General Question

YARNLADY's avatar

What age can a child be left alone in the bath?

Asked by YARNLADY (44353points) August 14th, 2012

I supervise my 3 year old grandson, but his Mom says he can stay alone.

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23 Answers

psyonicpanda's avatar

I would not let a three year old take a bath alone they are still a little too inquisitive. I would though let a six or seven year old because then they have a better understanding of what is expected of Bath time and would always check on them every few minutes. Leaving children alone at all can be a dangerous situration. I think its more of a judgement call.

augustlan's avatar

I think three is too young. If I remember correctly, we supervised bath (and later, shower) time until our girls were five or so.

AshlynM's avatar

That’s hard to say. I’m guessing from age 6 and up would be old enough to bathe by themselves. It may also depend on the maturity of the child and how comfortable they are bathing themselves without assistance.

abundantlife's avatar

Not under 5 years. You never know what they going to do. Also it depends upon the childs intellectual level.

Bellatrix's avatar

I think five is the earliest and even then it would be with a lot of unobtrusive supervision. I can’t remember how old my children were when I left them alone but I was a bit of a mother hen about my kids and water. Kids drown silently.

jca's avatar

In the state that I live in, leaving a 3 year old alone in a bathtub warrants a call to Child Protective Services.

As a parent, I can tell you that I would not have left my 3 year old alone in the tub. My child is 5 now, has had swimming lessons, can swim, and even now, I may leave her for not more than two minutes without checking on her.

Tell his mom that being too confident about this can result in disaster, and better safe than sorry when it comes to the health and safety of a child.

mattbrowne's avatar

When a child is able to swim.

nosleepinbrooklyn's avatar

That’s madness. I might run out to get a towel but not leave a three year old alone for any longer. It’s the nature of the age to take risks, without having any concept of danger. No way. Even after my children have swim lessons I’ll still keep an half an eye on the tub. If they slip and bump their heads it won’t take long to drown.

zenvelo's avatar

I didn’t leave my kids alone in the bath until they were 5, and then only for a moment. And they weren’t completely on their own until age 7.

rooeytoo's avatar

There is a public service commercial on the telly here regarding babies and water. I am not 100% sure but I think it says a child can drown in 20 seconds and in a very small amount of water. It really makes you sit up and take notice. I wouldn’t leave a baby that young alone in the tub until it was at least 5 or 6.

keobooks's avatar

I’m curious what the readers of Free Range Kids would have to say. While I still watch my daughter, I don’t hover over her all the time. After the scrubbing part is over, I sit on the toilet with a book while she splashes around so she FEELS unsupervised, but I’m actually watching her all the time.

JLeslie's avatar

3? That sounds crazy to me. I don’t have children, but I have babysat children and would never leave a 3 year old alone in a bathtub. At age 5 I might leave for a minute to take care of something, but be talking to them the whole time to make sure the child is responding and ok. If it was two children I might feel a little more secure if I can hear them talking and playing in the water, and there is a buddy system so to speak. That is assuming the children don’t tend to want to kill each other, but, would still need to be within ear shot. But, not three. Three is too young.

This sounds like a case of, nothing has ever happened before so it is ok. like on Q’s when people say I leave my door unlocked all the time and have never been robbed. Maybe the bad thing is not likely to happen, but if it does it will be awful. A toddler drowning in a tub is really so bad, even if it only happens one in 300,000 of children left alone (made up number) the result is too devastating to risk it in my opinion.

gedwards's avatar

It depends on your observation and feeling. If you feel that he can do it on his own, so let it be.

zensky's avatar

I agree with my esteemed friend @mattbrowne – when they can swim alone, they can bathe alone. Til then – parental watch or showers.

kcampbell's avatar

As long as he can do it w/out your supervision, he’s free to be alone.

bkcunningham's avatar

@YARNLADY, are you questioning the safety of leaving a child alone in the bathtub or whether or not they are able to properly clean their body? I don’t think the average 3-year old can properly clean their body without help. It is a teaching time and I’d allow them to learn the proper procedure, but I’d not depend on the child to get their bottom clean or their hair washed properly.

As to the safety, I would supervise but I wouldn’t be afraid to step away for a minute if I could still hear the child while carrying-on a back-and-forth conversation. It is really your own comfort level though. I don’t see why she would object to you wanting to err on the side of caution.

gailcalled's avatar

Not in my house. A child can slip or skid in soapy water and bump his head easily when he is little and still a bit wobbly on his pins.

I, too, used the “can s/he swim?” rule. That was 5 or 6.

jca's avatar

To the cleaning herself aspect, I will wash my daughter’s hair and body, and then she plays for a while, with me sitting there. I may step out to get her clothes or shut something off on the stove, for a minute or two. If I’m out for more than two minutes, I’ll make sure I call her or talk to her so I know everything’s all right. My daughter is 5. I think 3 needs pretty much constant watching.

The way @YARNLADY makes it sound, she means leaving them for a long time alone, which I feel is not ok, especially at age 3. Like I said, in my state, this is Child Protective Services-type of trouble for doing that at age 3.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

At three, Mom ran the bath water and helped me in. Then she would leave, unless my hair needed washing. She,or someone else, would come do some detailed cleaning and help me out.

I realize that it may sound awful, and if I had a child, I’d follow @keobooks lead. All I can tell you is that I followed instructions not to stand up or try to get out on my own, so maybe that is where the trust came into play. Plus, as child #4, I’m assuming that the parents had some experience with this.

keobooks's avatar

I was thinking about this and remembered a time that I was left alone in the bathtub at about 3 or 4. I totally trashed the bathroom. She had this huge clawfoot tub and I splashed water onto the ceiling and walls (that were wallpapered instead of tiled) I dragged all of the towels from the racks down into the water. I took the toilet paper and unrolled it into the tub. I dumped out all of the shampoo and conditioner onto the floor. Without hurting myself, I managed to jam a bunch of razor heads into this backflow part of the tub.

I think my grandma just went to answer the phone or something. I was not left unsupervised for a long time after that. So even if you don’t fear drowning, I think you have to remember some kids do stuff like this when unsupervised. The bathroom has all kinds of things to get into and mess up. They could also get bored or curious and mess around with the medicine cabinets.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@keobooks That, my friend, sounds just like what my oldest sister would have done. I wouldn’t leave either of you alone in the bathtub. As for stuff that a child shouldn’t touch, that stuff was always out of my reach.

YARNLADY's avatar

Sometimes both the 5 year old and the 3 year old are together, and there is no conflict between them most of the time. The mother in on her computer every waking minute of the day, and sitting a few feet down the hall.

At my house, I sit with them while I read or fold clothes.

rooeytoo's avatar

I couldn’t find the ad that I referenced. But here is an interesting article.

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