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Child afraid to take bath. What could be the reasons?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2006
Answered : 3546 Questions
I have a 3 year old granddaughter that used to love her baths. all of a sudden she became terrified of the bath! My daughter says the only reason she can come up with is that she got water in her eyes I don't buy it, I think she may have turned her back and she slipped or something but don't know for certain. This has gone on for literally months and is quite an issue. We have tried everything.enticing with toys, getting into the tub with her, showering (which there is no way to get her near the shower) and even bribery. we have resorted to sponge bathing and barricading with towels on kitchen counter and using the sprayer and with that it is hit and miss to whether or not she will allow us to do that. We have also tried asking her why she is afraid and is either unable to communicate or just won't. This is a genuine terror for her as she will cry violently, cling.... I just don't know what to do. PLEASE any advice would be appreciated. Looking forward to your reply.
Posted Fri, 25 Oct 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Albana Sejdini 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Please be patient, follow the instructions below

Detailed Answer:

To my personal experience, apart the burning of her eyes because of any shampoo or bathing solution you used; I believe, she would become afraid of hot water.

Please recall if it happened that your grand-daughter had a bad experience with hot water (if she touched anything hot; or when she has been in the bathroom, she accidentally touched the hot tube or hot tap, etc.).

You may test your grand-daughter if this is true by offering her a glass with warm-to-hot water and let her touch. Or can ask her if the water is hot and hurting or burning her.

If this is true, then, you help your grand-daughter by assuring her that water is not bad, let her touch the warm water, then, can add more hot water to her bath until she would be ok.

It might last a couple of times until she will be completely sure that nothing bad would happen to her.

Give a try and let me know to help you for next steps.

Thank you.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Child afraid to take bath. What could be the reasons? 3 days later
Hot water is NOT the issue. I can't even to get her to go Near the bathtub let alone in THAT IS MY ISSUE.
Answered by Dr. Albana Sejdini 18 hours later
Brief Answer:
Please follow the suggestions below

Detailed Answer:
Thank you for writing back.

Although it might seem a huge problem you are experiencing with your grand-daughter, I would suggest to take it with as much XXXXXXX as you can.

To my personal experience with some of my patients, when they were little babies, they could be having bathing very often. Once they grew up, they went bathing less common; thus, the past experience with bathing would be converted as "bad", and sometimes, they cannot arrange with tube-bath. That could be a reason.

Another alternative I suggest is to take her swimming. Please try to understand if she likes swimming by going to a swimming-pool. If you see that your granddaughter would cry and wants to run out the swimming-pool, most probably she fears of the size of swimming pool or tube-bath or because of the amount of water.

In this case, you can have your child bathing in a smaller washing-bowl. First, can put her feet inside (little water in there), then, she can sit there and by the passing of days, she can play with the shower attachment.

You can have bathing with her for the first days, then, can let her alone for a while; after some time, she would be able to go bathing alone.

Furthermore, if there is any elder child at your daughter's house, please ask him/her to have bathing with your granddaughter. That could help getting your granddaughter back to bathing again.

Please try to have patience! It would be much more easier if you could understand what's causing such fear to your grandchild.

Hope it answered to your inquiry! For any other concern, can contact me!
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