Baby’s first bath is a huge milestone, and subsequent baths never stop being cute either! But baby bath time also requires vigilance from mom and dad to prevent any accidents and to protect baby from the many hazards found in the bathroom. Here are some important tips to help you keep bath time safe and enjoyable for you and your baby.

“Top and tail” while they’re very young

Before the umbilical cord falls out, babies only need a sponge bath. After a few weeks when it finally falls out, your baby is ready for their first real bath! But keep in mind that babies don’t need a full bath every day, only 2-3 times per week. However, you should give them a topping and a tailing every day.

Topping involves cleaning their face, ears, and neck with a warm cloth or cotton pad.

Tailing involves cleaning their genital area with warm water and drying gently and thoroughly before putting on a fresh diaper

Gather your necessary supplies beforehand

Never, EVER leave your baby unattended. Babies can drown in as little as one inch of water. Before you give your baby a bath, gather all necessary supplies and put them with arms-reach. If you do forget something mid-bath, bring your baby with you. A wet shirt is a small price to pay for your baby’s safety.

Babies’ soft, smooth skin gets very slippery after a bath, so keep a towel handy so you can immediately bundle them up.

It’s also a good idea to have a diaper nearby in case the fresh air on their little bums makes them feel like going sooner than you expect.

Safety-proof the bathroom

Make sure anything with a cord is put away so the cord doesn’t become a tripping or tangling hazard, or a burning hazard if it conducts heat.

Make sure the toilet seat is closed and locked if baby is old enough to open it

Babies lose body heat quickly, so make sure the air temperature is warm and no windows are open so the water stays warm and baby doesn’t get cold

Place a non-slip mat on the floor and a non-slip mat in the tub to prevent slips on every surface

Use liquid soap instead of bar soap, Slippery can have you diving around, fumbling and can risk bumping baby over.

Learn baby CPR

Accidents can happen to even the most careful parents. While none of us could ever imagine our baby slipping under the water, it does happen. No matter how diligent you are, it’s very important that you learn infant CPR so you can respond quickly and appropriately in an emergency. Although the thought of an incident isn’t pleasant, you will never regret having the necessary life-saving skills to protect your baby, even if you never have to use them.

Ensuring that your baby’s crib is a safe area to sleep is a vital part of overall baby safety. As part of Baby Safety Month, here are five ways to keep your baby’s crib safe.

No Bumper Pads, Ever

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but bumper pads are not safe to put in your baby’s crib. Back in the day, they were used as a means to prevent a baby from getting her head stuck between the rails of the crib (before cribs had to meet stricter safety standards). Some still use them thinking that it will prevent their baby from hitting her head on the crib rails. However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there is “no evidence that bumper pads prevent injuries, and there is a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment.”

Make Sure Your Crib Slats Are Close Together

This ties in with the bumper pad issue above. If you’re using a vintage crib or bassinet, you need to ensure that the crib slats/rails are no more than 2 3/8 inches apart. This eliminates the risk that your baby could become trapped between the rails, and also further eliminates the perceived need for bumper pads. Feel free to measure this distance when you’re crib shopping too. It never hurts to double-check.

Keep Crib Area Free of Pillows, Blankets and Stuffed Animals

The AAP encourages parents to keep soft objects and loose bedding outside of the crib because they create a suffocation (and, with blankets, a strangulation) hazard. These items include pillows, blankets, stuffed animals and bumper pads. They also caution against the use of wedges and positioners for the same reason. Put your child to sleep on her back on a fitted sheet, with no other items in the crib. If you’re worried that baby will be too cold, try using a sleep sack for extra warmth.

Get the Right Crib Mattress

Ensuring that your crib mattress fits snugly against the inside of the crib is vital. A great way to test if the mattress fits properly is to use the two-finger test: if you can fit more than two fingers between the mattress and the crib, it’s not an ideal fit. Standard crib mattresses should measure at least 27 1/4 inches by 51 3/8 inches and be six (or less) inches thick. Think of it this way… the harder it is to make the bed, the better it is for your baby. Please also make sure your crib mattress is appropriately firm.

Just Say No to Drop-Side Cribs

If you’re using a vintage crib, please be aware that drop-side cribs are a safety hazard and have been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). If you feel you must use one, please invest in a kit the converts it to a fixed-side crib. But be advised that said kits are not foolproof and that the crib needs to be tested before use. Also, when using a painted vintage crib, please make sure you test the paint to make sure it’s not lead-based. You can also view the CPSC guidelines about crib safety here.

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