My sister Shelly and her husband Chris just had their first baby. Such an exciting time! Even before baby Sarah was born, Shelly asked if I could come over and help with her first baby bath. Since I LOVE babies, of course I said yes. So of course what happens? Literally the next day home from the hospital, their water heater started leaking! As if being new parents isn’t hard enough, they now had zero hot water.
Fortunately, Chris is a pretty handy guy. Even though the water heater is leaking pretty bad, he knew how to shut off the water right away to keep damage to a minimum. As for the water heater, it’s in the process of being replaced. Most water heaters typically don’t last more than 10-15 years. Turns out that theirs was almost 20 years old! The plumber told Chris that the tank itself was so corroded on the inside, he was shocked it didn’t fail sooner. Oh well, now they can get a newer (and bigger) water heater for their growing family.
I had Shelly bring Sarah over and we would get to do her first bath at our house (with warm water!). Like other parents, bathing our kids when they were newborns is something we assumed comes naturally to everyone but that’s not so. I came across an article a few weeks ago with tips for safe baby bathing. I was a bit embarrassed that even after going through the stage with my kids, some of the info was new to me. Here are some of the best tips for new moms:
- DO NOT leave your baby unattended. Hopefully this needs no explanation but a baby can drown in only an inch of water in a short period of time. Make sure you have everything you need for the bath ahead of time. Don’t leave your little one unsupervised for even a few seconds.
- Make sure the water is not too hot. Babies have much thinner and sensitive skin so the bath water should be comfortably warm (check the temperature with your wrist or inside of your elbow). According to Water Heater Hub, 130 degrees is the optimal temperature to set your water heater at. To be even more safe, you can turn it to 120 but don’t leave it that low constantly as it might not be hot enough to kill bacteria that may be in the water heater tank.
- Keep the bathroom warm. A newborn can get cold very quickly so make sure the door is closed to keep any drafts away. Turn on the overhead heat lamp if you have one.
- With newborns, will the tub with only about 3 inches of water. Slightly more for older babies.
- Make sure you use a gentle body wash or shampoo made especially for babies.
- Teach your baby not to touch the faucet handles or stand up in the bath (if they can). This is how burns or falls occur.
All in all, most are common sense although I admit I probably didn’t pay enough attention to the thermostat setting on our water heater.