Is It OK to Bathe a Baby with a Cold? Read This First!


When your baby is feeling poorly, it can be hard to know what to do. One thing many parents worry about is giving a sick baby a bath or shower. The thought of taking their temperature and then potentially risking the illness spreading by bathing them makes this difficult for some parents to do. Is it OK to bathe a baby with a cold? There are a few things to consider before deciding whether or not it is ok for your child to take a bath when he or she has been diagnosed with bronchitis, sinusitis, the flu, pneumonia etc.

Is it OK to bathe a baby with a cold?

You can bathe a sick baby provided you follow a few key precautions. Make sure you use a cool or lukewarm bath instead of hot water. This will help to avoid the risk of accidentally raising your baby’s body temperature which is essential in helping them feel better. Be careful not to submerge their head underwater and try not to cover too much of their face with suds as this can be uncomfortable for them if

What is the best way to bathe a baby with a fever?

Consider a sponge bath! A sponge bath could be a good option if:

  • Their fever is 104°F (40°C) or higher and
  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen hasn’t been able to lower their temperature and
  • Your child is distressed and wouldn’t do well in a traditional bath

If you’re planning to give your child a bath, consider administering acetaminophen or ibuprofen beforehand. After 30 minutes you should be able to tell whether the medicine has been effective in bringing down your child’s fever to less than 104°F (40°C).

Acetaminophen is a common medicine and can come in different dosages in different products. Always read the labels of any over-the-counter cold or flu medication that you intend to give your child. Never exceed the maximum daily dosage instructions on the label, as too much acetaminophen may be harmful.

Make sure the water is not too cold for your baby; use lukewarm water, at a temperature as high as 95°F (35°C).

Prepare before you start. Have a basin of water, a damp cloth with soap-free water, and a dry towel within reach, as well as any other supplies that you might need.

Lay your baby on a flat surface that is comfortable for both of you. If your baby is on a hard surface, pad it with a blanket or fluffy towel. Remember to always use safety straps when caring for baby if he/she is on an elevated surface, and never take your hands away from them until they are securely strapped in place.

Use a damp washcloth to thoroughly clean the face without getting water in her eyes or mouth. Dip the wet cloth in water before washing other parts of her body and then use it on the diaper area at the end of the bath.

One way to keep your baby warm during a sponge bath is by wrapping him in a dry towel and uncovering only the parts of his body that you are washing. Make sure to give special attention to areas like creases under the arms, behind the ears and around the neck, and the diaper area.

How do you soothe a baby with a cold?

A cold is never a fun thing for babies or adults. For those who have had one, the best way to soothe your symptoms is by drinking lots of fluids and taking medicine as directed. However, there are some other easy things that you can do to help out too!

Start by taking a deep breath, reminding yourself that crying is normal and not a sign that you’ve failed as a parent. If you’re all wound up your baby will sense that, and it’s likely to make them cry even more. So breathe, calm yourself down and let your baby know that you’re there to help them.

The more you are able to stay calm, the more likely your baby is to calm down, too. Anything you do around your baby will be absorbed into their little brain like a sponge (no pun intended!) do demonstrating calm behavior will encourage them to do the same in this situation.

Taking a bath might be the perfect form of comfort for an upset and feverish baby, but not all children enjoy having baths. If your child does not like to have a bath, don’t force it on them; instead, look for other ways to soothe their fever such as sucking on ice cubes or drinking plenty of fluids. You may find your little one is more comfortable taking a bath if you’re distracting them with your own actions, or with toys that they can play with themselves.

You can’t get rid of their cold directly, but you can reassure them that they are not alone. When your baby is sick, you can provide the comfort and nurturing they need to feel better by giving them lots of cuddles and soothing touches. Music might help your baby feel more relaxed, but you should introduce a soothing song this time – playing music with calming notes might have a better effect than rocking out to your favorite band. You could also massage your baby’s stomach by placing your hand on their stomach and pressing while making circular motions over the area.

A portable bath is a good way to keep the air around your baby warm

What is the best temperature water to bathe a sick baby?

If your little one is sick, aim to make the bathwater lukewarm. (95°F / 35°C) As they recover, you can increase the temperature to around 98.6°F (between 37°C and 38°C)

If you can, use a portable baby bath and bathe baby in your living area or use the kitchen sink (I did this for a long time!) where you can control the air temperature too. Depending on whether you’re fully bathing your baby, or leaving them partially covered, you will need to make sure you’re keeping the air comfortably warm. This will help keep them calm, too.

Will bathing my sick baby cause more harm than good?

The decision to bathe your baby while they’re sick will come down to whether or not you feel confident in the idea that your baby will be able to handle it. If your child is really unwell, it is safe to let them go a few days before giving them a bath.

You may find that bathing your baby is a good way to provide comfort and warmth; helping your baby relax and recover sooner. (I had two water babies; I could break tantrum inducing bad moods by running a quick bath!)

If you do decide to bath them make sure not to use scented soaps, products with detergents, or any other fragrance that could irritate a sensitive nose. Make sure to use just water and towels with no softeners on them.

You can also bathe your baby while they are partially covered in their favorite blanket, can see a stuffed animal, or get wrapped up in an ultra-soft towel for extra coziness! (Perhaps your child has a favorite character blanket that they would enjoy.)

To avoid spreading the illness to other parts of your home, always wash up before and after bathing them with soap or hand sanitizer. Wash their clothes in hot water so that any leftover bacteria is killed off as well.

You can bathe a sick child, but it’s okay to skip the bath, too.

It’s not nice when your child is feeling unwell. It doesn’t mean you need to change everything about how you care for them, though. Give them plenty of cuddles before you start to bathe them, which shows you’re there for them.

There’s a good chance they’ll be feeling better before you know it! Don’t forget that you can always reach out to your doctor or paediatrician for advice specific to your child if you’re feeling unsure.

Carly

Mother of two young boys (6 and 3!) and an avid "Googler", Carly is the kind to research something to the nth degree. Be it about products, hacks, or techniques, she shares what she finds out at her website - Fairy Good Mommy.

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