtub.

baby taking a bath in a bath tub
Related Resources

Choosing the right baby bathtub.

Washing and bathing babies.

Toddler bath safety.How to baby proof your toilet.

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