Is it ok to leave a 5yr old in bathtub alone?

Tracie - posted on 01/24/2010 ( 88 moms have responded )

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My 5 yr old son recently decided that he needs privacy from ALL women, including me! I understand his need, but since my husband can't always be here to do it I was wondering if he's old enough to do it himself. If I run the water and leave the door open, is it safe to let him take a bath without supervision? I would be less than 10ft away, so i could listen for him. My husband can help with his a couple of nights a week, so my son would just be washing his body. I think he's old enough, I've just always been told not to leave kids in the bath alone. Please help!

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Martine - posted on 02/05/2010

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My children (aged 3 & 7) tend to bathe together for my ease rather than anything else. I leave them alone for part of the bath to play but stay upstairs - it gives me time to tidy up, put laundry away etc. I then go back in to wash the youngest and supervise the eldest washing. I wouldn't leave them totally alone together purely for the mess that they can make with splashing etc which can trip our light swtiches. However, if they bath on their own, they do get time on their own with me nearby.

Michelle - posted on 08/15/2012

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i have some times left my children in the tub alone they are 4 and 3 year old girls but i am never really far a way maybe 10 ft at most to get pullups and pjs ready.

Bekah - posted on 08/11/2012

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I leave my five year old in the bathtub alone but I keep my ear open for sounds and when I don't hear anything I poke my head in. As long as you can hear splashing or talking or singing than he is fine.

Julie - posted on 08/10/2012

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I would leave my 5 year olds alone in the bath, but they were independent swimmers by that age. It really depends on the child and your comfort level. Bath time should be a relaxing quite time alone. Tell him to call you if he needs anything, or check on him every couple of minutes.

Emma - posted on 11/27/2011

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No it is not a good ideal to leave him alone because he could slip and fall get hurt even drown my 2 grands are 4,6. Mom still watch them or Dad but not alone it not safe.

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Amy - posted on 11/26/2012

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So very odd how western kids seem to desire privacy so early. I grew up in bulgaria, and bathing around adults/siblings until 12-13 is fairly common. Funny how different cultures are in regards to what's modest, and acceptable.

Cherish - posted on 09/21/2012

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Hi, my daugher has had a need for "privacy" since she was 4, and although sometimes I ignore it because I need to get something from the bathroom "or use it", I have pretty much let her take a bath on her own. I am always within hearing distance and if there is a silence for longer than 10 seconds, I am in there checking on her. As long as you can hear what's going on, I think 5 is an acceptable age.

Sophia - posted on 09/21/2012

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NO .. BECAUSE HE CAN GET BURN FROM THE WATER. KIDS THAT AGE LIKE TO PLAY WITH WATER.. HE CAN FALL AND GET HURT... YOU WILL FIND YOURSELF ON THE 11 PM NEWS.

Andrea - posted on 08/20/2012

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My well behaved 5 year old has been bathing herself for a year now. She needs help with her hair since its long but she does it alone every other night. Shes fine. We took plenty of time teaching and i still go in and check at least once. Since im pregnant i usually have to pee anyway.
Teach them how to do it then let them do it. Check on them discreetly but allow them to maintain their independence.

Sherri - posted on 08/14/2012

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Mine have all been playing in the bathtub by themselves since they were about 2 1/2. I would wash them up and then allow them to play solo for an hour or so. I would leave the bathroom door open and just keep an ear out.

By 5 they were completely solo other than help with their hair. I didn't even keep an ear out any longer they were more than old enough. They could turn shower on/off get themselves in and out and dry themselves off and dressed, all without my help.

Joanne - posted on 08/13/2012

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Hi i have 3 dds 10, 7 and 3 years old 3 and 7 share shower but now 7 wonts to shower by her self, so 3 yold has shower i Dont leave her alone when shes nearly finished then the 7 y old comes and get ready for her shower while she has hers, i go dry 3 y old i cheak on 7 y old go put pjs on her bed i start tea go put shamp/cond in hair do more veg go cheak on her get her out i make sure all hairstuff is out first, get her to turn hot then cold water off then she gets out i rub hair, i give it 15min for water to heat back up then put 10 yold in i turn water on for her and leave for her to wash her hair put shamp/cond in and do more cooking for tea get pjs ready for dd cheak on her to see if she ready to get out if is she turns hot then cold tapes off i rub her hair then send her to her room to get dressed, if the 7 or 10 need me they bang on the wall i can hear them and cheak on them 2,3 times while there in the shower for the 10minutes there in there, my 10 y old has special needs also.

