Bath time seems to be either a love-it or hate-it time for babies. Some babies are thrilled to be in the water and splash and laugh and scream with joy. Others dread bath time and don't stop crying until they're scooped up in a warm towel and being held by Mom or Dad. While parents with water-babies may have an easier time than others, all parents need to be extremely vigilant when it comes to bath safety.
First, prepare for bath time. Make sure you have everything you need where it needs to be. Items you'll need include: an infant tub (highly recommended, although not absolutely necessary), baby shampoo or body wash, a wash cloth, a towel (hooded towels are great), a diaper, wipes, lotion (optional), clean clothes or pajamas, and bath toys (depending on the age of the infant, of course). Place all these items within arm's reach of the bathing area.
Next, fill up the tub. Water temperature is a big deal. Babies can't handle the kind of hot water some adults use while bathing or showering. But water that's too cold will also make bath time miserable. When you place your hand in the water, it should be warm, but not so warm that you want to remove your hand or that you feel uncomfortable. You can also buy one of those rubber ducks with the heat sensor on it; it says “Hot!” on the bottom if the water is too hot.
Now, think about the temperature in the room. You know that extra shivery feeling you get when you first step out of the shower into the cold air? Yeah, babies don't like that either. If you're bathing in the bathroom with the little tub in the big tub, you've got an easier time. Close the door to trap in the heat. You may even want to turn up the thermostat a notch or two for bath time. Make sure the towel is laid out and ready for your baby right after removal from the water.
During bath time, never, ever, ever leave your baby alone in the tub. Ever. Let the phone ring. Let the doorbell keep ringing, or let whoever it is leave. Nothing is so important that it warrants jeopardizing your baby's safety. It just takes minutes for something to go horribly wrong. I can't say it enough: keep your eyes on that baby the whole time.
When removing your baby from the tub, make sure you've got a solid grip (wet babies are slippery babies), and quickly place them on the towel on a secure surface, like the floor. If you're using the kitchen for bath time, the table or countertop is also okay, but just remember that babies can be wiggly and unpredictable! Keep a hand on them.
Bottom line: make bath time enjoyable, comfortable, and most important, safe. Always keep yourself extra alert when there's water involved.