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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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.

Maggie - posted on 01/28/2010

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Have you tried having him shower? My 7-year-old is private also (when he remembers to be, LOL) and even though he missed baths at first, he likes showering now. He will usually sit on the bottom of the tub and play under the shower stream for a bit. I keep the door ajar and listen for him but I feel much more comfortable with him in the shower than in the tub since there is no risk of him drowning in there. Just an idea!

Deborah - posted on 01/28/2010

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5 is honestly old enough. I certainly let my sons get bathed "alone" by then. They are able and can sit alone etc, my only concern way the bathroom being flooded once they started to play cause mum wasn't in the room. The only thing that I did make a rule, door stays open and every now and then I shout to them, no so that they feel I'm checkin up on them just things like have you washed yet, or how wrinkley are your toes old man to ensure that they were ok cause as a mum.. you know if everything is ok by the tone of voice.
The only thing that I would ask is why is all of a sudden wanting privacy from even YOU his mum. My oldest is 10 going on 11 and he isn't that way out although he knows about privacy and I would never walk in on him I knock etc

[deleted account]

My daughter is 4 1/2 and we started to leave her alone for a minute or two when she was about 4 years old. I just poke my head in ever so often to make sure she is doing alright. I usually have to help wash her hair but she washes her body. She also knows that she only gets water to her belly button.

Annmari - posted on 01/28/2010

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I agree that it is very tempting to leave them to it from around this age, but the advice from every quarter in the field of child health is that turning your back on them for even a few seconds is not acceptable because accidents happen so quickly...we just have no idea how horrific it could be in a worst case scenario. Having said that, I must admit that I would often go in and out of the bathroom! I think though that 7 or so is a more appropriate age to let them have their bath independently.

Sara - posted on 01/27/2010

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My son started around 4 to take a shower by himself. Now he is nine and I have to practically throw him in there. lol So yes if you feel your child is capable of doing it then I would let them. My daughter is 7 and can take a quick bath by herself but still not able to wash her hair and my son was able to at 5 all by himself. But I am always close by.

Paula - posted on 01/27/2010

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My just turned 5 yr old has tendency to want to do things by himself, but he's also adhd so can be forgetfull at times...so I am always close by to help. He mostly just plays with his watertoys in the tub. He also loves showers and tends to wash himself better in the shower.

Dara - posted on 01/27/2010

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my daughter, 5 and a little bit, just started taking her baths by herself...I still leave the door open and sit outside just in case she might need me for something...She knows that if I call her name she has to answer back, if not, I'll come waltzing in to check on her. She loves the independence taking her baths on her own! She's much happier now that she's "on her own".

Bridgette - posted on 01/27/2010

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I put the couch at the end of the hall way (in the living room) and my son and daughter at 4 yrs.took their baths by themselves with me trying not to be so protective of them, I left the door to the bathroom open and told them i was watching tv. They were ok. i could see them they saw me. I had a hard time watching tv though LOL.

Amy - posted on 01/27/2010

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It depends on the child I guess. My 5 year old takes baths with the door closed. I just run the water for him turn it off then let him have his privacy. Did the same for my two older kids never had any problems.

Beth - posted on 01/27/2010

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Our daughter is 7.5yrs old now and we have allowed her in the tub with us in the very next room with the door open and only after the bath has been filled and only just over the top of her legs [less than waist deep] - if we couldn't hear her playing than we called out or peeked in on her to check and see what was going on.

Rachael - posted on 01/27/2010

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Slipping and hitting his head is always going to be a risk, where he is 5 or 50. Heck adults have done it. When we started hitting that age, I had my kids sing to me for the length of their bath, when the singing stopped, so did the bath. To me the shower is more dangerous because the soap is on the floor which becomes more slick, the shower is running, making it harder for you to hear if your child needs help, and if you have a curtain instead of door then your child has something to become tangled in. If you have doors, even the tempered ones, it is still glass, something to go through. I have seizures, and when I have recently had one, or feel "funny", I ask my husband to sit in the bathroom with me. Yes independence is nice, but safety is important, too. My kids know now not to lock bathroom doors for some of these reasons as well. It's a lot harder to get in to help them if the door is locked~ I don't want to break down doors LOL!

Tammy - posted on 01/27/2010

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I think if you put a healthy phyically able 5 year old in a tub with 6-8 inches of water there is no reason they could not bath themselves alone. My 6 year old has been bathing alone for a couple years now and she does great. As long as they are making noise they are ok.

Brooke - posted on 01/27/2010

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my youngest are 5 & 4..and i let them shower and bathe alone....i still go in & wash thier hair, but washing thier bodies is up to them. They know not to touch the handles to make it hot or cold, so its fine. I dunno. I just think its okay really. I stay within ear shot tho.

Kris - posted on 01/27/2010

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My son is a month away from 6 yrs old and has been taking shower for almost a year now by himself. Still asks for help washing his hair but mostly just stands in there wasting water. Makes me crazy but hasn't had any problems. I think your 5 yr old is fine by himself.

Christine - posted on 01/27/2010

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It seems most people agree now is the age they usually want their privacy but it depends on the mental maturity of your child. My daughter is 5 and my son is 4 they both now like to Bathe themselves so I do what most people have said. Set a short time limit, 10 or 15 minutes, minimized the amount of toys they bring in, explain the safety rules, wash their hair yourself (I usually wait until the end which is how I announce that times up) then you can see if they're really clean and always stay within ear shot. I think it helps to call out to them every couple of minutes for their security as well. Occasionally I will get called in to help (like reaching something they'd like to bring in etc.). I'm sure you'll know if it's time when you try it the first time. My kids enjoy showers too but not as often, they get to 'play' more in the tub.