Emma - posted on 11/27/2011

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I dont think it a good ideal to me cause things happens so fast slips, falls,and they could drown in seconds even in a little bit of water he needs supervision while bathing please dont' leave him alone.

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As long as you can still hear them... 5 is plenty old enough to bathe alone. Shower? My girls (10 in 2 weeks) have had many, many more accidents/injuries in the shower than they ever have in the bath. They started bathing alone (well, together since they're twins) as soon as we GOT a tub... they were almost 4.5. My 3.5 year old son is frequently in the tub alone. I (and his sisters) can hear him from anywhere in the house and can be in there in about 5 seconds if needed. If he's not making noise... he's 'yelled' at and checked on and has never had a problem whatsoever.

Julie - posted on 02/05/2010

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I think it's perfectly alright to leave an older child in the tub alone, being that you are close by.

My son (5) was playing in the tub alone (the door was cracked open) and I was in the other room. He's usually pretty noisy when tub playing, but not this time. I knocked and went in to see him lying face down in the tub...my heart dropped to the floor and panic raged through my entire body. Then a split second later, he came up for air...he was practicing holding his breathe under water because that's what the kids were learning in swimming lessons. As a mom, worrying and being overly cautious and quick to panic goes with the job. However, our job should not prevent our kids from growing up and maturing.

Michelle - posted on 02/04/2010

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I have my son cover himself with a washcloth as I was his hair and face. After we rinse the hair, I leave the bathroom and let him finish his bath. I always stay close by so I can hear him. It works great for us... He gets his bathtime and I get time to do some random chore around the house...

Jakki - posted on 02/04/2010

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I am incredulous that you worry about 5 a year old drowning in a few inches of water.



There are far more dangerous things in life than that!

Amy - posted on 02/03/2010

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My 5 year old takes baths by himself and I have never had any problems. Most nights he takes showers but on special nights he gets to take baths and he loves it. I never fill the tub super full and always leave the door open and my ears alert but have never ever had anything go wrong. My son even does the water on his own. Every child is different though so use your best judgment. I don't think the average 5 year old would be a problem though.

Anna - posted on 02/03/2010

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i allow my 4 year old some alone playtime in the bath after i've washed her, I ask her to sing me her favorite song whilst in there so i can hear that she is still ok

Alberta - posted on 02/02/2010

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It's never a safe idea to leave them alone BUT when my oldest was about 5yo she wanted privacy too! I told her I would suppwervise washing of hair and body but then I would give her some time alone. She loves to sing so I told her that as long as I could hear singing or talking I would stay out but if it stopped for more than 10 seconds I would come in. She sang and I sat on the couch! (my couch is only about 5 feet from the bathroom door too!) Maybe something like that would work!

Sylvia - posted on 01/31/2010

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Well, I was bathing myself when I was four or five, and I survived...

If I still had to sit with my kiddo the entire time she's in the bath, I would never get anything done on Sunday nights. She would be perfectly happy to spend an hour in there, doing whatever it is she does o_O. (She's 7, btw.) DH or I go in there and wash her hair -- she's got a ton of it -- and one of us will sit with her for a bit if she asks, but otherwise she's on her own. I'm trying to remember what we did when she was 5 ... DH has mostly handled baths since she was a toddler, and he's much more paranoid about drowning than I am (possibly because he doesn't swim well, whereas I do), but recently even he has realized that really, she's FINE in there without us sitting there the entire time.

I think it's probably perfectly safe, as long as he's not prone to the kind of horsing around in the bath that could lead to slips and falls and knocking of heads against things, and as long as he knows not to turn on the hot water by itself or splash water all over the floor or whatever.

Carrie - posted on 01/31/2010

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I agree I let my 5yr old daughter take a bath alone but I leave the door open and check on her.

