Baby Accidentally Drinks Bathwater – Tips To Help You Cope

If you are an observant parent, you will notice that your baby may be drinking bathwater when in the bath or when you are bathing them.

Bathwater is a mixture of soap, shampoo, dead skin cells, oils, bacteria, and germs, often with a splash of urine thrown in.

If you are concerned that your baby accidentally drinks bathwater, then ride with me as we can x-ray the answer to your range of questions.

Is Drinking Bath Water Bad?

There is no doubt that bathwater is usually unsightly and dirty because it is a mixture of soap, shampoo, dead skin cells, oils, bacteria, and germs, often with a splash of urine thrown in.

Babies will always be babies and most of their actions are impulsive, they do not think before they act neither do they understand the gravity of their actions.

That is why it is commendable and encouraging for you to keep an eye on your baby when you are bathing him or her because, at that stage in their lives, they need constant supervision.

If you do not supervise your baby during bath sessions you may not like the outcome as your baby may drink the bathwater.

Who would want her baby to consume water that has a mixture of soap, shampoo, dead skin cells, oils, bacteria, and germs, often with a splash of urine thrown in as its constituents?

It is unhygienic and not good for your baby to form a habit of drinking his or her bathwater.

Remember that habits hardly die that is why it is not good to allow your baby to continue indulging himself or herself in drinking his or her bathwater.

Strive to make your baby realize that drinking bathwater is a complete no for you as that will help your baby stop drinking his or her bathwater.

How Much Bath Water Did Your Baby Swallow?

If you noticed that your baby has swallowed a significant amount of bathwater, your baby may just spit it up or burp and this is completely normal, especially if you’re baby is under the age of 6 months.

This is because, at this age, babies are not allowed to drink water. The reason is that it causes an upset stomach and may cause water intoxication. However, accidentally swallowing a small amount of water shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

But, if the water was bathwater, you might have a reason to feel a little bit more concerned.

Can Swallowing Bath Water Make a Baby Sick?

Most soap and bath shampoos made for skin application are minimally poisonous in small quantities, but children can die from drinking bath water since it is a mixture of soap, shampoo, dead skin cells, oils, bacteria, and germs, often with a splash of urine thrown in.

If your baby drank soapy water, look out for the following signs of soap poisoning:

  • Possible vomiting or vomiting blood
  • Presence of blood in the stool
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low heart rate
  • Difficulty in breathing or swelling of the throat

When in doubt, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. You can also have an option to chat with them online. Barring the presence of these serious signs, no action will be needed.

If you can offer your baby water without exceeding your doctor’s recommended daily intake of water, then go ahead to head off an upset tummy.

Use Non-Toxic Shampoos And Soaps

Some bathing shampoos contain toxic ingredients that are quite harmful to babies when ingested. These shampoos can threaten your baby’s help when your baby ingests about a mouth full of it.

Adult soaps and shampoo contain surfactants that go by the name lauryl sulfate or Laureth sulfate.

These ingredients help lather your hair, and they are also more likely to cause stomach upset when ingested.

It’s always best for you to use organic baby shampoo or soap formulated especially for babies while bathing your baby.

Most Baby shampoos are formulated with non-toxic ingredients that won’t hurt your baby’s skin or harm the baby when ingested.

Here are a few of the most trusted brands of baby-friendly soaps to consider:

Read Also: Baby Cries When Bathing (Tips To Help You Cope)

Baby Accidentally Drinks Bathwater: Tips To Prevent It From Happening

By the time your baby clocks the 10th month he or she would have learned that bathwater isn’t good for drinking as a result of improved memory.

At this stage, the baby’s brain is well developed enough to remember certain words, actions, and tones of words.

This will help keep them in check knowing that drinking water from the bathwater is a no.

The following tips will help prevent your baby from swallowing any bathwater. Practicing any of these tips will help ensure you never have to deal with this kind of incident while enjoying baby bath moments with your child.

1. Gather Everything You Need For Bath Time

Before you even thought of putting your baby in the bathtub, ensure that everything you need for bath time is available.

Making sure that everything you need for the job is ready will help prevent you from turning away from your baby to grab any item you forgot.