Laura - posted on 01/27/2010

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I just started letting my 5 year old daughter bathe alone. I was a little apprehensive about this milestone, but with everyone's reply; I feel much better about my decission to let her. I do peek in on her every few minutes and call her name often and she answers me back.

Alisa - posted on 01/26/2010

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i was really scared about this same thing. i have a 5 year old as well and i decided it wasnt a good idea to wash him anymore. so i did the shower with my son! he loves it and i feel like it is safer! i let him take toys in still and then i check on him A LOT. he feels so grown up!

Deb - posted on 01/26/2010

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With my kids, I left them for small increments at a time, I'd be "next door" and every so often call out "ok in there?" Also, the appropriate age will vary depending on the child. Observe him in the tub, how confident is he flipping over and righting himself? Does he seem to comprehend dunking his face under. I would encourage showers, too. My son is almost 7 - he has showered for over a year now and it's great. I will remind him to wash all of his parts. I then do a "smell check" - his head for shampoo and his elbow for body soap (that's where I stop), but he gets the idea. Early on, I did bust him a few times, because his hair didn't smell fresh, nor did his elbow. Since, then I'm just trusting him to "take care of business." Good luck.

Danielle - posted on 01/26/2010

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I would say yes. As long as your close enough to hear him and what's going on. You don't want to go outside and leave him in the tub for an hour, obviously; by that age they should be able to handle it. Go over safety rules with him. He's old enough to understand what is appropriate behavior for bath time.

NURIZAN - posted on 01/26/2010

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Dear Tracie, Personally...I NEVER leave the kids in the tub on their own due to the number of drowning & injury cases. My children (ages=4+ & 5+) takes their shower twice daily. They now prefer the shower than bath tub bcoz they get their privacy,it is much safer and cleaner. To make it more enjoyable...I provide a plastic basin & rubber duckies/toys. They each gets max of 10mins for each shower.

Shay - posted on 01/26/2010

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I think that as long as you are within a distance that you can hear him and get to him fast enough then it is alright. I wouldn't leave for a second though. Don't try to do other things while you are listening out for him because you may not hear what you need to hear. Keep alert and definitely keep one leg out in front of the other. You know in the march get set go stance. HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Angie - posted on 01/26/2010

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Maybe it's time for him to learn to give himself a shower. That's about the age my children were when they started showering.

Nicole - posted on 01/26/2010

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My son is like that to. I usally leave the door open and secretly check on him so he doesn't see me. I also limit his bath to 10 min.

Aliree - posted on 01/26/2010

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If you feel he can be responsible then he is old enough. I just started letting my 7 year old go by herself. She was not ready behavior wise until recently. They can't be in there jumping around and stuff. You could use that as a consequence/reward. AS long as he behaves he can do it himself but if he is gonna get into stuff and climb in and out then he needs adult with him. Good luck. It sure is nice when you just have to check hair and not break your back washing it!!

Kasey - posted on 01/26/2010

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I think it is all about what makes you comfortable as a parent. I allow my children to bathe alone, but I have them sing while they are bathing. I also pop in to check on them every few minutes. And we have a hair washing rule... I wash their hair first, and then allow them the privacy to bathe alone. I will double check and make sure they are completely clean before getting them out of the tub.

[deleted account]

Hi Tracie, our situations are different. My son is now 8 yrs. old but terrified of the water. When he was 4 yrs. old he was purposely pushed in 8 feet of water by an older child who just wanted to see someone drown...see them die. After spending 2 weeks in Intensive Care, he is terrified to be alone for too long in the bathtub. Within the last few months, He has requested to be left alone and has now started putting his head in the water when earlier if he got water in his face he would freak out.



Anyway, I said all of that to say, yes I think it would be okay to leave your little one to take a bath alone as long as the water come up to your elbow or just below it depending on how tall your little one is. The idea is to keep his face from going completely under water should he slip and fall or want to put his face in the water.

[deleted account]

I think as long as you are really paying attention to him from the next room it should be fine. You know your sons ability better than any of us. My daughter it 5 but she has known how to swim (with out floats) since she was 3. I do not have any problems with her bathing alone, and I have let her do it for about a year now. Keep in mind that swiming in 5ft of water is somehow less scary than sliping in the tub.....I still stay close by. I hope this helps.

Angie - posted on 01/26/2010

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i think showering by himself would be a better option. it's just way to easy for a child to drown.

Kelly - posted on 01/25/2010

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my son who is now almost 7 has been given himself a bath since he was 5...but i still go in their every other night and wash him down real good just to make sure he is doing a good job!! I think it is fine..but that is my opinion!!

Carrie - posted on 01/25/2010

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I would suggest letting me take a quick shower by himself instead. Why risk drowning? Remember, it only takes like 2 T of water in an adults lungs to drown; even less in children.

My four year old daughter showers... it's quicker!

[deleted account]

I think 5 is old enough, as long as you check on them or leave the door open. As long as he knows he shouldn't be jumping around and not to play with the hot water tap he'll be okay. It's normal for then to want to be independent by this age. I know people always say to not leave your kids in the bathtub alone but that's because some people will actually leave their babies or toddlers alone.

Deb - posted on 01/25/2010

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I think it is fine to leave your 5yr old in the tub alone. Like you said just make sure the door is open and you are close by so that you can hear him. At 5 or a bit younger my 7yr old started to bathe by himself.

Amanda - posted on 01/25/2010

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Hi Tracie, I have a 7yr boy going to 8 soon, when he was little, I was very supervisal my son, I stop supervising my son when he was 3 and a bit. By then they will be looking for indepence . He loves his bath, I let him turn the hot and cold water and filling it up, we added bubbles to make it more enjoyable for him. I maintain caution near by in talking distance. Then when we were happy to carry on the same rountine all the time. The rountine needed to be started from birth to right up till now . As they say

consistent consistent...

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