As a new parent, every little thing your baby does can seem like a big deal. And when you see them swallow some bathwater, it can send you into a panic trying to figure out if this is normal or if you need to do something.

But don't worry, you're not alone. Many parents have experienced this same situation. In this article, we will explore what to do if your baby swallows bath water, when to worry, if it's ok, and how to prevent it in the future. We'll also answer some frequently asked questions about baby bath time.

Babies need baths only 2-3 times per week. Too much can dry out their skin.

Why Would They Drink It?

Let's face it, bathing a baby can be a tricky thing. Its at an awkward angle, they are all floppy, you may or may not have other kids splashing around. Your trying to hold them, and wipe them, making sure to not get get it in their eyes. It's a lot to take on.

So no wonder they drink some. They may do this by accidentally turning over, drinking it when you are washing their head, or if they are old enough, doing it themselves on purpose either with their hands, a bath toy, or simply sticking their face in the water!

Baby swallowed bath water

Is It Dangerous For Babies To Swallow Bath Water?

First things first, if your baby has swallowed a small amount of bath water, typically there is nothing to worry about. It's common for infants and toddlers to accidentally swallow some during bath time.

But whatever is in the water, soaps, daily baby mess and even a little poop, could play havoc with their sensitive stomachs.

Babies can poop in the bath quite frequently, as warm water can stimulate their digestive system and cause them to have bowel movements.


There's a difference between your baby drinking some bath water and being submerged and involuntarily swallowing water!

If your baby seems fine and is breathing normally, then it's likely that they will be okay. However, if your baby swallowed a large amount or has difficulty breathing, or is noticeably upset or uncomfortable, then it is always best to call your pediatrician or a medical professional.

Baby bath time 

What Is Dry Drowning?

Dry drowning is a term that is used to describe a type of drowning that can occur when babies or young children inhale water through their nose or mouth, causing a spasm in their vocal cords. This spasm can make it difficult or impossible for the baby to breathe and is often accompanied by coughing, wheezing, and other respiratory symptoms.

While the term "dry drowning" is commonly used, doctors usually refer to this type of incident as a near-drowning or submersion event.

What Is Secondary Drowning?

Secondary drowning in babies occurs when a small amount of water enters their lungs and causes inflammation or swelling. This can lead to breathing difficulties and other symptoms hours or even days after the initial incident.

Secondary drowning is sometimes referred to as "delayed drowning" or "near drowning,".

Symptoms of secondary drowning can include coughing, difficulty breathing, chest pain, wheezing, and fatigue. In severe cases, it can be life-threatening.

It's important to note that any time a baby or young child experiences a near-drowning or submersion event, they should be evaluated by a healthcare professional, even if they seem fine initially. Delayed symptoms can occur in some cases, and prompt medical attention is crucial to ensure the best possible outcome.

Baby bath time 

How To Prevent Them Drinking Bath Water

To prevent your baby from swallowing bath water in the future, try to limit the amount of water in the tub. Fill the water to a level that is just above your baby's belly button, and always stay near and attentive during bath time.

You can buy a baby bath seat, which will help them to stay in a safe position above the water and supports the child's head. These baby bath seats are fairly inexpensive and a great baby shower gift too.

You may also want to buy a bath spout cover to prevent your baby from hitting their head on the spout, which can cause them to swallow water. And as your baby gets older, you can teach them to blow bubbles in the water and have fun while avoiding swallowing it.

If your baby frequently swallows bath water and becomes upset or starts coughing, then it's best to speak with a medical professional. It could be that your little one has a sensitivity or allergy to certain bath products, which can irritate their throats and cause a cough or gagging.

Make sure to read the labels of any bath products you use and switch to a hypoallergenic and gentle baby wash. If the issue persists, it's always best to speak with a pediatrician.

So, Don't Panic, But Be Aware

Overall, swallowing a small amount of bath water is not typically a cause for concern. However, it is always best to monitor your baby and call a medical professional if they appear uncomfortable or if you're worried.