Casey - posted on 01/31/2010

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My oldest two (6 and 5) bath themselves and have for close to 2 years. Everyone keeps suggesting showers - test your son with it first. My 5 year old is TERRIFIED of showers regardless of if she's alone, if her sisters with her, and how many toys there are. She does NOT do showers. But I think at 5 if they're metally 'old enough' then they're fine bathing themselves. My girls even do their own hair (I do smell checks too - hair and neck Lol)

Annemaree - posted on 01/31/2010

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i think its ok if u leave ur 5yo in the tub by himself as long as u were in hearing didtance i leave my girls 4 n 6 in the tub n tell them to sing so i can hear them it gives them the independence n confidence in growing up

Emily - posted on 01/31/2010

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absolutely. he is perfectly safe in the tub alone. i have five kids and they were bathing alone way b4 5 my son is 3 and takes a bath by himself all the time of course the door is open and i am close by but he can sit up fine talk holler if he needs you and everything. he probly wont get real clean without the assistant of your washing skills but he is perfectly fine in there alone.

Nichole - posted on 01/31/2010

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My daughter has been bathing herself now since she was about 3 years old. I can't remember when is the last time we actually watched our kids shower. We have a 16 month old that we leave in the shower alone for about 5 minutes to play. We don't plug the bath for him, so he just has the water running out of the shower head and everything is taken out of the shower beforehand (soap, shampoo, conditioner, any razors or other products) and he plays with his toys for about 5 minutes alone so we can tend to the other children. We leave the shower and bathroom doors open so that we can hear him. As the older two got to be about 2 years old, we would have to keep a close eye on them because that was the age where they seemed to want to climb in and out of the bath. Around 3, we would only go in there to soap them up and then let them have some time alone to play or relax, whatever. When they became old enough to soap themselves around 4 years old, then we didn't have to watch them anymore, just kept the door open to hear them and make sure they didn't slip or may need something. Like I said, we have a 5 year old and she is 100% independent of us during bath time. She undressed herself, readies her shower, cleans herself, and does it all with the doors closed just like a big kid. I think when people say don't leave them alone in the bath, they mean a tub full of water which I never let them do unsupervised before they were able to swim, because they could drown in less than a foot of water. If you want to try showers, he should be able to do so alone.

Amanda - posted on 01/30/2010

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I set everything up for my 5 year old i fill the tub to about half way with warm water. I add bubble bath. I have cups i put his shampoo in and his soap goes into a filible spongebob puff.. all he has to do is squeze spongebob and the gel soap is ready. i put everything where he caan easily reach and he dose it all himself. he calls when he is finished. he plays with his bath toys and he sings the body song where he washes the parts in order that the song sings. i here him so i know hes all right. by the time i get in there he has pulled the plug and the water is draining. I give him the 2 min inspection and he gets a before bed snack if he did a good job. he loves grapes so this is a big deal to him. yes it is ok to leave ur child alone just keep an ear out if u dont here them playin go check. lol good luck

Jen - posted on 01/30/2010

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also i feel like in the shower, if they get soap in their eye they might panic.. I mean they cannot see, they are standing, they might slip and fall. they have water spraying in their face I know I feel like I cannot breath when water hits my face... It's safer in my opinion to have the child sit. just keep a close listen, again, good luck

Jen - posted on 01/30/2010

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Hi. My children (8.5) and almost 6 have been bathing themselvs since they were 4... My son who's 8 started taking showers by age 6.... I read on other posts to let your child shower, it's quicker... But they prolly dont feel safe, or comfortable showering, that's a totally differnet expierance, My dauther will not shower alone unless I am taking one with her... I let my son do his own thing, he's old enough, I usually let my daughter wahs her body, i wash her hair for her.... I run her water and turn it off whn she's ready. My son has full access to do as he pleases.... he closes the door. I leave the bathroom door open a bit when my dauther is in the tub, and i'm usually very very close by!! I think it'll be okay to give your child that independence..... =)
Good Luck

NIKKI - posted on 01/30/2010

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Hi Tracie!! My son is 5, and he has been taking a shower by himself for a while. I leave the door open and it is alot quicker than a bath. Heck, he would be in taking a bath for hours if I let him!! I think it would be fine, just be cautious. Good Luck!