Of course, we all are familiar with how easily babies usually slip out of their grip. This is why you must have all your bath supplies beside you so that you can focus on holding your baby while bathing.

Invest in squirt top soaps; this will make it easier for you to clean your baby with one hand.

While bathing your baby, ensure you have the towel close to you so you can grab it easily, and wrap it around your baby, once you’re done bathing him/her.

2. Do Not Leave Your Baby Unattended in the Bath

Never leave your baby unattended in the bath. Make sure you’re always beside your baby when they’re in the bathtub even if you’re baby can sit up,  ensure you always keep an eye on them while in the bathtub.

If you forgot to bring something along with you, have someone (it could be your partner, friend, or mom) come into the bathroom to watch the baby while you go and fetch the item.

In a situation where no one’s with you, you can just pick your baby up out of the water and take them with you while you go fetch what you need. Always apply safety first!

3. Set a Bath Mat Down

If you’re bathing your baby in the regular bathroom bathtub, make sure you lay down a bath mat on the bottom of it.

This will help reduce the chance of your baby slipping into the water, or hitting the edge of the tub because they use strong suction cups to stick to the bathtub floor.

Therefore, your baby is unable to take the mat off or move it around. While some baby bathtubs may have rough surfaces to keep your baby in one place, they may not be sturdy enough.

Same as placing a towel underneath your baby is also not a good idea. The towel is most likely to move along with your baby, and if your child notices the slippery movement, he/she will most likely grab it from right underneath them.

4. Keep the Water Shallow

As a caring mom, you want your baby to enjoy bath time by putting them in water that reaches up to their chest. But as you do this, you must extra careful when your kids get near the water.

The safest way to prevent the baby from accidentally drinking bathwater is to bathe the baby by filling only the tub up with about an inch or two of water.

At this level, your baby will still be able to enjoy the water and you’ll feel secure knowing that your baby can’t drown in it.

You can also place some toys in your baby’s bath to allow them to have fun while bathing is going on.

Also, try and make sure the bath water is warm enough for them to sit comfortably in the shallow water.

5. Invest in a Baby Bath Seat

If you want to feel extra secure while your baby is in the bathtub, you should think about investing in a bath seat. This is a bathing accessory that comes with strong suction cups that stick to the sides of the tub.

Baby bath seats are adjustable and can fit in any size of a bathtub. They somewhat look like a high chair, but they come without legs, unlike high chairs.

To use, just place your baby’s legs inside the leg holes while your baby holds on to the bar this keeps them seated.

Investing in bath seats is one of the safest ways to bathe your child and prevent them from drinking bathwater because the seat keeps them put.

Interestingly, some brands of bath seats have a swivel option to help turn your baby around.

6. Use a Baby Bath Cap/Visor

If you’re worried that your baby may accidentally drink bathwater when you pour water over their head, you can try using a baby bath cap to protect their face from the water.

This bathing item goes around their head thereby preventing soap and water from getting on your baby’s face.

Wash their hair and, when you pour the water, the baby cap channels the water and soap to flow down the back of their head.

A baby bath cap is also helpful especially if your baby hates it when you pour water over their head. So, your baby will no more be crying or pushing your hands away during bath time.

7. Baby Swimming Lessons

Engaging your baby in swimming classes can help get your baby used to water and help your baby learn how to react in situations where they found themselves slipping under the water.

One interesting thing about babies is that they know how to hold their breath underwater. This is why it’s so easy to teach babies how to swim at an early stage.

Although, teaching your baby how to swim may not prevent them from drinking bathwater, but at least it will help teach them what to do when they fall into the water.

Read Also: How To Keep Bath Water Hot Longer

What to Do If Baby Accidentally Drinks Bathwater

Remember that in life that there are exceptions to everything and in the context of understudy, there are times when your baby shouldn’t drink the bathwater at all.

And this is when your baby’s bathwater contains your baby’s poop and in this situation, your baby shouldn’t be in the bath at all until your baby’s poop is cleared.

Once you notice that your baby has pooped in his or her bath, what you should do is to immediately take your baby out of the bathtub, throw the washcloth into the laundry basket to wash.

