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What age is ok to leave kids alone in the bathtub?

I don't plan on leaving my son alone in there until he is at least 4-5 and I can trust him not only to be safe, but to actually get clean.

I am asking because I was over at my sister's house for a girl's night and she was letting her daughters bathe together alone. The younger one is 3, and the older one is 5 and has disabilities ( severe autism and no speech among several). Not only were they NOT washing, if they had wanted to they couldn't have, since the two of them (both big for their ages) barely fit in the tub. I used to wonder why her kids never had clean hair, now I know why.... Keep in mind these two do not get along and fight constantly. What if they got into it in the tub and the older one drowned the baby? Yes, I know how gentle some autistic kids are. NOT this little girl. She kicks pets, throws toys at babies (mine included!), and has given this same little sister several black eyes and fat lips. I stayed in the bathroom with them while they were in the tub ( I can't say took a bath, because to me that involves washing and they weren't). For my sister it was just a way to get rid of them while she was blabbing with some of the other girls who were over.

Before anybody says anything about her 5 year old throwing toys at my baby, I talked to my sister about it and she said ( her words exactly) "Well I can't control what she does. She's autistic. So if she throws toys its just what she does." I told her fine, my son will never be in the same house as her daughter again. P.S. She never actually HIT him with the toys she threw at him, but I wasn't about to wait for her aim to get better. She was throwing toy cars (matchbox size), plastic cups, and other hard objects and NO ONE, no matter what their status, is going to do that to my baby.

 
Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 8:22 AM on Apr. 29, 2011 in General Parenting

This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • So, are you more concerned with them not cleaning themselves, drowning, fighting, or your sister's parenting? For me, it'd be all the above! My DS is 6 and just now I leave him in the bath, but I irritate the crap out of him yelling, "Are you ok?" every minute. He will take a shower by himself though.
    yesmaam

    Answer by yesmaam at 8:30 AM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • Ok i am going to comment on your sister's comment about not being able to control her daughter.. A very good friend of mine has a three year old who is autistic and i have been their for his therapy sessions and they have said that children with autism can still follow rules and need to be in fact made aware of the rules more often and to use consistancy. Sounds like she is using her daughters autism as an excuse to not parent her and let her get away with things and thats just sad.
    amberpaiz

    Answer by amberpaiz at 8:38 AM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • i let my 4.5 and 2 year old bathe together, i wash them first, then give them about 10 minutes of playtime. i do leave the bathroom, but i am never out of earshot and i ask constantly if they're okay. my 4.5 year old also takes showers alone, and again, i wash her hair, supervise as she washes her own body, and then leave the bathroom and let her play for about 10 minutes. again, never out of earshot and constantly asking if she's okay.
    tnm786

    Answer by tnm786 at 8:39 AM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • My kids are 6 1/2 and 5 and I let them bathe alone... I am in the living room and I too am constantly yelling at them to make sure they are ok! Generally I can hear them playing and talking to themselves!! :) My son (6 1/2) can do everything himself... my daughter~ I go in and wash her hair and make sure she washes her body....
    ljbaudoin

    Answer by ljbaudoin at 8:42 AM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • my dd turned 6 today, but i have let her alone in the tub since last summer. She can't wash herself yet though or should I say not that well, but deffinatly not washing her hair so I go in and wash her hair and make sure she washs her body. Then I let her play a bit. My youngest is 3 and takes a bath with my older dd I let her alone with her sister goes her sister is a big mouth and tattles on everything lol. So she tells me if she is doing something she shouldn't. Plus I make them keep the door open and they are normally loud in the tub anyway. If they get quiet (which is rare) then I will go check on them.
    mommy5409

    Answer by mommy5409 at 8:52 AM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • My DD is 3 years and I will leave her alone to play after she is cleaned. My 6 year old bathes himself less his hair, I do that for him.

    And you CAN teach even a non-verbal autistic child rules. Autism is no excuse for not trying, it may be an *reason* why it takes much long or is more challenging but it is not an excuse If there is an issue then yes she should be supervising. Perhaps she is overwhelmed and needs guidance as to how to help her child. Not everyone is well versed in what therapies and monetary help are available. Bing non-verbal she could get SSI which would help pay for ABA which would greatly help with behavior.
    But_Mommie

    Answer by But_Mommie at 9:19 AM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • I've been letting DD play alone in the tub since age 2. I help her wash up, and wash her hair, but for most of the bath she's happy just playing in the tub. I am upstairs too, and hear her the entire time. She's 4 now, and I still go in and wash her hair up for her.
    KairisMama

    Answer by KairisMama at 9:23 AM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • My daughters are 2.5 and 5.5 years old and I let them play alone for a while. Again, I'm usually in the next room or the hall folding laundry or something, so I am not far. I let them play until they either say they want to get out or complain about the water being cold, then wash them up and get them out.

    I would not trust them to clean themselves. My oldest will do most of hers alone, but still needs help getting the shampoo out of her hair. I also don't have to worry about them getting violent with each other. I would have a hard time leaving them IN WATER knowing that one might knock the other down or kick or throw things at her sister.
    Mom-2-3-Girlz

    Answer by Mom-2-3-Girlz at 9:53 AM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • I would say 5 is the age is feel comfortable leaving my child alone in the tub.
    Stark89

    Answer by Stark89 at 8:03 PM on Apr. 29, 2011

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