By age 2, kids need to bathe several times a week. Most kids are also ready to head to the big tub at this age, but usually need a parent's guiding hand when bathing. Here are some tips on keeping your toddler happy and safe at bath time:
- Don't force your child to take a bath. A squirming, wet child is an injury waiting to happen. So if your child refuses to bathe, give her a quick sponge bath instead.
- Set your water heater at 120 degrees or lower. Only fill the tub with five to six inches of water.
- Dip your entire hand (not just your fingertips) in the water, and swirl it around. This gives you a more accurate temperature reading.
- Cover the floor of the tub with textured adhesive strips or a rubber mat with suction cups. These can help prevent slips and falls. Also cover the bathroom floor with nonslip rugs.
- Make sure all tub and shower accessories are free from sharp edges. Also check that they are made of sturdy materials.
- Consider putting your toddler in a bath seat. This can prevent standing and slipping.
- Make sure your child knows he should never touch electrical outlets or appliances with wet hands. Keep radios, curling irons, and hair dryers out of the bathroom.
- Don't let your child sit in soap or shampoo suds. They may cause bladder infections, vaginal irritation, or irritation of the urethra. Note that the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn't recommend bubble baths for girls of any age.
- Use an unscented, moisturizing soap and a no-tears shampoo. They're easier on your child's delicate skin and eyes.
- Shampoo your child's hair after you wash his face and body. Most kids don't like water splashing in their ears or on their face while having their hair washed. You can also use a shampoo visor -- a device that fits over your child's head and shields his face from water and suds as you shampoo his hair.
- Make sure you rinse your child's hair in clean water. Run fresh warm water into the tub and, after testing the temperature, tip your child's scalp under the stream of water so you're not rinsing his hair in dirty water. Keep one hand in the stream of water so you'll notice any change in temperature.
- Remember that toddlers still need help getting out of the tub. After rinsing the shampoo out of your child's hair, lift her out of the tub and stand her beside it. Wrap her in a towel, and cover her wet head with another towel to prevent her from getting chilled.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.