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Water safety for babies and children

In the home

Baths and water safety

The biggest risk of drowning for babies and children at home is the bath.

Make sure you:

  • never leave a child alone in the bath - even for a moment
  • if you need to leave the bathroom while bathing your child, take them with you
  • don't ask an older child to supervise if you need to leave the room
  • always drain the bath as soon as you are finished with it
  • never use bath seats

Having the bath too hot is the most common cause of fatal and severe scalds to young children.

When running a bath:

  • put the cold water in first
  • add warm water until it gets to the right temperature - around 36 degrees Celsius for newborns and 37 to 38 degrees Celsius for babies and children.
  • run cold water again to cool the taps so they won't burn your baby
  • always test the water with your elbow before putting a child in the bath

Related topic

Bathing your baby

Do not use bath seats

Do not use bath seats. They are not safety equipment.

Bath seats give you a false sense of safety. You may think you can safely step away from the bathtub for a moment. But Bath seats can tip over. They can then hold a child's head under the water.

Hot water in the home

Never hold your child while making or drinking hot drinks or cooking.

Scald injuries from kettles and sauce pans on cookers are common. Make sure small children cannot reach for pans or kettle leads. Always cook on back rings first, with handle turned in. Use a cooker guard for protection.

Keep hot drinks out of your child’s reach. It takes very little liquid to injure a child’s face and trunk area. Avoid using tablecloths as children can pull hot drinks down with them.

Related topics

Preventing burns and scalds from liquids

Preventing burns from cooking and hot food

Other water risks indoors

Empty any containers of water, like basins or mop buckets, when you have finished using them. Store them away after use.

Put child-proof latches or locks on toilet seats.

Related Content

page last reviewed: 28/03/2019
next review due: 28/03/2022