Baby bath temperature - How to prepare the perfect baby bath
What is the right baby bath temperature, is for most new mothers a concern? Is the bath water too hot or too cold? How on earth do you meassure this?
The perfect water temperature depends firstly on the age and the preference of the child. For newborns it is more important that the water is the appropriate temperature.
Newborns do not have the ability to regulate their own body temperature and can loose heat four times faster than adults. The temperature should idealy be between 37°C and 38°C, close to baby's body temperature.
When babies grow a bit older an acceptable temperature is between 36°C and 38°C (97°F and 100°F).
How To measure the baby bath temperature?
The best way to try if the bath water is not too hot is by dipping your wrist or elbow in the water.
We use our elbow or wrist because our hands can tolerate much higher temperatures. Before you check the bath water, stir the water to get an equal temperature in the baby's bath.
It is very important that you never add any hot water while your baby is still in the bathtub.
Can you use a regular thermometer to measure baby's bath water?
Yes, but one cannot recommend it.
Regular mercury in glass fever thermometers are fragile and have a limited range. Some battery powered digital thermometers you should not use because they are not waterproof.
Baby bath thermometers specially designed to measure the baby bath temperature are more reliable and do not have to cost a lot.
What are the best baby bath thermometers?
If you don't trust yourself testing with your elbow, you can also use a baby bath thermometer to check if the baby bath water has the right temperature.
The latest models are all digital thermometers displaying the temperature on a little LCD screen. To make it more fun for your baby, most can be used as floating bath toys.
A beautiful example of such a baby bath thermometer is the baby bath floating turtle thermometer that costs only about $13,00.
Beware of scalding accidents
Take great care with too hot bath water, as this can be very dangerous for a baby's skin.
The skin of a baby is so thin that it would only take 5 seconds for a baby to suffer a 3rd degree burn, which is a life threatening condition. So never ever bath your baby before checking the water temperature.
Read the heartbreaking story of a toddler who was scalded in the bath and how many years it took him to recover.
On the other hand too cold bath water can also cause problems. A baby will have difficulties maintaining its body temperature and may get chilled.
Furthermore, make sure the room you bath the baby is draft free and comfortably warm, somewhere between 24°C and 27°C (75°F and 80°F).
Install a Thermostatic Mixing Valve to prevent scalding
To prevent burns from hot tap water, the temperature setting on the water heater can be turned down to 46°C or 120F. If one sets the temperature too low, bacteria may begin to grow in the tank.
photo by Jessicafm on Flickr
Water stored at a temperature lower than 60°C is dangerous for developing the Legionnaire Bacteria.
In fact, the ideal growth range for the Legionnaire Bacteria is from 35-46°C (95-115 F). To make sure these bacteria die instantly, one sets the heater at 60°C or higher.
A solution to this problem is to have a plumber install a Thermostatic Mixing Valve. With a mixing valve you can set the water heater at higher temperatures that will kill dangerous bacteria.
It produces reduced temperatures at the faucet of the sink and shower, this way, keeping the family safe from scalding accidents.