Bringing a baby into the world is chaotic. You have lists upon lists for every shopping trip, and the visits to stores seem neverending. Crib? Check. Blankets? Check. Baby bath? Check.
Didn’t see a tub temperature gauge amongst that huge pile of diapers and gifts? Starting to panic that your baby’s butt might end up burnt? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Now that you’re pregnant or have recently welcomed your precious bundle, you’ll be thinking about their safety. While a bath thermometer isn’t for everyone, for some moms, it’s a great tool to give them peace of mind. This article will discuss the benefits of the best baby bath thermometers so you can decide if buying one makes sense for you.
What Temperature Is Safe for Baby?
Water temperature is dependent upon baby’s preference and their age. The optimal water temperature should be around 100°F or 38°C (1).
The reason for this is to get the water as close as possible to your baby’s own body temperature. Our little ones can’t regulate their temperatures just yet and therefore can lose heat quickly.
Temperature control is so important for baby’s super sensitive skin, and for keeping them comfortable. Then there’s the obvious reason — nobody wants a screeching baby with a scalded butt (2).
What Are My Tub Taming Choices?
With multiple thermometers out there, featuring all sorts of additional functions, your choice may not be as straightforward as you would have liked.
Here are some of the different types of baby bath thermometers you’ll come across:
- Drain cover: Sits over the top of the plughole with color-changing ability, to show the water temperature.
- Floating: Usually in the form of a bath toy, with a digital display and/or color-changing spot.
- Spout cover: A futuristic-looking piece of tech that encases the faucet spout with a digital display.
- Submersible: Can be stuck to the sides or base of the tub with the attached suction cup — color changing and digital displays are available.
- Non-slip, heat-sensitive mat: Just like ordinary slip-resistant bath mats, but these have added heat sensitivity, so they can change color with temperature.
- Built-in: Built into plastic baby baths and simply a color-sensitive pad that changes color with heat.
- Energy-efficient: Good choice if you are conscious about buying too many batteries — there are even energy-saving options available that switch off after periods of time.
- Cards: A simple liquid crystal display card that can be stuck to the side of the bath.
Choosing the Best Baby Thermometer
Really, it’s all about your own personal preference. Some people want the best of everything, others will only want simplicity. Believe it or not, some will prefer an aesthetically pleasing thermometer to match their decor… I’m not judging!
For my first baby, I had thermometers everywhere. Bathroom, bedroom, spare bedroom. The second time around, all I wanted was ease and reliability.
Probably 90 percent of expectant parents haven’t given a thought to any type of thermometer. Or more likely haven’t had the chance.
Just in case you have, here are five qualities to consider.
- Use: Are you solely wanting a bath thermometer that will take temperature readings, or would you prefer one with extra functional purpose? There are products available that have dual purposes, like thermometers with sponge holders, clock displays, or those that can be used as room thermometers too.
- Design: Again, similar features as mentioned above. Its functionality, appearance, and longevity potential is a good place to start.
- Cleaning: Bath scum is nasty! Even nastier when there’s pee in the water. Find out how to clean the thermometer, and if it has been pre-treated with an antibacterial product to make it last longer with minimal cleaning required.
- Display: Would you like the temperature displayed in Fahrenheit or Celsius? Is a color-changing, temperature-sensitive thermometer good enough? These create white spots, which spell out “HOT” etc. The LCD options, however, can give you the time, the temperature, and tell you when your favorite TV show is on — yeah, if only!
- Fun factor: Maybe you’d like it to be a bath toy too! Flashing lights for sensory engagement are a great feature.
The Best Baby Bath Thermometers of 2020
Now that you know the serious stuff behind bathtub thermometers, I hope you at least have some idea of what type you are looking for. If you still don’t, be assured I’ll add this to my list of things that I should probably think about getting better at.
1. Munchkin White Hot Inflatable Swan Tub
Bathtime is meant to be fun, right? Make it less of a chore and focus on your baby's enjoyment. Having toys of all different colors and textures will really benefit your child's sensory development too.
This dual-purpose thermometer is so simple to use; pop some water in and you are good to go.
The color changing spot is blue if the water is at the right temperature, or will show the word “HOT” if — you guessed it — it’s too hot.
The safety design is great. There are suction cups underneath to secure its base to your tub, or to hang it up to dry.
The tub even has a small plug that simply lifts to drain the water. No back breaking required to empty it out.
As the tub is inflatable, you won’t have to worry about injuries. Alongside the anti-slip grooves and minimal water capacity, there’s not much to criticize regarding safety.
My kids loved it as babies and they still do … but now just as a slide down the stairs.
Unfortunately, there are some points worth taking into consideration. Customer reviews have commented you’ll need large lungs to fill it, without knocking yourself out.
Second of all, moms have remarked upon its positioning in a bathtub. Basically, unless you have an easily accessible tub (and stomach muscles like the Hulk for excessive bending) it may not be a good choice for you.
Lastly, apparently if you get any dirt build-up, you better be prepared for some scrubbing.
- Ease of use.
- Fun for kids.
- Easy to store/transport.
- Great safety.
- Multi-purpose use as a beer cooler… tried and tested, and it works!
- Not for newborns (recommended for over six months).
- Unless positioned at waist height, be prepared for bending.
- If you allow any dirt build-up, it’s not so easy to clean.
- A small air pump may be better to inflate.
2. B&H Floating Duck Thermometer
Little storage or plenty, this tiny fella is a definite box ticker. No doubt your new addition will accumulate a ton of tub toys — luckily this can be put away with them. It is certainly cute so it has baby bath appeal, and is safe to be played with too.