To prevent your baby from swallowing bath water in the future, limit the amount of water in the bath, stay attentive during bath time, and switch to gentle and hypoallergenic bath products.

Remember, bath time should be a fun bonding experience for you and your baby, so don't let the fear of your baby swallowing bath water ruin the moment. Grab a baby seat or bath mats to ease the pressure of bath time and keep it relaxed.

To ease even more worry from your shoulders, get yourself a baby bath thermometer. That way you know the water is the right temperature for their little bodies.

More Mommy Know How!

Being a Mom is great, but no one tells you about all the other stuff you need to know. From bath time routines, to sleep habits, to milk storage rules and bassinet weight limits.

It may seem a little overwhelming but we are here to help you.

Top Baby Bath Thermometer: Beat the Heat for Secure Soaks!
Ensure perfect bath-time bliss with a top-notch baby bath thermometer! Measures and safeguards your little one’s bath time, making it enjoyable for all.

My Baby Bath FAQs

Can swallowing bath water cause my baby to get sick?

Typically, swallowing a small amount of bath water is safe and won't make your baby sick. However, swallowing a large amount of soapy water or any water contaminated with fecal matter can cause an upset stomach, diarrhea, or even lead to infections.

Is it okay to let my baby take a bath every day?

Yes, it's generally safe for babies to take a bath every day as long as the water is at a safe temperature and they are not swallowing too much water. However, every baby is different, and some may have more sensitive skin that may become irritated with daily baths. Speak with your pediatrician if you're unsure.

Should I add bubble bath or bath products to my baby's bath?

While bubble bath may be fun, some bath products can irritate a baby's sensitive skin or cause an allergic reaction. It's best to use gentle and hypoallergenic baby washes and products to avoid any issues with your little one.

Baby bath essentials

How To Bath A Baby

Bathing a baby can be a little intimidating at first, especially for new parents. Here are some general tips on how to bathe a baby:

  1. Gather all necessary supplies before starting: You'll need a clean washcloth, mild baby soap, a soft-bristled brush (if you want to wash your baby's hair), a clean towel, and a fresh diaper and clothing.
  2. Fill the tub with warm water: Make sure the water is not too hot or too cold. The ideal temperature should be around 100°F (37°C). Test the water with your wrist or elbow to make sure it's not too hot. Even better get a baby bath thermometer.
  3. Undress your baby: Take off any clothing or diaper and wrap your baby in a towel. Hold your baby over the tub and gently lower them into the water, feet first.
  4. Wash your baby: Use a gentle soap and a soft washcloth to clean your baby's skin gently. Wash your baby's hair with a little shampoo if needed. Be sure to rinse thoroughly and avoid getting soap or water in your baby's eyes, ears, or nose.
  5. Lift your baby out of the tub: When you're finished, wrap your baby in a clean towel and lift them out of the tub. Use another towel to pat them dry, paying special attention to all the creases and folds of their skin.
  6. Dress your baby: Once your baby is dry, put on a fresh diaper and clothing.

Remember, never leave your baby unattended in the bath, even for a second. Keep one hand on your baby at all times and use your other hand to wash them. With practice, you'll become more comfortable bathing your baby, and it will become a fun bonding experience for both of you.

Baby Bath Time Fun Finds!

Top Baby Bath Thermometer: Beat the Heat for Secure Soaks!
Ensure perfect bath-time bliss with a top-notch baby bath thermometer! Measures and safeguards your little one’s bath time, making it enjoyable for all.
Bath Time Magic: The Best Baby Bath Sponge!
Treat your baby to a safe and gentle bath with the best baby bath sponge. Soft, hypoallergenic, and perfect for delicate skin. Make bath time a joy!
Here at Mothers Best Buys we love to provide advice to you about issues around parenting. But please note we are no medically trained and you should always speak with a professional if you have concerns. We are an affiliate and if we mentioned products to you and you purchase them, we may receive a small commission. This doesn't affect our recommendations but allows us to keep creating these helpful posts for you.