I recently wrote about bathtub safety for infants and bathtub safety for toddlers, but I didn’t feel quite complete with just the two of them because I know there are several parents out there who often shower with their babies and/or toddlers. So here I am, continuing on safety rants, but this time geared toward showering. And yes, I realize that not all moms shower with their kids, and I’m not saying whether you should or shouldn’t, I’m just here to lay down some safety guidelines for those who do shower with their babies or toddlers.
ReadinessThat being said, the first piece of advice I’ll give is to not shower with a baby if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. With my first baby, I was terrified at the thought of just taking him into the shower with me, so I didn’t do so until he was nearly a year old. Not only was he a better shower companion at that point, but I also felt more comfortable with him in there with me. Technically, a baby can join you in the shower as soon as his or her umbilical cord falls off, but just because they can doesn’t mean they have to.
Water TemperatureThe temperature of the shower water should not exceed 100 degrees, in fact, since the water is constantly running and likely streaming directly onto baby, you may be better off with a temperature down closer to 90 degrees. What makes this very tricky, is the fact that you will be in there with your baby and the proper temperature for babe may be much cooler than you’re accustomed to. Just keep in mind that baby skin is very delicate and can and will burn easily. Be sure to check the water temperature before getting in with the back of your hand, forearm, or elbow if you don’t have a water thermometer accessible.
Make sure all soaps, razors, and any other hazardous objects are up and away from your child’s reach. This also includes hair! My husband and I both keep a toothbrush in the shower, so I always grab and put away the toothpaste and toothbrushes (..well at least mine!) as well. I know some moms put their newborns in the shower with a baby bathtub like the Boon Soak Bath; this gives them a safe space to hang out while close to Mom. And considering it's so slippery in there, some artificial grip wouldn't be a bad idea either!
The last point I’ll talk about with childproofing is the drain. My baby niece once cut her finger pretty badly by sticking it down one of the drain holes in the center of the shower while in there with my sister. Since then, I’ve been extra cautious of watching for one of my kids to do this, and will occasionally place a washcloth over my drain to prevent them from playing with it. Which of course, they love, because it tends to make the water pool up a bit!
AttentivenessNot only baby fingers down the drain, but many other accidents can happen in a wet and slippery shower. Paying extra attention to your child is a smart idea. I have a long-standing rule that my kids are not allowed to stand up in the shower unless they’re standing up to get out. They’re also not allowed to open the door by themselves, and an adult has to help with that. Often you’ve brought your child or children into the shower with you so that you can actually take a shower, so of course you’ll be occupied washing your hair or shaving your legs, but still do your best to be extra cautious!
This is especially helpful when it comes to newborns. They’re slippery and have unpredictable movements, so it’s not always the easiest thing to get the two of you out of the shower and into towels very efficiently. When my babies are little and I hold them the entire shower, I place two towels over the top of the side of the shower for when we’re done. That way, before getting out, I can at least wrap up my baby!
The majority of the time I have my kids in the shower with me at this point is because I don’t have extra hands available. However, sometimes my kids opt out of their nightly baths because they’d rather take a shower, and since I don’t always regularly shower every day, because, well, I’m a stay-at-home-mom, I’m happy to oblige to kill a few birds with one stone. So when my husband is around and can grab one out and start with jammies while I finish up, it’s incredibly helpful!