At what age is it safe to leave the child unattended in the bathtub? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 12:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My DH is in charge of bathing DS each night.
More and more I notice him leaving the baby in the bathtub to go run quick errands in other parts of the house.
I don't think it's safe, but he obviously does.
Is there any guideline about what age it's safe to leave a child unattended in the bathtub??
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#2 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 12:11 AM
 
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When my older dd was about 3, we stopped being in the bathroom with her. Now that she is almost 5, we still linger nearby and talk to her occasionally to make sure she is ok. I am 41 and I like my dh to check on me occasionally, too.
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#3 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 12:13 AM
 
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i think it depends on the child like most things. my dd1 is 3 just over 3 and i am comfortable leaving her alone in the bath as long as i am on the same floor. i make sure we keep talking or i can hear her singing, talking, playing, etc.....
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#4 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 12:14 AM
 
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I don't remember exactly when we started leaving dd for short periods in the bath, but I think it was around her third birthday.

How old is your toddler? If you think it's unsafe, then I think it's a good idea to talk to your dh seriously about it. Babies and kids can drown really quickly and really quietly.
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#5 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 12:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by riversong View Post
I don't remember exactly when we started leaving dd for short periods in the bath, but I think it was around her third birthday.

How old is your toddler? If you think it's unsafe, then I think it's a good idea to talk to your dh seriously about it. Babies and kids can drown really quickly and really quietly.
Oh that last sentence is heartbreaking.

The baby is 19 months.
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#6 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 12:19 AM
 
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My 6 year old slipped in the bathtub while I was in the next room, and fell hard enough to break a tooth. He tried to get up on his knees to wash his butt. I didn't hear him fall or hit, although I did hear him start crying. If he had hit his head instead of his mouth and lost consciousness I wouldn't have heard a sound. I'm very grateful he was OK.

I'd say 6 or 7 at the very youngest. In my opinion leaving a child under 3 or 4is incredibly dangerous.
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#7 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 12:24 AM
 
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I know. It is heartbreaking. I remember hearing that when kids drown people don't hear a splash like they think they would. I also remember dd's swim instructor saying that a one-year-old can hold his/her breath under water for about 4 seconds.

I think 19 months is too young. I wish I had a link to something for your dh to read. You might be able to find something if you search around.
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#8 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 12:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Maxine45 View Post
Oh that last sentence is heartbreaking.

The baby is 19 months.
Whatever you have to do to get DH to take that seriously, do it. Have him read this thread. Google for stories of toddlers drowning in inches of water. Whatever it takes.

I do pop out of the bathroom to grab a towel or that sort of thing, but I my 2 year old is never alone in the bath for more than, oh ,say, 15 seconds.

DS 12/22/05 and DD 5/24/09
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#9 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 12:30 AM
 
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Never ever leave any child alone in the bath tub, if they are young enought to take a bath, then they should not be left alone. Adults even can get hurt when no one is around. Much too dangerous. Ds does not take baths (only showers with me) , but when I was a nanny I never left a child alone in a bath tub and I even stayed in the bathroom when the showered if they were under 8.

If time is an issue than shortenthe bath time rather than leave your dc unattended.

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#10 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 12:31 AM
 
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DD will be 4 in March...I won't even leave her to get a towel out of the linen closet 2 feet out the bathroom door.

There was a mama here a few months back who almost lost her 2 year old when she went to grab the phone...it can happen in a second.

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#11 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 12:53 AM
 
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I'd say around 3.
My 2 year old slipped and smacked her chin on the edge a couple of weeks ago, and I was RIGHT THERE, in the tub with her. Things happen so fast.
I think 19 months is way, way, WAY too young, even for a second.
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#12 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 01:23 AM
 
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Our three oldest bathe together, so the youngest in the tub is 25 months (and he sits in his booster seat because he hates the feeling of the bathtub). I wouldn't even turn my back on them personally, let alone actually leave the room.
Our eldest is very responsible, nurturing and reasonably cautious with his brothers, but I still wouldn't leave them. I have forgotten towels before, and I just apologise when they're done and have to stand freezing on the bathmat while I go get them (I let the water out before they're actually out, and by the time they're all on the mat, it's gone- sometimes I spray them down before they get out too). Anyway, they mostly have had showers more regularly for messes than actual baths (and the baths ended when we had tailings come out of our faucet... )

I would NEVER leave a 19 month old. I actually felt a bit of that sick feeling I get when I am about to cry about something really terrible happening to a child when I read that . Sorry. Please talk to your dh.