It may appear to be just another rubber duck, but it surprisingly has a few functions. The display option includes a choice of degrees, either in Fahrenheit or Celsius.
Additionally, an LCD screen will tell you the water temperature, and even the time. Time? What’s that when you’re a mom?!
For ultimate reassurance for you and baby, this thermometer will flash and has beeping alarms. Furthermore, you won’t need to buy a separate thermometer for the nursery as its suitable for room use too.
Conservation conscious? Then look no further. This thermometer is made from environmentally-friendly materials.
As with every baby product, it won’t be suitable or satisfactory for everyone. Customers have left comments reporting that switching between Fahrenheit and Celsius isn’t simple, and nor are the instructions it comes with.
- Displays the time as well as temperature.
- Bright and playful.
- Additional function as a room thermometer; dry it off and use it in there.
- Degree preference is not easy to switch.
- Enclosed instructions are complicated — something new moms may not have the patience to mess with.
3. Philips Blue Flower Bath & Room Thermometer
This wondrous beauty looks super sleek and not only measures the temperature of your baby’s bath, but can monitor their room temperature too.
The thermometer reads the temperature quickly and is known for being one of the most accurate of the market.
It also doubles as a bath toy and has been designed to comply with all toy-safety standards in the US and EU.
One of the biggest downsides of this thermometer is that it only displays readings in Celcius and cannot be changed to Fahrenheit.
- Fast and reliable measurements.
- Safe and leak-proof bath toy.
- Can read room temperate as well as bath temperature.
- Floats in the water.
- Only displays in degrees Celcius.
- More expensive than other options.
4. MotherMed BathTub and Swimming Pool Thermometer
Like me, you might be pretty fond of escaping over the holidays. You may even just want to pack the kids away to Grandma’s for date night at the movies. Owning a portable thermometer is a sensible option for overnight stays. You will need one that as durable but lightweight, and that will fit easily in babies baggage.
This thermometer is small and speedy, measuring the water temperature every five seconds. That’s, like, Michael Phelps fast.
It’s slim, lightweight and it floats, plus it’s designed with little hands in mind. Mimicking a stingray, its shape has smooth edges and arches, all for baby’s grip, making it good for play too.
The compact design makes it ideal if you want to take it on vacation. It slots easily into an overnight bag, if you get to catch a break with offered childcare. (If you are reading this, thanks Mom!)
Speaking of which, if you choose to use it for overnight stays, it doubles up as a room thermometer.
This thermometer has a long battery life and automatic shut-off after 30 minutes. It has a flashing temperature alarm too, but remains energy efficient. Saving the world one tub at a time, Wonder Mommy!
Its display is simple—along with the temperature, it reads ‘cold’ or ‘hot.’ However, the only degree option is in Fahrenheit.
Be wary before buying, there is negative feedback regarding the battery cover. Reviewers say the battery cover doesn’t always lock or stay closed.
- Light flashing alarm.
- Easy to grip and play.
- 12-month battery life.
- BPA free.
- Playful design.
- Dual use.
- Power saving.
- Outdoor pool use.
- Fahrenheit display only.
- A little boring for baby, in comparison to other toy thermometers.
- Battery issues: cover instability, not easy to change.
5. Munchkin White Hot Safety Bath Ducky
Having a baby is an expensive business. There’s no need to go for the most expensive thermometer when the dollar store can help you out. As long as your baby's tub water is safe, there’s no need to splash the cash.
It won’t bust your bank, take up space, or have you guessing which button stops it beeping either. The best news is that it also won’t be sending you into the dreaded man cave for a screwdriver for a battery change.
Despite the simplicity of this thermometer, it has various uses. Designed as a playful little rubber ducky, it makes a safe and fun tub toy. It’s also designed to be water-tight and mildew-resistant.
Overall, this fish is a pretty decent job for the price. But it might be way too simple for many moms as it only displays the word “HOT” and not the actual temperature reading.
- Bath and room thermometer.
- Playful rubber ducky.
- Easy to use.
- Round edges to avoid injuries.
- Water-tight and mildew-resistant.
- Does not display the temperature of the water.
Useful Baby Bath Temperature Checking Tips
Along with using bath thermometers, remember that room temperature is also a key factor at bathtime. Maintaining your baby’s body temperature, both in and out of the water, will keep them — and you — calm.
- Purchase a bath thermometer if you decide one will be useful to you.
- Check the water temperature using your wrist or elbow. As our hands can withstand higher temperatures, they are not the best to dip in.
- Swirl the water around to mix it well and make sure there are no hotspots.
- Consider thermostat control to ensure the water is a maximum of 122°F (50°C). You’ll need a plumber for installing any mixing valves, either to your water heater or bathroom hot water pipe.
- Set your room temperature to a cozy heat, no hotter than 75°F.
- Be tempted to use a regular thermometer. They are particularly fragile and the mercury is dangerous.
- Use a body thermometer. They generally aren’t waterproof and can be costly to replace.
- Use your hand to check the temperature.
- Have your tub too cold. This is equally as distressing for your little fella.
The Bottom Line
My top pick as the best baby bath thermometer is the inflatable swan bath by Munchkin. My boys absolutely LOVED this guy, I mean, who doesn’t want to sit in a huge inflatable swan?!
It was cute, simple, and space-saving; great for those of you looking for a fun, durable and easy-to-use thermometer. Its safety features meant we were reassured, it didn’t use too much water, and bathtime was a breeze.
Mom life is hard enough, choosing a thermometer doesn’t need to be. As long as your little one is kept safe, at the recommended comfortable bath-time temperature, it is a personal preference as to which product to buy.