Accidentally Gave Baby Tap Water

Accidentally Gave Baby Tap Water


As a parent, it can be easy to accidentally give your baby tap water without realizing the potential risks. While tap water is generally considered safe for adults to drink, infants have a different set of needs and vulnerabilities.

In fact, giving a baby too much water or even just the wrong type of water can lead to water intoxication and other serious health problems.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the different types of water that are safe for babies, how to prepare infant formula properly, and what signs to look out for if your baby has consumed too much water.

So, if you’re a parent or caregiver of an infant, keep reading to ensure that your baby is getting the best possible start in life.

Why Tap Water is Not Safe For Infant Formula

Tap water may not be safe for babies because it can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants that could cause harm to their delicate digestive and immune systems. While tap water is generally safe for adults, babies’ bodies are not able to tolerate the same level of contaminants as adults due to their small size and developing immune systems.

It is recommended that water used for preparing infant formula should be boiled and then cooled before use to reduce the risk of contamination. Bottled water labeled as “purified” or “distilled” can also be used as a substitute for tap water when preparing formula.

Water intoxication is another concern when it comes to babies and water. This occurs when a baby drinks too much water too quickly, which can cause a drop in the baby’s sodium levels and lead to seizures, coma, and even death. It is important to monitor a baby or child’s water intake and only offer small sips of water at a time.

In summary, tap water may not be safe for babies due to the risk of contamination and the potential for water intoxication. It is important to take appropriate precautions when preparing infant formula and monitor a baby’s water intake to ensure their safety.

What to do If You Accidentally Gave Baby Tap Water?

water, tap, black and white

If you accidentally gave tap water to your baby, the first thing you should do is check if your baby is showing any signs of water intoxication. This can happen if the baby drinks too much water too quickly, leading to a potentially life-threatening condition.

Symptoms of water intoxication include lethargy, vomiting, seizures, and low body temperature. In mild cases, this condition can be managed simply by reducing water intake and feeding the baby small sips of infant formula or breast milk.

To prevent water intoxication, it’s important to use boiled and cooled water when preparing infant formula, especially for babies under six months old. If you need to use bottled water, make sure it’s labeled as safe for infant consumption.

It’s also important to never add extra water to powdered formula and to never dilute infant milk powder or formula unless instructed by a healthcare professional.

If your baby is showing other signs of water intoxication or if you’re worried about the baby’s sodium levels, it’s best to seek medical attention. In the emergency room, doctors may give the baby electrolytes as a water intoxication treatment and monitor their condition closely

Overall, it’s important to be cautious when it comes to drinking or giving water to babies, as their kidneys and digestive system are not yet fully developed. Stick to feeding your baby breast milk or infant formula until they’re at least six months old, and always consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns.

How to Prevent Accidentally Giving Your Baby Tap Water

Here are some tips on how to prevent accidentally giving your baby tap water:

  1. Use boiled water to prepare infant formula: Boiling water for at least one minute will kill any harmful bacteria and make it safe for your baby to consume. Let the water cool before mixing it with the formula powder.
  2. Use bottled water: If you don’t have access to boiled water, you can use bottled water that’s labeled safe for infants. Make sure to check the label to ensure it’s suitable for babies.
  3. Use cooled boiled water to dilute juice or solid foods: When you’re introducing your baby to solid foods or giving them juice, use cooled boiled water to dilute it.
  4. Don’t add extra water to the formula: Follow the instructions on the formula container and don’t add extra water, as this can lead to water intoxication.
  5. Breastfeed if possible: Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for your baby and is perfectly safe to drink.
  6. Be aware of water intoxication: Water intoxication can happen when babies consume too much water and their body’s ability to process it is overwhelmed. This can lead to low sodium levels and even brain damage in extreme cases. Watch for signs of water intoxication, such as vomiting, lethargy, and faint white lines on the skin.
  7. Don’t worry too much: It’s normal to worry about your baby’s health, but as long as you’re following these guidelines, your baby should be fine. Just be aware of the risks and take steps to prevent accidental consumption of tap water.

Remember, babies under 6 months old shouldn’t drink plain water, as their bodies are still developing and they get all the hydration they need from breast milk or infant formula. By taking these precautions, you can ensure that your baby stays healthy and hydrated without risking water intoxication or other harmful effects.

Is Boiled Water or Bottled Water Better for Babies?

Parents frequently question whether boiling water or bottled water is preferable when giving their infants access to water. Although tap water is the most common supply of water for homes, it could contain dangerous chemicals that are bad for a baby’s health. by boiling water to get rid of any germs or viruses that could be present in it, parents can make it safe for their babies’ consumption.

Infant formula is typically prepared using cooled boiled water and using bottled water or tap water without boiling it first can increase the risk of bacterial infection in infants. Powdered formula is usually mixed with boiled water to reduce the risk of contamination.

Bottled water is often marketed as a safer option, but the truth is that it may not always be better than tap water. The quality of bottled water can vary, and some brands may contain harmful contaminants that could be dangerous for infants. Moreover, bottled water may be expensive and not always readily available.

In summary, boiled water is generally the safest option for babies, especially for preparing infant formula. Bottled water may be a suitable alternative, but parents should be aware of the quality of the water they are using. It’s also important for parents to be mindful of their baby’s water intake and avoid giving them excess water to prevent water intoxication.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, when it comes to preparing powdered formula, it is important to use safe water sources. Tap water is generally safe to use for preparing infant formula, but it is recommended to boil the water first and let it cool before mixing it with the formula.

Bottled water can also be used, but it is important to check the label to ensure it is suitable for infant consumption.

Overconsumption of water can lead to water intoxication, which can be harmful, especially for babies.

It is important to monitor water intake and watch for signs of water intoxication, such as excessive thirst, low body temperature, and seizures. The best course of action is to manage mild cases by giving small sips of water and seeking medical attention in severe cases.

As babies’ sodium levels are delicate, it is crucial to follow guidelines and ensure they are not accidentally given too much water. In general, tap water is a fine source for preparing infant formula as long as it is boiled and cooled properly, and water intake is monitored to prevent water intoxication.



When Can My Baby Drink Plain Water?

Babies can drink plain water after they start eating solid foods, typically around 6 months of age. Before that, babies get all the hydration they need from breast milk or formula.

Is Tap Water Safe to Drink While Pregnant?

In most developed countries, tap water is generally safe to drink during pregnancy. However, pregnant women should check with their doctor or local health authority if they have concerns about water quality or live in an area with known water contamination issues.

What are the symptoms of water intoxication in infants?

Swelling of the face, limbs, and legs, agitation, vomiting, convulsions, and in severe cases, coma or death, are some symptoms of baby water intoxication. Baby overhydration should be avoided, especially in the first six months of life.

Why does water have to be boiled for formula?

Boiling water for making formula also helps remove any impurities or contaminants from the water as well as any potentially hazardous bacteria or viruses. The baby formula is hence mixed with clean, boiling water to ensure safety.



This post is written and edited by Sandy who is a clinical pharmacist with over 20 years of experience specializing in pre-natal and post-natal care.