By the way, over about 3 yrs, I don't think that the age matters as much as what you know about your child and the set-up of your bathroom, and whatever other factors you would consider. Some children are very cautious and compliant and wouldn't do anything that wasn't explicitly allowed and so leaving for a minute wouldn't necessarily be dangerous for them; I suspect those are few and far between, or I just haven't met many (perhaps they run when they see our brood comin' ).

I wouldn't leave someone else's child at that age; sometimes that's the measure I use when I can't decide if something is safe or not for our dc- it helps me to gain perspective and to remember that people are dynamic and sometimes (heehee) behave in unpredictable ways.

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#13 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 01:23 AM
 
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Really young kid: likely to slip and have head under the water.
Slightly older kid: likely to mess with the hot water tap and scald themselves even with the water heater turned down.

Leave them alone in the bathtub when they say "sheesh mom, a little privacy!"

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#14 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 01:35 AM
 
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My dd is 20 1/2 months and we are always within arms reach and we help her in and out of the tub. She is sooooo likely to do something silly like try to stand up and jump around, turn on the hot water, lie face down and get confused and inhale. If you can't get your dh to take you seriously, take this job over if you have to mama.

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#15 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 01:38 AM
 
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I don't know what the right age is, but 19 months strikes me as WAY too young. It only takes a couple of seconds...

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#16 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 02:46 AM
 
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I think it depends on the kid, but no way I would do it at 19 months. I have two two-year olds, who are 11 months apart in age. I feel comfortable leaving them in the tub for a 15 second run *to the room right next* to the bathroom to grab a towel or whatever, but only if I can hear them the ENTIRE time. If EVEN FOR A SECOND they stop making noise (which my kids rarely do...we call ourselves "the loud family"), I freak out and run back in. With my ds, who is almost three, I do let it stretch sometimes to a 20-30 second trip-- even when he was a couple months younger I did-- but again, I stay on the same level and I listen intently and if he is quiet even for a second I run back to get him. With my dfd, I don't think I'd be comfortable with 20-30 seconds even when she is ds' age. With her, 5-10 seconds is really the max. She's just a different kid...far less spatial awarenesss, much more clumsy, far less cautious, and with a tendency to do things I've told her not to.

I have "trained" my ds, and am trying to "train" my dfd, that when I call out their names and say, "say 'here I am'" they reply with "Here I am mama" and if I call out, "are you okay?" they reply "okay." We had to do this because my ds has special needs that can cause us to lose him in an instant. It seems that this has good applicability as I am making that mad dash back to the bathroom when I haven't heard him for ONE second.

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#17 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 04:36 AM
 
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Definitely depends on age. DS is 2 next week and he talks non-stop in the bathtub, singing, yelling and telling us about his toys. We have left him for up to 15 seconds or so, but can hear him talking the whole time AND the bathtub is right off the rest of the main part of the house so we can see him from the dining room and the kitchen and the living room. He has no, no, no ambition to get up out of the tub ever and we have to practically drag him out so the problem of him trying to stand up is not something we have encountered.

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#18 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 10:20 AM
 
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when I was a nanny I would run fast like the wind to grab something with children over 4 but I would have them sing at the top of their lungs while they were out of sight... I don't think that I will leave my dd til 6 at least. Even if I don't want to "relate"per se I will bring a book or mag and sit in the doorway so they can feel alone but not be alone.... ykwim? I agree with the other pp... drownings can happen in a split second (I have watched my dd just slip right under) and I think your dc (like mine) is way to young unless you really can do it under 5 seconds! I also like my dd to have some water in there and not just a covering of the bath tub....

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#19 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 10:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
Really young kid: likely to slip and have head under the water.
Slightly older kid: likely to mess with the hot water tap and scald themselves even with the water heater turned down.

Leave them alone in the bathtub when they say "sheesh mom, a little privacy!"

