Written by Lisa Truesdale. Medically reviewed by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Julie Jackson, MD, FAAD.
Rub-a-dub-dub, it’s so fun in the tub! Most kids have learned how to have a blast at bathtime, especially when they’re surrounded by mounds of floaty bubbles and have plenty of squirting and squeaking bath toys to keep them occupied while they get clean.
But are those bubbles really safe for children’s skin? And if so, how often should they even take a bath?
Here, we answer those questions and more, including the best bubbly formula to use and how to keep kids safe in the tub.
Are Bubble Baths Safe for Babies? If So, What’s the Best Type of Bubble Bath Soap to Use?
Let’s face it, bubbles are just plain fun. They help get the body clean while adding a little fun to the routine.
Newborns and infants don’t need bubbles in their bath; you’re doing all of the slippery, wet work, and they’re not yet old enough to have to be entertained while you do it.
For toddlers and older kids, though, bubble baths are generally safe, if you’re not filling the tub with a bubble product containing ingredients that can irritate the skin. According to the National Eczema Association, many personal-care products on the market contain harsh chemicals that can cause redness, burning, itching, and even hives when they come into contact with the skin. These chemicals include, but are not limited to:
- Artificial fragrances. A lab-created fragrance, meant to simulate the scent of a natural one, could contain hundreds of separate chemicals mixed together, and the manufacturer isn’t required to list all of those ingredients if the fragrance is considered to be a trade secret.
- Formaldehyde is often used in personal-care products as a preservative, and it’s a common allergen among children and adults.
- Isothiazolinones are added to many personal-care products to help prevent bacteria growth so the product has a longer shelf life.
- Cocamidopropyl betaine is used as a surfactant in cosmetics and personal care products; it helps water mix better with dirt so the dirt rinses away more easily.
Baths should be relaxing and soothing, not itch-inducing. So if you’re going to let your child sit in a tub full of bubbles — or if you’re a bubble bath fan yourself — then you’ll want to choose a natural formula that doesn’t contain any of the ingredients listed above. Puracy Natural Baby Bubble Bath is a gentle, coconut-based cleanser developed by doctors, and it doesn’t contain any harsh ingredients. It’s also fully biodegradable, hypoallergenic, and never tested on animals. Plus, it offers a fresh, clean, natural scent of fresh lavender blossoms combined with imported vanilla beans.
(Side Note: For a complete list of ingredients that we never use in any of our products here at Puracy, visit this link.)
How Long Should My Kids Be in the Tub?
Every child is different, so every bath session will likely be different. One night, she’ll be happily sitting in the tub, playing with the bubbles and the toys until you tell her it’s time to get out. The next time, she might lose interest after only a few minutes.
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For an expert opinion on this topic, we turned to local dermatologist Dr. Julie Jackson MD, FAAD. She recommends the following…
"Kids with sensitive skin or eczema should limit bath time to a supervised 10-15 minutes, and they should avoid scrubbing their skin. It’s best to use plain water and gentle liquid-based cleansers for bath time, not harsh soaps, and to moisturize within 3 minutes of ending bath time. These guidelines, supported by the National Eczema Association, are even useful to follow for kids without eczema-prone skin."
How to Keep a Child Safe in the Bathtub
The number-one rule, as mentioned above, is to NEVER leave a small child unattended in the bath. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children can drown in only 1 or 2 inches of water. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that about once every four days, a child under the age of 5 drowns in a bathtub, bucket, toilet, or pond. So NEVER leave a small child unattended in the bathtub, even for a second, and always stay within arm’s reach.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission also recommends the following safety devices for bathtime:
- An anti-scald device so that the water never gets too hot
- A plastic or inflatable spout cover on the faucet
- A non-slip mat on the bottom of the bathtub and a non-slip bath mat outside the tub
For more information about making your home safe for children, as well as a list of specific baby proofing products you might want to consider, see our related post: Baby Proofing Your Home: The Complete Guide.
How to Get Soap or Shampoo Out of a Baby’s Eyes
Even gentle, natural products like Puracy Natural Bubble Bath and Puracy Natural Baby Shampoo & Body Wash can get into the eyes. These formulas won’t sting the eyes or cause them to tear up like a chemical-laden product might, but your child might not be too happy about it.
If suds get into your baby or child’s eyes, simply wet a washcloth with plain lukewarm water and gently wipe his or her eyes until the suds are gone. Older children might have fun rinsing their own eyes by filling a plastic cup with plain lukewarm water from the faucet and dumping it over their head.
Tips for Avoiding Dry Skin
No one likes itchy, flaky, dry skin. Here are some tips for keeping your skin (and your child’s skin) from getting dry in the first place:
- Keep baths and showers short. (That might be a challenge if your kids love bubble baths!)
- Bathe or shower in lukewarm water. (Do not use hot water.)
- Avoid harsh cleansers with chemical ingredients. (We covered that above.)
- Lastly, and most importantly, apply a gentle lotion after bathing, to seal in the moisture. Puracy Organic Baby Lotion is great for kids AND parents. Here’s what Dr. Julie Jackson MD, FAAD recommends…
"Use the ‘soak and seal’ technique after bathing, which is applying a thick layer of a moisturizer within 3 minutes after bathing. Skipping this important step can actually lead to drier skin after bathing."
Bubble baths should be fun -- for your kids AND for you! With these handy tips, and non-toxic, hypoallergenic bubble bath like Puracy Natural Bubble Bath, bathtime at your house will be stress-free (and safe) every time.
To learn even more about how to make bathtime a happy time, check out our related post: 4 Tips for a Happy, Stress-Free Baby Bath Time.