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Tub Time For Two

Rub-a-dub-dub, there's a baby in the tub. Come on in! Baths are great for one-on-one play, and your presence can help alleviate any big-tub fears. No need to wait until your child is sitting up on his own, though you may feel more comfortable if he is. Either way, grab some cups and toys, and keep these safety tips in mind:

TEST THE WATERS

It should be warm, not hot; swish your hand around to disperse any "hot spots," says Neil Boris, M.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics at Tulane University School of Medicine, in New Orleans. The water should reach your child's navel when he's sitting; make sure bath products are approved for infants.

USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM

Whenever possible, get settled in the tub first, then have your baby handed to you. Reverse the drill before climbing out. If you're alone, be extra cautious, and use a bath mat to guard against slipping.

SIT STRATEGICALLY

Keep your baby away from tub fixtures to prevent head bumps or scalds from drippy taps. The safest seating arrangement: your back to the faucet, with him between your legs, facing either way.

STAY IN TOUCH

Have at least one hand on your baby at all times to prevent him from toppling over or, if he's older, from trying to pull himself up.

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