Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Announcements

Get the support and information you need for your behavior, development and health related questions.

For more information:
Health and Parenting Health Center
Raising fit Kids

Alone in the bath - is it time?
avatar
Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP posted:
As a pediatrician, I talk about bath safety from day one. Never leave a child alone in the bath -- not even for a moment. In the time it takes to answer the phone or grab a towel, a child can quickly and quietly slip and drown in just a few inches of water.

Your toddler or preschooler can begin learning to wash herself with your assistance and close supervision. Place some liquid soap on a washcloth and show her how to wash her body. To rinse away shampoo, teach her to close her eyes and mouth as you count from 1 to 3 and pour the water over her head. If she is afraid to get water in her eyes, have her bend her head back and use a pitcher to pour the water over her hair. Don't forget to sing songs and play games to make bath time fun.

Generally speaking, at about age 6 a child is mature and coordinated enough to wash her body and hair without help. I strongly believe that you should still stay close by to make sure that she is playing safely in the tub, that she does not turn the hot water on, and that she is washing properly. She may also still need your help with hair washing.

Around age 8 or 9, once she has demonstrated that she is mature enough, you may allow her some bathroom privacy or leave the room altogether. It is always a good idea to have a bath mat or bath stickers on the floor of the bath or shower to make it less slippery. Let her know you will periodically check on her to make sure she's OK. Leave the door open and stay close so you can hear if she calls you.

At what age are you letting your child bathe alone?

- Dr. Tanya
Reply
 
avatar
Jendel89 responded:
I agree with that age range of 8-9 years of age.

I would not feel comfortable any younger than that. Even at 8-9 years of age i would still stay close, For instance i would be on the kitchen table catching up on some reading or something like that being as our guest bathroom is right near the kitchen. I would be able to get a visual view as well as hear out for him/her and be able to check on them.
 
avatar
Boyzmomee responded:
I disagree

At age 4 both of my son's were accomplished swimmers and would not mess with the faucets.

I did have to make sure they washed thoroughly.


One is now 13 and one 20.
 
avatar
cyn22mull responded:
Great post and I have to admit I havent even thought of what age I would let DS bath alone. I am going to agree with 8 or 9 and I would still leave the door open some and check in often.
 
avatar
Lainey_WebMD_Staff responded:
With my children, it was based on the individual and not the age. The youngest 2 seemed to take a little longer, around 11 than the 3 older ones that were bathing alone at 9.
 
avatar
Roy Benaroch, MD replied to Lainey_WebMD_Staff's response:
My youngest is six, she does fine on her own. Mom or I will keep her company sometimes for fun, or sometimes she gets a sibling in there to play with her, but we encourage her to be independent and do the cleaning herself. No, it's not perfect cleaning, but that's OK with me.

Keep the hot water at 120, so an unintentional "hot blast" won't hurt anyone.
 
avatar
Melanyrn1 responded:
My daughter is 7 and able to take baths on her own. I leave the door half-open and frequently check in on her. She has no problem calling out for help or just to talk. I have taught her how to turn the facets on/off and which is hot/cold.
 
avatar
Sprock responded:
My oldest daughter is 8 and needs help with the hair shampooing only. I think it depends on the child. My 6 yr old son is better about the hair but wastes time dancing around. I always get the water to the correct temperature, soap up the scrubbie and stay in the room.
 
avatar
dawns61 responded:
My daughter is 7 yrs old and she takes showers,but one of us stays in the room while she washes herself and we wash her hair and rinse it.Then she dries herself off gets dressed and asks one of us to comb out her hair,By 8 it will be time she'll know how to wash and rinse her own hair and we'll be just outside the door if help is needed.I dont believe any younger than this is appropriate too many things could happen at such a young age.
 
avatar
Indiaguerita responded:
All three of my kids take showers by themselves. My husband and I are within 20 feet of the shower but have no visual of the shower. We can hear them while they shower.

None of my kids take a bath unsupervised, however. They are too clumsy (like me) and I just feel extremely uncomfortable with the idea of them being in the bathtub without one parent in the room.

My kids are ages 6, almost 5 and almost 4.

-Laura
 
avatar
justsaynoteen responded:
8 and 9 is a little old. Kids get really big on privacy when the hit 6 or 7. I'm 13 and i know that when I was 8 I bathed alone. If you want to raise a kid right don't assume stuff. ask a kid first.
 
avatar
maisigh replied to justsaynoteen's response:
thats true, always ask. It is very important as a parent to be aware of each childs ability. the reality is that kids are not fully developed mentally and physically at that point. parents need to be aware of that as well and act accordingly. It is about safety as well as independence. balancing both is very difficult.


Helpful Tips

Help kids learn to swallow pillsExpert
I found this inexpensive but clever cup a few years ago, and it helped my kids learn to swallow pills without a fuss: ... More
Was this Helpful?
16 of 25 found this helpful

Expert Blog

Child Health 411 - Ari Brown, MD

Educated parents are empowered parents! Get clear answers to your parenting questions from Dr. Ari Brown...Read More

Related Drug Reviews

  • Drug Name User Reviews

Report Problems to the
Food and Drug Administration

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.