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"If your baby's umbilical cord has fallen off, it's perfectly safe to bathe him in a shower," says Victoria J. Youcha of Zero to Three, a nonprofit organization devoted to the healthy development of infants and toddlers. But before you bring your baby into the shower, make sure the water temperature is comfortable and safe, just as you would for a bath. It should be between 90 and 100 degrees, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The best way to test the temperature is to hold a bath thermometer directly under the water stream. If you don't have a thermometer, test it on your wrist or elbow — the water should never feel hot and might even be much cooler than your normal shower temperature.
When you bring your baby into the shower for the first time, introduce him gradually and position yourself so the stream of water won't hit his head and face. Keep a small, dry towel nearby to wipe his face if he gets upset when it does get wet or if soap gets in his eyes. And limit the shower to just a few minutes. Follow your child's lead if he cries, and don't force it. Some children just don't enjoy the feeling of water pouring onto them from above and would rather get clean sitting in a tub of warm water.
Your child can take a shower without being held as soon as he's able to walk. But you'll still need to stay close by to make sure he's safe and to handle the soaping, shampooing, and rinsing. To prevent falls, place a non-slip mat in the shower.