Baby Swallowed Bathwater: What Are The Risks?

Baby Swallowed Bathwater: What Are The Risks?

As a new parent, you will find yourself in plenty of new situations, many of which you may not immediately have an answer for, potentially causing stress and anxiety. One of these that we will be discussing today is the risks associated with your baby swallowing bath water. 

If you have never experienced this, you probably are unsure if there is cause for concern. Luckily, swallowing bathwater is a common occurrence for babies and should not be a cause for concern. 

Still, there are things you will want to look out for to make sure that your baby is okay after swallowing some bath water. In addition, it is worth looking into some ways to prevent your baby from doing this. Learn these things and more by reading further below, where we will address your concerns, and even come up with some responses. 

Table of Contents

Is It Ok If My Baby Swallows Bath Water?

Most of the time if your baby swallows bath water, there is no need to freak out. Your baby might cry after doing so, but this is a normal reaction that may be the result of it being surprised by the water. You also might notice your baby burping or coughing after. This is a normal reaction, and not often an indicator of other issues. 

Swallowing bath water is considered a normal occurrence for babies during bath time. Especially with infants being the curious and clumsy little things they are! So more often than not there is no cause for concern. 

When To Be Concerned

We would encourage parents not to panic or assume that there is any serious cause for worry without there being reliable signs that something is wrong. We all want to do our best to take proper care of our children, and knowing how to identify the signs of problems following this is important. 

To help you with identifying any potential causes for concern, we have included some situations below that you should look out for. 

The Baby Swallowed Water Mixed With Soap

Swallowing water on its own typically should cause any issues, but swallowing soapy water can cause some potential issues. Soap and shampoo can contain harmful substances that can create health risks for babies who accidentally ingest it. 

The most likely outcome from your baby accidentally swallowing water mixed with soap is an upset stomach. This can lead to runny poops or an achy belly. Other than that, swallowing soapy water is unlikely to cause any serious concerns, as your baby is unlikely to swallow large amounts, mostly due to the unpleasant taste. 

If you think your child has consumed a lot of soap and is having a serious reaction, it is important to contact the proper authority as soon as you possibly can. In that case, we recommend contacting Poison Control by calling them or visiting their website.

The Baby Swallowed A Lot Of Bathwater

If your baby has swallowed a lot of bath water, there may be cause for concern. Young infants under 6 months old are susceptible to a condition called “water intoxication” if they happen to consume too much water. They should not have this problem after swallowing a little bit of water, but too much, and this medical problem may show up. 

Water intoxication is rare, but will typically happen after an infant accidentally consumes too much water. For infants, consuming too much water at a time can cause the dilution of electrolytes in the child’s blood, potentially leading to some serious complications like lowered body temperature and in severe instances, seizures. 

If you believe your baby has swallowed a large amount of bath water, then it is important to seek out and identify any potential signs of water intoxication. Some symptoms to look out for are:

  • Drowsiness
  • Irritability 
  • Puffing of the Skin 
  • Face Swelling 
  • Rapid mood/concentration shift

If you suspect your child may be experiencing water intoxication, contact a medical professional for help as soon as possible. The symptoms of this condition can be hard to pick up on at first, but to prevent the occurrence of any serious issues or long-term concerns, identifying issues and getting help are extremely important. 

Dry Drowning

Dry drowning is described as occurring when a child or individual accidentally inhales water into the lungs. Following this they are likely to be okay for a time, but then later experience suffocation from water remaining in the lungs. If dry drowning is occurring, there are various signs to look out for like:

  • Fatigue
  • Unconsciousness
  • Choking/gagging 
  • Struggling to breathe 
  • Blue skin 

Understandably, the severe consequences of dry drowning make it quite a scary thing for parents. Cautious parents might fear this happening to their child, causing a great amount of distress and fear during bathtime. However, experts warn that dry drowning may not be as common as some believe.

Dry drowning does not occur just from a baby swallowing bath water. Dry drowning happens more precisely when the water is inhaled through the nose or mouth, as this is the main way for the liquid to make its way to the lungs. As such, for dry drowning to happen, the child’s head would need to be submerged in the water. 

This is a good reminder for why we have to keep a very close eye on babies while they are in the water. This is the only way to prevent possible harm from occurring and especially for preventing rare issues like dry drowning. 

How To Prevent Your Baby From Swallowing Bathwater

You will want to do everything you can to prevent your child from unnecessarily swallowing bath water. This will not only help to keep the child safe from harm but can also help to make their bath experience more enjoyable overall. Some small things can go a long way here, like: 

  • Don’t leave the baby alone-supervision is the most effective way to prevent any problems from occurring and infants should always be supervised while in the bath, and should never be left unattended. 
  • Use a baby seat – this help to immobilize the baby, keeping them in a seated upright position during the bath. 
  • Bath mats- using one of these will reduce the slippery surface of the tub so that your little one can get a better grip, and will thus be less likely to slip and become submerged in the water. 
  • Low water- the higher the water, the greater the risk. To keep things as safe as possible, try maintaining a low water level. 


Parents of newborn babies are understandably protective and concerned for their child’s well-being. If you’ve noticed your child accidentally swallowing bath water, we can’t blame you for being concerned for their safety. Fortunately, most of the time if your child only swallowed a small amount there should be no cause for concern.

Still, if you notice a reaction in your child, or feel that they have swallowed a lot of water, taking quick action is always the best route to take to ensure that your child is ok. As such we encourage parents to be prepared for these situations by having the right knowledge to identify potential issues, and by having the sense to call for help as soon as possible. 

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