A note from Rach Smith's digital garden

No one warns you not to pull your toddler's shirt off while they are standing next to the bath

Added: July 16, 2022

Tags: mothering

It’s a common clickbait title for articles and YouTube videos: “the things NO ONE tells you about being a parent.”

I remember watching quite a few of these videos when I was pregnant with my first and yet, I was unprepared.

My babies have big heads. We’re talking 98th percentile head circumference territory. As such I would buy T-shirts a size bigger to fit the head. Even so it’s a snug fit in the neck hole.

When my first-born was a baby his dad would do his bath every night, and I would put him to bed as I was breastfeeding. So I don’t recall having to do many baths until he was about 14 months old. I was getting him undressed as he was standing next to the bath. I tugged the T-shirt off of his head, the tight fit brought his head up as I pulled, and when it came free of the neck hole it went flying back down to the bathtub with a loud crack.

Thankfully all that resulted was a lot of crying and a small bruise. But I felt like an idiot for not knowing that was going to happen. What I’ve discovered since then is that I’m not the only idiot. From conversations with other parents, parenting podcasts and Facebook Group posts I’ve discovered this is an extremely common manoeuvre and injury. I’ve even heard of kids teeth being knocked out from their heads flying in to the bath.

For a mistake that gets made so often, I’d never heard it mentioned before in parenting advice material. So I’ll give it here: don’t yank your child’s shirt off their head while they are standing next to the bath, unless you have a hand there to catch it.

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