If you notice any floating matter even one that has sunk do not hesitate to get rid of it, then proceed and give the bathtub and bath toys a thorough cleaning with a disinfectant or mild soap using hot water before using it again.

While this is done monitor your child for any unusual response he or she might exhibit as a result of swallowing unhygienic bathwater.

Your baby may experience some stomach upset and this is as a result of the shampoo and soap in the bathwater.

If it becomes critical that your baby vomits repeatedly or can’t keep down fluid, then do not hesitate to seek the service of your baby’s pediatrician or you may call the poison control department.

Read Also: When Can Babies Drink Distilled Water

Is It Possible For Baby To Drown After Drinking Bathwater?

Both dry and secondary drowning is remotely possible after a baby accidentally drinks bathwater.

However, parents and caregivers should be more concerned about traditional, or “wet” drowning, usually which occurs when a baby’s mouth is submerged in water.

Traditional drownings are the main cause of injury-related death for children ages 1 – 14 yrs. Only birth defects kill more children aged 1 – 4 yrs than drowning says CDC (Centers for disease control and prevention).

Dry Drowning: What Does It Mean?

The term “dry drowning” is gradually phasing out of favor with the medical field due to the lack of likelihood of the event occurring and the confusing nature of the name often suggests that there is water in the lungs as with traditional drowning.

According to ACEP (The American College of Emergency Physicians), there are no such “medically accepted conditions known as dry drowning’ and ‘secondary drowning.

Dry drowning is often referred to as the reflex that closes the body’s airway to prevent you from drowning.

Furthermore, it’s an uncontrollable spasm that occurs to a person after a potential or near-miss drowning event despite there being no remaining threat.

Drowning is a term commonly used when someone can’t get oxygen into their lungs.

Some people often liken this to swallowing water when you’re on the beach or in the pool, which results in water going into the stomach.

According to Dr. Michael Boniface of the Mayo Clinic, since this can happen occasionally with water going down into the lungs, that does not mean a drowning event.

Since dry drowning is usually a possibility when a baby has been submerged in water, here are signs to look out for after your baby has been submerged:

  • Fast breathing: This is one of the most concerning symptoms of dry drowning. As a concerned parent or caregiver, you should seek immediate medical attention for the child when you observe fast or labored breathing.
  • Fatigue and vomiting: Most people experience fatigue after swimming. However, if there was no drowning event, your baby is just tired. Vomiting also is a natural (but unrelated) response when a child has accidentally swallowed a lot of water.
  • Coughing that lasts for hours later: If you notice you’re coughing or if the cough does not resolve immediately after swimming, you should seek medical attention for proper evaluation by a doctor. A few coughs immediately after your child is done swimming is usually normal just to clear the airway.

Secondary Drowning: What Does It Mean?

Secondary drowning often called pulmonary edema occurs when fluid enters the lungs, collects in the air sacs that comprise the lungs, thereby causing inflammation hence limiting oxygen entering the bloodstream.

Pulmonary edema often occurs from heart problems, chest trauma, exposure to toxins, and pneumonia. Here are signs you should be concerned about secondary drowning.

  • Difficulty in breathing especially when lying down
  • Cough that yields forty sputum or sputum tinged with blood
  • Wheezing or gasping
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Bluish lips
  • Rapid heartbeat

If you notice any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to call 911 pulmonary edema is life-threatening.

Delay in the onset of respiratory problems is “quite low” in a situation where the child does not lose consciousness. It is not a result of swallowing water.

Medical experts suggest that if your child only swallows water while playing in the bath, there’s no need to worry.

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Wind Up

We hope this article has given in-depth discussion to answer the question of what to do if a baby accidentally drinks bathwater.

Your baby drinking bathwater may not sit well with you because it is unsightly but it causes no serious medical complication because the chances of your baby spitting out the water because of the soapy taste is high.

There are times when your baby may be having stomach cramps because of the consumption of shampoo and soap in the bathwater.

If your baby’s condition becomes critical that your baby vomits repeatedly or can’t keep down fluid, then you will need to seek the service of your baby’s pediatrician or you may call the poison control department.

Follow the steps given on how to prevent your baby from drinking bath water and it will become a thing of the past.