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What should I do when my 19-month-old puts his face in the bathwater?

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What should I do when my 19-month-old puts his face in the water when he takes a bath? I sit next to him when he is in the tub, but I am still concerned about drowning.


He is probably doing his job when he does that. A toddler's job is to explore the world with all his senses—taste, touch, sight, smell, and hearing. That is why many toddlers put everything in their mouths, for example. When he dunks his face, he might be opening his eyes to see what the world looks like underwater. Or he may be discovering how sounds are different with his ears plugged up, how the bathwater tastes, or what water feels like on his face. Small children instinctively hold their breath when their face is covered so the likelihood of his drowning if he can pull out easily is virtually nil. Be sure you continue to sit next to him whenever he is in the bathtub.

Nevertheless, if this behavior makes you crazy, why not make a game out of blowing bubbles? Teach him to take a breath, put his face in the water and blow, and then pull up. That way you will be reassured that he is breathing and he will delight in the game.  

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