Water Safety With Babies

Water Safety With Babies

Water is necessary for life. We know that we need to drink 8 glasses of water a day to stay hydrated and we know that we need to bathe ourselves to keep clean & stay healthy. There are many things you should consider when it comes to water safety with babies. Water can be an ominous hazard for our babies for two different reasons; first of all, your want to make sure that your baby is always safe near and inside of water, and second your want to make sure your closely monitor the amount of water intake your baby gets because too much water can actually be fatal to your baby. By being mindful of how water can affect your baby, your can decrease the chances of drowning and water intoxication.

Making Sure Your Baby Is Safe Near And Inside Water

You should never leave your baby alone near a pool of water or inside a bathtub no matter how shallow it is. Infants can drown in only a few inches of water. Baby bath seats are not a substitute for adult supervision and neither is supporting rings.  Giving a bath, especially when you have a newborn, is very challenging for new parents because they are so tiny and it is very hard to keep a grip on them. Wet babies are very slippery. You can purchase a baby bath hammock such as this, which is especially made to put inside of your baby bathtub and it will support a newborns body instead of just having your newborn placed inside the bathtub by themselves.

But a good common sense way to practice water safety with baby is by staying within arms reach anytime your little one is inside or near the water. You can never, ever be too careful so don’t ever leave them alone even for a moment. 

Swimming lessons for infants are widely available, but they are not a way to prevent drowning in your baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend them for children until after they are 4 years old for several reasons;

You will be less cautious and be under the false impression that your baby can swim. Babies will always enter the water unknowingly, without supervision, regardless of if they feel like they know how to swim or not.

  • When babies enter the water and are immersed in it, they can swallow so much of it that they develop water intoxication. Symptoms of water intoxication are shock and convulsions. Water intoxication can lead to death.
  • Babies are not developmentally ready for formal swimming lessons until they are 4 years old. Children can learn the basics of swimming skills much more efficiently once their motor development has reached a five-year-old level .
  • Safety training doesn’t result in a significant increase in poolside safety skills or awareness of young children.

If your have a swimming pool, you should consider installing a 4 sided fence that is at least 4 feet tall and which completely separates the pool from the house. Rigid, motorized pool covers do not substitute a fence because they are least likely to be used consistently and appropriately. Here are some great quality pool fences you can place around your pool to keep your baby safely separated away from any large, private body of water.

Every parent should take a CPR class before baby is born. You can never be too careful.

If your decide on enrolling your baby anyway for a swimming program, make sure the class your choose adheres to national YMCA guidelines. Among other practical things, the guidelines forbid submersion of young children and encourage parents to participate in the activities so think of it as an opportunity to enjoy playing in the water together. When your baby becomes a 4-year-old child your might want to have him learn how to swim so he can feel comfortable in and around the water. But always remember that a child who knows how to swim needs to be watched constantly.

If your baby is relatively young (under 3 months) and you

Water safety with babies includes how much water ( as well as juice ) they consume !

So until your baby starts to eat solid foods, all the water that he needs he will get it from either breast milk or formula. In the first six months of a baby’s life, additional water or juice is unnecessary for breastfed or bottle-fed babies. After a bottle-fed baby turn 6 months old, your may offer him water between feedings, but do not force him to drink it or get worried if he rejects it. Consistently he might just prefer to get the extra liquid from more frequent feedings. Breastfed babies generally don’t need extra water after 6 months if they are still breastfeeding.

A general rule of thumb says that babies  under six months old should not have more than 2 ounces of plain water per day ( if you think they are dehydrated ) anymore than 4 ounces can be fatal so be very careful how much water your younger baby intakes during bathtime or while in a pool.

Once your baby is 6 months old and eating more solid food, his need for water will increase. Getting your baby used to the taste of plain water is a healthy habit that will last his whole lifetime. Trust me. My son prefers water over juice. Sometimes I will attempt to mix equal parts of organic juice and water to see if he might like that, or if he might prefer it over his water cup and all he does it take a sip, fling the sippy cup aside in disgust and then reach for his water cup. I am impressed.

