What Age Should You Let Your Child Bathe Alone?

child in bathtub

Children bathing alone is a scary transition. As a parent, you’re probably frightened your child will drown or, at minimum, slip and badly hurt themself.

It’s understandable your fear as a parent and your child’s eventual desire for privacy. In the end, it’s going to be about your child’s need for privacy and when you think they can follow basic safety rules.

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When Can a Child Bathe Alone?

Children are able to bathe alone when they reach an age that body privacy becomes important. This may be as young as four or as old as 10. Children under the age of eight should still have some supervision while in the bath or, at a minimum, have safety precautions in place.

The Potential Dangers of a Bath Tub

Many parents don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the risks of bathing until their children ask to be left alone. The primary cause of accidental death in children ages one to four is drowning.

About 60 children drown at home, in the bathtub, every year. Drownings can happen in only a few inches of water, which means even the shallowest bath can present danger.

The following are some tips on when to know if a child is ready to bathe independently and some ways to keep them safe.

Bathing Alone at An Early Age

So your child wants to bathe alone. Don’t despair. You have some good options for making sure they stay safe in the bathtub while also remaining self-sufficient.

When my children were young, we considered a closed shower curtain the most privacy they needed. When they were done with the bath, I pulled out the towel, wrapped them tightly, and gave them big after-bath hugs.

What if your child doesn’t think simply closing the shower curtain is enough? Try singing. My son was given the option of having a parent in the bathroom with him or for him to sing throughout his bath at the top of his lungs.

His rendition of “Home on the Range” was quite moving.

You should feel secure letting your children bathe alone with no supervision by the time they are eight or nine. You should still set limits on the amount of time they spend in the tub and limit baths to every other day until they reach puberty or unless they are extra dirty.

How to Keep Your Young Child Safe When Showering

I will never forget the sound of my daughter’s scream when she fell after her shower. The floor was wet and slippery. Her eight-year-old body fell face-first into the side of the tub.

Her front tooth bit through her bottom lip and broke off. She spent the night in the emergency room, the next day at the emergency pediatric oral surgeon, and will spend the rest of her life with a scar and a fake tooth.

My daughter’s accident could have been worse, but it could have also been prevented. Experts say that children as young as six years old can shower on their own.

If you think they can safely shower at that age, there is no reason not to let them. However, you do need some supplies to help you ensure their safety.

Anti-slip bathtub stickers are a must for showers. These stickers provide traction so feet aren’t constantly slipping on the wet, soapy water in the bottom of the tub.

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A bath rug is another must. Children need to ensure they thoroughly dry their feet before stepping onto the tile or linoleum in the bathroom. You will also need super absorbent towels.

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Super Cozy Memory Foam Bath Mat
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It’s not a bad idea to have a shower stool and a bar to grab into when getting out of the shower. Though many people think these are just for the elderly, they work great for young children as well.

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A shower curtain liner will help to keep water from getting outside of the shower and onto the floor. Add curtain weights so the liner stays put at all times.

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How to Manage Poor Hygiene

We spend a lot of time thinking about injuries, but what about cleanliness? When my son first started showering, he could spend half an hour in the shower and still come out stinking.

Make sure you teach your children how to properly bathe themselves and be prepared to re-teach them night after night (after night).

We finally got through to my son by getting him a scalp massaging shampoo brush. He loves the way it feels so much that his hair actually gets clean! We also keep shower puffs, and plenty of fun body washes in the shower.

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One item that really encouraged both of my kids to clean themselves well was the hidden money soap. These bars rarely have much money in them, but they do make the kids look forward to their showers.

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Safety First

Children need to be watched closely in the tub until they’re able to be safe bathers. Even then, accidents can happen. It’s wise to stay nearby and keep bath time short.

What age do you think is the right age for bathing alone? Tell us in the comments!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Most children will start helping to wash their own hair around 6-8 years of age. By age 10 most children should be washing their hair independently.