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Thermal Care - Delayed Bathing

Indicator Phrasing

% of children age 0-11 months with a delayed bath after birth
See indicator in other languages

Indicator Phrasing

English: % of children age 0-11 months with a delayed bath after birth

French: % d'enfants âgés de 0 à 11 mois avec un bain retardé après la naissance

Spanish: % de niños de 0 a 11 meses cuyo primer baño tras el nacimiento fue retrasado

Portuguese: % de crianças de idade entre 0-11 meses que receberam um banho tardio após o nascimento

Czech: % dětí ve věku 0-11 se zpožděným koupáním po porodu

What is its purpose?

The indicator measures one of the main thermal care practices that are essential for preventing children’s temperatures to drop rapidly after birth, causing potentially life-threatening neonatal hypothermia.

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

Collect the following data by conducting individual interviews with a representative sample of mothers of children aged 0-12 months:



Q1: Do you remember how long after delivery it was before your youngest child was bathed for the first time?

A1: _

1) yes, immediately after birth

2) yes, within 6 hours after birth

3) yes, more than 6 hours after birth

4) no, does not remember



To calculate the indicator’s value, divide the number of children who were bathed more than 6 hours after birth by the total number of respondents (exclude those who did not remember). Multiply the result by 100 to convert it to a percentage.

Disaggregate by

Disaggregate the data by the place of delivery (at home, in a health centre, in a hospital) and presence of a skilled birth attendant during delivery (present/ absent; use for home deliveries only).

Important Comments

1) Since mothers might not remember exactly the information your survey is asking about, consider conducting as many interviews as possible in pairs consisting of the mother and a birth attendant/ relative who attended the delivery/ who took care of the mother. While using such approach will take you more time, it will very likely result in more accurate data.


2) WHO’s recommendation is to delay bathing for 24 hours – 6 hours should be used only if a 24-hour delay is not culturally acceptable. If delaying bathing for 24 hours is an acceptable practice in your country of operation, revise the indicator accordingly.


3) The most common recommendation is interviewing mothers of children aged 0-23 months. However, this assumes that the mothers will remember for up to two years the information your survey is asking about. Since this is not very likely, IndiKit recommends using for this indicator a shorter recall period by interviewing mothers of children aged 0-12 months. Use it only if the data is supposed to be used purely for the purpose of your intervention (i.e. making programming decisions, measuring its results, etc.) and does not need to be comparable with the statistics of other stakeholders which use longer recall period. 


4) This indicator relies on an accurate age assessment. Since people often do not remember the exact dates of their children’s birth, the data collectors should always verify the child’s age. This can be done by reviewing the child’s birth certificate, vaccination card or another document; however, since many caregivers do not have such documents (and since they can include mistakes), it is essential that your data collectors are able to verify the child’s age by using local events calendars. Read FAO’s Guidelines (see below) to learn how to prepare local events calendars and how to train data collectors in their correct use.


This guidance was prepared by People in Need ©

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