9 out of 10 babies drink fruit juice by the time they are one years old. The most common juices that babies drink are apple juice, grape juice and pear juice. Fruit juice is not recommended by pediatricians because it has lots of sugar, and it is also hard to digest so it results in gas or diarrhea. Some fruit juices like white grape juice are easily digested because they contain a balance of carbohydrates and lack sorbitol, which causes cramping and diarrhea.

Also consider that juices do not have any significant amount of protein, fat, minerals or vitamins other than vitamin C. Usually that vitamin C is an additive and not actually from the juice itself. So instead of giving your baby a lot of juice, try giving him water with his meals. Babies / Children who drink too much water have an increase risk of becoming overweight later on.

You can regulate juice consumption by offering juice only with food, because it will slow down its absorption rate. Or try doing what I did with my son and offer equal parts juice with water. Just be mindful that if your are always offering your baby more juice, formula or milk at mealtimes your might curb your baby’s appetite for solid food and as a result your baby will become malnourished. Your baby only needs extra fluids like this when he’s ill, for instance like when he has a fever or experiencing diarrhea or vomiting. But during these times your should always ask your pediatrician how much water or fluids your baby needs.

The best fluid for a breastfed baby who is sick, is always breast milk.

What are your feelings or fears about water safety with your baby? Are your more concerned about having your baby near or inside water, or are your afraid of your baby accidentally drinking too much water, ( like during bath time or something? ) Most of the time little bits of water is OKAY and your baby will be fine. Water intoxication happens from young babies having more than 4 ounces of water during the day. Leave me your thoughts about water safety with babies in the comments below!

Great information and presentation! As an aspiring mother I’m trying to learn everything there is to know about taking care of a child and I had no idea this was such a big hazard. What would you recommend is the safest option for bathing your child?

When babies are new they are super slippery and hard to maneuver! Even if you have a baby bath, it can be very nerve wracking as a new parent trying to take on the task of giving their baby the very first bath ever. What I did, personally, is I folded a clean large towel and placed that inside the baby bath, along the seat almost like a cushion. And then I made sure not to fill up the bathtub too high, but just enough that my baby’s lower half was submerged, nothing higher. And then I was just really careful, and used a special teeny tiny baby washcloth to soap him up , and then I rinsed him by pouring clean water from the faucet on him with a cup.

Wow! I had no idea 4 ounces of water could be fatal for babies! I guess my wife and I should consider ourselves lucky. She was so tired in his first month that when she woke up to feed him, she grabbed a bottle with 2 ounces of water and forgot to mix the formula powder in and fed him the water! Luckily he was ok and it didn’t seem like it did anything to him. Thanks for sharing these facts about swimming, bathing, and feeding water to babies and young children! Very informative!

Your welcome! Many parents are unaware of the dangers of water on their baby’s. We all think since water is a pure substance that it is harmless. Our babies need to drink only fluids that are breastmilk and formula because they need ALL the nutrients possible. It takes a lot of energy to sustain and keep that “sucking” reflux that allows babies to eat their food. Sucking takes energy and time so whenever baby eats, its IMPORTANT! Drinking water FLUSHES out all the nutrients that baby ate throughout the day! Talk about defeating your own purpose! You drink water to refresh yourself. Babies need to continuously nourish themselves and if they flush out whatever they ‘ate’ earlier, they can seriously starve themselves and get seizures and other horrible things. So be careful! ONLY give water when a doctor says so! Make sure the only fluids are formula and/or breastmilk for babies until they are 6 months old!

Hi, this is a really interesting article. I really enjoy the part where you discuss just. Too much just can also lead to children being uninterested in water. I feel that having a natural desire to drink water is a really important life skill and as a teacher i have seen numerous children not wanting to drink it because they have always been given an alternative. Also, juice contains a lot of sugar and can lead to weight gain and health problems such as childhood obesity if over consumed. Thank you for sharing.