LoL . . . I agree . . . even then keep an ear out.

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#20 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 11:19 AM
 
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I agree 19 months is too young to leave alone.

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#21 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 11:24 AM
 
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19 months??? I wouldnt even THINK about it. That is way too young to leave a baby alone. I wouldnt consider it before 3 y/o.

single mommy to identical twin girls (3/06) Non-traditional mama just : through life.
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#22 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 11:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Maxine45 View Post
Oh that last sentence is heartbreaking.

The baby is 19 months.
absolutely too young IMO. drowning is so scary because it happens silently.
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#23 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 12:36 PM
 
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My friend left her 3 year old daughter (who could swim, btw) in the tub alone for a few minutes while she went to grab a towel. The little girl had a seizure out of the blue (never had one before), and to make a long story short she almost died. Thankfully, she is alright now, but I always think of this whenever I am tempted to leave ds even for a minute in the tub- you just never know, and it's not worth taking the risk.

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#24 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 12:44 PM
 
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my ds is 3 and always showers with one of us. i let him take a bath with 10 yo dd once alone and was nervous about it so we do showers only now.
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#25 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 02:43 PM
 
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Wow! 19 months , omg!

I wouldn't allow my DH to ever leave my kiddos alone in the tub, no way! DD is almost 3 and when I ran out to get her a washcloth she almost slipped in the tub and that was it for me...I never will leave them alone ...my kiddos are 11 months & almost 3.... I suggest your DH and you swap bath time before your DC gets hurt.....
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#26 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 02:46 PM
 
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I agree it depends on the age, but I think 19 months is too young. I think people sometimes think because something hasn't happened, it probably won't...me included.....and if there is even the tiniest shred of doubt, I wouldn't leave. Its an accident that is 99.9% preventable. The consequences are just too great.

I admit, its boring for me to sit there, but I either take in a book, the laptop, or I clean the bathroom. And, I always do the bath, because my DH doesn't have the patience to sit in there either.
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#27 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 03:32 PM
 
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19 mos is definitely WAY too young. And I am one of those horrible neglectful mothers who will leave the kids in the car to run in the house or school for something real quick.

I don't think I lifet my kids in the tub longer than the time it takes to grab a towel or soap or whatever from the hall closet until they were closer to 4. Maybe earlier if I were in earshot and would ask them what they were doing if it got quiet or I heard too much splashing.
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#28 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 04:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for encouraging me to listen to my own intuition.
It looks like I'll be taking over the bathtime ritual from DS.

I asked him an open ended question "how is it going with you being the one to bathe DS" and he replied that he thinks DS needs to learn to be more independent in the bathtub . I explained that I don't think it's safe at all to ever leave him, and told him why.

It's his decision to continue to give the baths and abide by my wishes or to give up the duty.

We have a lot of marital conflict over him thinking I "boss him around" too much and that "nothing he ever does is right anyway" so this is just one more thing to make him feel like a victim. Yeah but that's another story!!

Again, thanks to each one of you. I'm not letting it happen again.
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#29 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 06:02 PM
 
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I agree, 19 months is way too young. I don't leave my 4.5 year old alone in the bath. I will do things now that they are both a bit older like run out of the bath to grab something, but our house is very small, I never leave the upper floor and generally I'm gone 10 seconds or less, and I don't even do that often.

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#30 of 42 Old 01-27-2008, 06:13 PM
 
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About the marital conflict, you had an intuition, and he had a different one. But you followed up by asking peers, and possibly researching. He's still basing his on an intuition. Ask him to research the issue of when its safe to leave a baby in a tub alone. Remind him that there are parenting styles and then there are first aid / safety issues that are not opinions.

Also, in our house, the rule is if someone is more "conservative" by which we mean is scared or worried about the well-being of the child, about any issue, his or her opinion wins. So he's nervous about children eating in a moving vehicle because they could choke and you can't reach them, he wins, no eating, even if I don't worry. If I'm nervous about no being alone in the tub, I win, no being alone in the tub. No parent should be in fear for their babies safety in their own house, its no way to live. And he sounds like he really needs some of his choices and private space with the baby affirmed. I hope you can find a different area to do that, rather than a life and death area.

Good luck.
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