Anne - posted on 01/30/2010

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I used to let my 6 yr old daughter bathe alone.I'd always make sure i could hear her and always checked in on her..Now she'd rather take a shower..I'ts quicker and alot less messier...

Nicole - posted on 01/30/2010

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my daughter's almost five and she sits in there and plays fine...door open, etc...and i can run to the kitchen or fetch her toys for her...all that. we just have a system - even though i'm close, if I call her name she HAS to call back, immediately. even if you're folding clothes on the bed you still get panicky, you know! - but just hearing they're little voice makes you feel so much better and keeps you from running in to check them every five seconds...



and they want to be alone and talk to their toys and play their little games...and my daughter would take 5 baths a day if we let her

Sarah - posted on 01/30/2010

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I did my kids. I just left the door open a bit & if I heard nothing then I would go check on him.

Elizabeth - posted on 01/30/2010

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What i used to and will do with my son is when they are bathing i keep the door open and have a dialoge with them as long as they are talking they are alright!! singing!! telling me a story... if i can hear you.. you are fine..

Michelle - posted on 01/30/2010

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I have a very independent son who has been taking baths alone since he was 3yrs old and showers since he was almost 4yrs old. I do have to agree I'd keep the bathroom door open and maybe even set a baby monitor on the counter if you're going to be on the other side of the house.

Michelle - posted on 01/30/2010

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Mine doesn't like showers because she has issue with water that splashes. I will put away clothes or change sheets, something that keeps me upstairs for the duration of the bath. I'll call out "3 minutes" and she'll respond "ok" which also lets me know she's fine since the last time I peeked in. We started doing that when she was about 5 and she's fine.

Lea - posted on 01/29/2010

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My 4.5 year old daughter showers with me everyday, and has a bath, by herself, when she wants some alone "tub time" I am never further away than 10 feet, and I use this time to clean, dus, and change bedding in all the bedrooms upstairs. Then if I am really lucky, I will get a few minutes to myself with a good book!! There have been times where we have had to add more hot water to her bath as it cools down from the length of time she has been in there. She still does not mind me washing her, but once I am done, she gets to give herself a wash. She loves being in there with her mermaids, bath babies, bubbles, fizzies, and tub crayons!!

Corrie - posted on 01/29/2010

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I would be more worried about slipping in the shower and water on the floor than taking a bath. I let my 7 year old and 2 year old take baths together in the Big tub. I usualy use that time to take a much needed break. I can hear them and I check on them if I hear anything besides good "clean " fun. They have a blast. Yes I have had a new bottle of kids' shampoo emptied to make bubbles "the size of Dad", and of course I have had to mop up several watery messes. I am the clean checker before they can get out. Kids need to feel that they have earned some decision making and trust. They also get a lot of exploration time and confidence in the water. Both swim like fish in the pool and the ocean.

Kimberly - posted on 01/29/2010

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watch out for showering alone too young. Slips in the shower are a real hazzard.

Melanie - posted on 01/29/2010

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can he swim ? I have a 6 year old daughter that likes 2 have a play in the bath after she is washed, but the only reason I am confident 2 allow this is because we have a pool in the backyard & know she is a strong swimmer so she is very water smart i.e she knows what is safe around water & what is not & more importantly she know's why !!!
I think is u just talk 2 ur son about what is safe in the bath (like standing up sliding down the side of the bath like a slide i.e) as kids do need 2 be constantly reminded cause fun is more important than safe 2 kids of course .

Toni - posted on 01/29/2010

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Wow people analyze everything these days dont they? which can be a good thing. If your son wants privacy give it to him and do not peek in. check on him every 5 min. Personally I have a four year old and I will clean or do whatever I have to while hes taking a bath. Yes there have been accidents with people saying older kids have drowned but thats considered a freak accident and those rarely happen. Everyone says better safe then sorry but how many desicions are you going to have to make that are much harder than this one in the future? ALOT. Dont sweat the small stuff let him have his lilttle bit of independece.

Natalia - posted on 01/29/2010

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I think if you stay close and peek in to make sure he's ok, then it should be fine.

