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Stainless steel kitchen sink on a black bench top

How to avoid throwing your baby out with the bathwater: use the laundry tub instead!

Ok, so not many people would inadvertently throw their baby out with the bathwater now, but theories abound on how and why this phrase originated. The prevailing theory (debunked by snopes.com, a popular myth debunking site) was that in England in the 1500s, they only bathed once a year which involved a tub of hot soapy water with the privilege of the first to use it going to the man of the house. Then all the sons, then the women, then the daughters — and lastly the baby.

By then, so the theory goes, the water was so dirty you could easily lose sight of a baby in it when you threw the water out. The popular snopes.com asserts instead that the phrase is Germanic in origin and apparently is just a phrase to underscore the importance of not overreacting — which is how we take the meaning of the phrase today.

Regardless of the phrase and its origin, in terms of a place to bath a baby in, a laundry tub is actually the perfect size! Depending on what you use your laundry tub for, a perfectly clean tub doubles as a perfect baby bath, providing of course that you don’t use harsh chemicals in and around the tub.

The small size of the laundry tub — not as small as a kitchen sink, but smaller than a bath — as well as the height of the tub, lends itself to be a handy and ergonomic baby bath option for young babies, and avoids buying a separate free-standing baby bath (that will have to be stored somewhere eventually when your baby moves on to fitting in the actual bath).

Combine the above factors with a pull-down sink mixer in your laundry, and you have the ultimate baby bath! Remember that stainless steel will always heat up quicker than acrylic (which most baths are), so a good habit to get into is to always test the water of any tub before placing your baby in it.

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