Hi! Thank you Catherine, you are right, alot of children develop a taste for juice much like a taste for sweets in general. I think parents try to avoid giving their children candies but make the mistake of offering little bits of juice here and there, I know that I am guilty of offering my son juice ( mixed with water always ) but for the most part he turns his nose up at the juice bottle and instead reaches for his water cup. Maybe this “taste” for juice happens around the 4 to 6 month mark when babies are first allowed to taste solid foods for the first time, sometimes they are given fruit purees instead of rice cereal or veggies, and then along with that fruit puree comes bit of fruit juice. It happens and its okay. The best thing is to stop giving juice as soon as you are aware its not good for baby. It can cause tooth decay even if your baby has not developed all their teeth yet, in the future when teeth come out they will have cavities already. So in the most part; Water is always good. But water for babies under 6 month is not necessary.

Great information in your post. Are those fences you have showcased there durable and sturdy enough to withstand a child perhaps knocking it down? I have a gate I actually previously used for when I had yorkies, you know a dog gate? And I placed that between the walkway to the water fountain in yard so that my granddaughter doesn’t go near the water but she is able to knock it down if we are not there to monitor. Of course we are always near her and she doesn’t get far but you know if left to her own devices she would indeed tear that thing down. I guess it is not meant for children anyway. I just want to know the quality of those fences do you think?

Donna thank you for your question . You are asking if the pool fences I have displayed here are durable and sturdy enough to withstand a toddler? To answer your question, yes they are. These are not flimsy fences made to keep puppies out. Theses fences are all required to be drilled in the ground to have installed, so they are very durable and do not just topple over. I guarantee they all have great reviews , backed by 4 to 5 stars, so I encourage you to check them out yourself and make a decision on a fence based on what you think will match your needs and look good in your backyard. They ALL are safety gates intended to keep children and pets safety out.

Great article with a plethora of information. I always wondered about that Nirvana baby! Thank you for bringing to light the fact that babies/toddlers and kids need to be monitored near water, especially now that it’s summertime. You hear all kinds of accidents happening around pools and babies. I also was taught that as adults we need to monitor how much we drink so as not to drink too much water. I just assumed that babies would stop drinking if they didn’t want anymore – thus avoiding overdrinking. No?

Thank you Shalisha! Babies have little tummies and to nourish themselves it takes alot of energy to eat. Babies stay hydrated primarily through either their mothers breastmilk, or the water from their formula mixture. Because their bodies are so little and the amounts of food they take in are so precise, its not practical to offer water which will “wash away” all the formula / breast milk they drank that day, and if you clean out the food then you starve the baby. If in the instance that baby is sick with a fever, or constipated and a little dehydrated, then it might be appropriate to offer some pedialyte. Do not give any baby under 6 months old more than 4 ounces of water per day. You should ask your pediatrician always because water because water poisoning / water intoxication is a real thing with babies.

So to answer your question, Do babies stop drinking if they don’t want anymore water? Well no, if a baby is HUNGRY, they do not know the difference between milk and water, and they will drink water as if it is formula or breastmilk, they will drink too much and get water intoxication definitely. Babies do not know how to ration their water intake because they do not understand they are drinking it to hydrate themselves. Water should not replace formula, it should be the BASE of the formula and of course make sure you properly measure the mixture. Too much water will dilute the formula and not properly nourish your baby. Too little water will make the formula too dense and too hard on baby’s kidneys. The scoops of formula do not need to be packed, just leveled out.

Most parents are not aware of this so its very dangerous when water is offered to baby and baby will just drink, drink and drink until they get sick. Symptoms of water intoxication are drowsiness, irritability and seizures. Obviously if this happens go to the emergency room. Most of all, just be mindful of water intake until baby is 6 months old. Even then you shouldn’t give baby too much water. Just be careful.


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