My Baby Swallowed and Drank Bathwater!

Water is essential as it keeps you hydrated. But babies below six months should not be given any since your breast milk has enough water. Babies between 6 to 12 months should not be given more than 2 Ozs of water in 24 hours. 

Most babies look forward to having a bath because they can relax and have fun with the water. After soaping and rinsing the baby, most parents will find that most parents let them play a little with the water. However, the moment you turn away to grab a towel, your baby may slide, drink, and swallow the bathwater. In other instances, you find that your baby tends to drink bathwater when you are not looking, which is baffling. 

Although a little water is not harmful, bathwater has soap, and if he/she consumes a lot of it, your baby might suffer from an upset tummy, intoxication, or other complications.

Symptoms of Water Intoxication


Coughing is the most common symptom after drinking and swallowing too much bathwater. Suppose your child starts having continuous bouts of coughing several hours after bathing. It is a cause for alarm, and you should take him to see a doctor immediately.


After drinking and swallowing bath water, your baby might vomit immediately, which is okay. However, several hours after his bath, he starts vomiting. He has an upset stomach, which could be a result of inflammation due to soapy water. Or as a result of constant coughing.

Chest Pain

If your child holds his/her chest when coughing, it’s an indication that he/she is suffering from chest pains. This should be a cause for alarm as it could be due to a breathing problem. Or a fullness in the lungs because the stomach is pressing on the lungs

Faster and Deep Breathing

Another clear indication of a problem is shortness of breath. If your child’s breathing is faster and deeper than usual for an extended period, please take him to see a doctor or his pediatrician. 

Change in Behavior

It’s a cause for alarm if your usually bubbly and talkative child starts talking slowly after swallowing bath water. He/ she may also show signs of confusion. You may even notice that your child is more tired than usual.

Other symptoms include blurred vision, muscle cramps, low body temperature (-97 degrees Fahrenheit), and poor coordination. In severe cases, you may notice swelling in the face or seizures due to a lack of oxygen.

If your child has these symptoms, do not put him to sleep until your doctor gives you the go-ahead. We have all heard of cases of children who took a nap after swallowing bathwater, never to wake up again. Do not allow your child to be part of the statistics. 

How to Prevent Drinking Bathwater

If you see your child drinking bath water, do not shout or scream at him/her. Calmly tell your child that birth water is not for consumption as it is dirty. You can also remove all the toys from the water to eliminate the temptation. If these do not work, tell him there is a consequence of drinking bath water, such as cutting back on their water fun time. Please follow through with your warning; your child will make the connection and stop drinking bathwater.

You should ensure that you are using baby-friendly soap products. This is because, at one time, your baby will swallow a drop or two of bathwater. 

As a parent, you should be attentive when your child is bathing. Please do not take your eyes off him/her as it only takes a second to slide and drink the bathwater. 

Treating Water Intoxication

The pediatrician will give your baby diuretics to increase urination and remove water from the body. 

Too much water dilutes your baby’s normal sodium levels, which can eventually lead to seizures, coma, and in worst cases, death. Your doctor will give your baby a saline solution to normalize sodium levels in the body.

You should keep your phones away and pay attention to your baby when he/she is bathing. You should also know all the symptoms of water intoxication in case your baby drinks bathwater.