[deleted account]

At about 4 or 5 kids are able to get to most of the “hard” places by themselves. They will need you to check ears, feet and bottoms and do a final rinse. Shampooing remains Dad and Mom’s job until about age 6 or 7. Children aged 5-9 can handle most bathing tasks independently, but still need adult supervision and assistance. Never leave a child under 6 alone in the bath. Don’t even turn your back to them.

Holly - posted on 01/29/2010

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I thiink the best advice is know you child and look in from time to time. My son started to take a bath by himself at about 4 or 5 years old, but my daughter ( who will be 4 this summer) may be a different story, just because she is way too hyper and active to be left alone. Fear of drowning and slipping. she also likes to put her head in the water...just the idea of leaving her alone is sooo scaring. It just depends on the child I think.

Mandy - posted on 01/29/2010

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Hello. Great Question by the way! I believe every child is different and you as the mother know whats best for you child. I have a 5 yr old daughter and 9 yr old twin sons, my daughter started taking a bath by herself at 4 ( I still run the water as scalding can occur) because she has older brothers and we teach privacy. Sounds like your little man is growing up, take care and good luck with letting go of your baby, it is soooooo super hard to do that! :)

Corrine - posted on 01/29/2010

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i have a nearly 5 yr old daughter and she has been bath alone for about 6 months i normally just get the folding up and sit out side the bathroom and do that so that i can keep an ear out. I also give her a quick wash when i bath my younger daughter to make sure that she is cleaning herself properly. It also give me time to the folding up done. I hope this helps.

Julie - posted on 01/28/2010

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My daughter is also 5 and I am still nervous to leave her alone in the bath tub...you never know what can happen. Kids dont always make the best decision in regards to their safety...i.e; climbing on the side of the tub or jumping up and down. When I have to leave the bathroom, I have my dtr sing a song out loud so I can hear her constantly...It makes me feel better when I cant be right at her side.

Aisha - posted on 01/28/2010

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I think there is no harm in leaving him but just keep an eye on him & sometimes if u are around just try to talk to him so he wont feel alone & u can give him some time tht his bath should not be longer thn tht.

Jessica - posted on 01/28/2010

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I think that 5 is plenty old enough to be in the tub alone. My daughter has done it since she was about 4 and never has any trouble. Just take precautions: lay a towel down on the floor by the tub so that if he gets out, he won't slip. Watch the level of the water. Keep the door open and listen for him, as you said. It should be just fine.

Christina - posted on 01/28/2010

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as long as you r on the same floor level, & just in nxt room so u can hear him, it's fine if it gets too quiet check on him, jazz it up let him pick a new sponge or flanell to wash himself it should encourage washing himself, make sure he understands never to climb out of the bath alone, as my daughter keeps forgetting & trying to put her foot on the bath edge (danger of slipping & falling) instead of climbing straight over as she knows to

she is 4 yrs loves to play for an hour in bath

Katherine - posted on 01/28/2010

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I let my 5 yr old daughter bathe herself. I leave the door open and make her sing or I have a conversation with her while she is washing. She is such a waterbaby she makes a lot of noise in the tub anyways. I tried to let her shower but even with a bath mat in the tub she would slip a lot with the soap and suds. I find it easier to let her sit and sing!

Keri - posted on 01/28/2010

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I leave my 5 year old alone. He doesn't wash himself but he plays for 30 mins or so. When gets kinda quite I go check on him. He does just fine.

Lauren - posted on 01/28/2010

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Absolutely, don't leave kids in the bathroom alone. That said, I recommend asking your son to sing while he's in the tub if you're just outside the room. It's easy to see that you want to respect his need for boundaries and adjust to his growing maturity. Bathtub deal, "I'll leave if you sing. No singing? Mom comes back." Kinda hard to sing and drowned at the same time! :)

Gail - posted on 01/28/2010

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Hi Tracie
My son is 5 and I leave him alone in the bathroom often. Our routine is always the same . He climbs in I soap him down and wash his hair. Then I leave him to play for a while. I leave the door open and usually take that time to get his pj's ready and do some laundry (across from the bathroom) . I think all children are different and as a mom you know if your child can handle the tub alone or not. If you are not comfortable you could close the shower curtain to give him privacy and take the time you are waiting for him to clean the bathroom (since you are there) I am a fan of multi-tasking.

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