Here’s What to Do if Your Baby Swallows Bath Water 

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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Has your baby swallowed, inhaled, or drank bath water? Stay calm, and check out this article for the next steps. 

Overall, do not panic, and keep in mind that the risk of harm to your baby after swallowing bath water is very low. However, keep your eye out for any unusual symptoms, such as vomiting, and call poison control and seek emergency medical attention if they occur.

This article will discuss more information about the feared “dry drowning,” considerations of what the bath water contained, steps to take, and more. 

My Baby Has Inhaled or Swallowed Bath Water: What Should I Do?

If your baby has inhaled or swallowed some bath water, it is essential that you remain calm. Keep in mind the chances of harm from your baby drinking bath water is very low, so we will cover precautions to take just in case to ensure safety.

baby swallows bath water in a tub

Soap in the water is likely to be only minimally toxic (source: Poison Control). However, it is recommended by Poison Control that if your baby ate soap (or, in this case, drank soapy water), monitor for any vomiting or diarrhea.

If more than one instance of vomiting or frequent diarrhea occurs after consuming soap, call your local Poison Control.

Dirt or bacteria in the water is another concern many parents have after they realize that their baby drank bath water. However, it is essential to monitor for any signs of sickness. However, if your child has any symptoms of illness or has a weakened immune system, contain their doctor for guidance (source: Seattle Children’s). 

If you have heard about “dry drowning,” it may be comforting to hear that this sensationalized term is actually not a real medical term or condition. Theoretically, the idea is that after swallowing or inhaling water, your baby seems fine.

However, in this case, it is thought that the water remains inside your baby’s lungs, which can cause them to drown while they are no longer underwater. 

baby drinks bath water

There is some truth to this concept. However, there is no need to worry about drowning unless your baby is struggling underwater and cannot breathe (source: Cleveland Clinic). If your baby is completely submerged underwater, which is unlikely in the bath, then they should be checked out by medical professionals. 

Additionally, look out for symptoms including skin color change, persistent coughing, fever, loss of consciousness, difficulty breathing, vomiting, or foaming at the mouth (source: Cleveland Clinic). If you notice any of these, seek emergency medical attention immediately.

Let’s recap a step-by-step action plan for if your baby drinks bath water. 

  • Remove your child from the situation to prevent them from further drinking more bath water.
  • Consider if the bath had any soaps (especially non-baby-safe soaps) in it. 
  • Consider if the water was clean or dirty.
  • Monitor for symptoms of soap poisoning, such as vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Monitor for signs of drowning, including skin color change, difficulty breathing, or fever.
  • Contain Poison Control if you notice any symptoms or if your baby has a weakened immune system. 

Remember not to panic and that the chances of your baby getting sick from bath water is very low.

I hope this article was a helpful guide for what to do when your baby has swallowed bath water.