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Mom Confessions: I Leave My Toddler Alone in the Bath

by Cynthia Dermody on January 30, 2009 at 12:43 PM

mom confessionsIt's time for a Mom Confession -- because, let's face it, we're real mothers and sometimes it doesn't work the way the parenting books say it should.

This Week's Confession:

"My son is just about to turn 2 and he has been playing in the bath by himself for about a month now. He likes to take long baths, and it got to the point where I had stuff to do and I got tired of fighting to get him out. So now he takes a bath in the master bathroom while I'm close by in the bedroom folding clothes and picking up his toys. I don't go far, but I don't hover over him, either. --anonymous

Question: Do you leave your toddler alone in a shallow tub of water for a short period of time if you are close-by?
  1. Yes 39%
  2. No 36%
  3. I try not to, but admit I've done it on occassion. 23%
Total Votes: 1454
Voting on polls is not available on The Stir Mobile.

When is a safe time to begin granting your child more independence at bathtime? Does it depend more on your toddler's age or maturity?

We all have secrets and opinions -- so thanks to this brave mom for sharing her honest thoughts, and thank you for keeping this conversation non-judgemental!

Past Confessions:

Our Children Aren't Invited to Our Wedding

I Scold Other People's Kids

I'm on Vacation, But My Kid Is Still Going to Day Care

I Favor My Older Child

I Let My Toddler Eat Food Before Paying for It

Filed Under: confessions


  • kelinnh


    January 30, 2009 at 12:56 PM

    i dont because i have a ridiculous fear of drowing. however, my husband is the one who does the baths and he will leave them alone inthe tub for brief periods of time.

  • Jamie...


    January 30, 2009 at 1:08 PM

    I do leave my son alone in the tub but I dont fill it up, if he were to fall backwards he wouldn't even go under water, thats how little water goes in there.  I usually fill it up to right above him butt crack and thats it. 

  • Lovep...


    January 30, 2009 at 1:08 PM

    My guy is a little younger. I just make sure I don't do it while the water is running, and I definitely don't do it all the time. I work, so bath time is bonding time for us.  I also only do it when we need to take out the trash or if I'm putting laundry away in the hall closet. I just make sure I'm talking to him, and asking him to answer questions.

  • Novem...


    January 30, 2009 at 1:09 PM

    I also have a fear of drowning.  Having worked in several different ERs, I've worked on children who have come in that had drowned for various reasons (I lived in a seaside and resort community) and it's heartbreaking.  I know this is going to rub someone the wrong way but I think 2 is just too little to be doing that.  That's just my personal opinion, it doesn't mean I'm right.  If something were to happen to him and people question you as to why was he alone in the tub "he won't listen to me and get out when I tell him to and I have stuff to do" isn't an acceptable answer. 

  • May-20


    January 30, 2009 at 1:11 PM

    I started leaving them alone in the tub (not full, just below their belly button) for a few minutes around the time they turned three. I wouldn't go far, maybe to their bedrooms to tidy up a bit. All the doors were open, and we'd talk to each other. At they age, they were wanting a bit more independence. As long as they answered immediately when I called to them, I let them have it.

  • Lovem...


    January 30, 2009 at 1:18 PM

    My almost 3 year old daughter can all I have to worry about is her emptying all my shampoo into the tub with her. She was born a water baby and I can't keep her out of it. has tubby time sometmes twice a day if not then you have to dig her out of the

  • MDMom...


    January 30, 2009 at 1:20 PM

    I have walked out of the bathroom for a brief moment with my 2 kids (4 and almost 2) to get a towel from the bedroom or more soap from the hall closet or something like that.  But I have never left them in the bathtub to answer the door or to do laundry or anything like that.  I understand having things to get done, but I'd rather be up an extra 15 minutes after the boys are in bed than put their lives in jeopardy.

  • Amand...


    January 30, 2009 at 1:23 PM

    I've left my daughter in for a brief few seconds whille I get their pajamas and lotion out.. but I always make sure I keep talking to her and can hear her.. leaving her by herself for more than that is just not worth the risk to me..

  • Lelan...


    January 30, 2009 at 1:53 PM

    I've been leaving my almost 3 year old in the tub for almost a year now. He loves to play in the tub! He can get himself in and out of the tub just fine, so after I wash him, I leave the bathroom (leaving the door open) and go do whatever I need to do, and he gets himself out and drys off when he's ready.

    He makes LOTS of noise playing in the bath, so I can always hear him. The only time I go into check on him is if he gets too quiet... not necessarily for fear of him drowning but more for fear of him doing something he's not supposed to (like pouring ALL of the bubble bath in the tub!).

    I really think it all depends on the maturity levle of the child. Some toddler's can understand and communicate very well, other's still seem like little babies. You just have to know your child.

  • KatieJoy


    January 30, 2009 at 1:55 PM

    My daughter is almost 3 1/2 and I wont leave the bathroom for a second when she's in the tub, even if the water is draining out.  Usually both kids are in the bath, and when I take the baby out, I hold him, and she has to get out, holding my hand.  Sometimes she get's a little fussy about it, but that's just the rule.  I have a co-worker who wont let her 14 y/o take a shower when she's not home, she doesn't have to be in the room of course, just home.  I can see being like that, I'm pretty paranoid about easily avoided accidents.

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