A baby bath thermometer takes the guesswork out of getting the perfect temperature for your little one’s bath time. It’s an essential bath time accessory that’s important for baby’s safety and comfort, and will keep bath time comfortable, safe and fun!
Before I had a child, I was one of those parents who pooh-poohed at the thought of filling my house with too much “unnecessary” baby stuff. While I was all for getting stuff we needed for our baby, I desperately wanted to hold on to some vestige of minimalism and stay away from unnecessary stuff.
And before I became a parent, baby bath thermometers seemed very unnecessary.
That was before the first time we drew a bath, plunked our daughter down in her baby bathtub, and witnessed her immediately burst into tears from the not-at-all right temperature in the tub, and her sensitive redder-than-normal baby skin.
I’d love to say we broke down and bought a baby bath thermometer right then and there. But it actually took this happening several times – us misjudging bath water temperature followed by us comforting an upset baby – that we finally broke down and got one.
If I had to do it over again, I definitely would have bought one before baby’s first bath!
What is a Baby Bath Thermometer?
A baby bath thermometer is a waterproof, often floating thermometer with either a digital or analogue display to let you know when your little one’s bath water is the ideal temperature (around 95 to 101 degrees F).
They’re made from baby safe and bath safe materials, and are generally styled to make bath time more fun (many look like awesome bath toys).
Since they’re waterproof, they’re meant to be used in the bath. However, I’d be careful about using them in special baths, like a colloidal oatmeal bath. Stick to water, friends!
Getting Bath Temperature Right
Speaking from experience, baby skin is much more sensitive than adults’ skin.
They’re more prone to skin conditions like eczema and itchiness, and it’s surprisingly easy to run a bath that feels okay to mom and dad, but feels uncomfortably hot to your little one. In this way, it’s part of bathroom safety.
At the same time, it’s important your little one is warm enough – shivering babies or toddlers are no fun for anyone.
Getting the right water temperature is a bit of a Goldilocks and the Three Bears situation: not too hot, not too cold, just right.
And an accurate thermometer can help you get the temperature of the water just right, every time, and without too much fuss.
Baby Bath Thermometers Are a Cheap Way to Increase Safety Standards and Lower Stress at Bath Time
Now that we use a baby bath thermometer for every bath, I feel a bit silly for not buying one earlier.
They’re super convenient.
Just as having a bath faucet cover to protect against head bumps reduces our stress at bath time, so does having a thermometer for baby’s bath (or our toddler’s bath).
It’s far less stressful now that we no longer have to worry about the temperature of the water. Because we know it will be perfect before we let our toddler get it, we’re more confident at the start of bath time.
Hello, Easier Refills
When you’ve got a baby, baths are fairly short, so you don’t have to worry about bath water refills.
With our 2-year-old, however, bath time often turns into a marathon play session, complete with bubbles, soap dough, and bath paint. And then, of course, there’s a lot of hair washing (which includes shampoo and conditioner in our house), hair brushing and detangling, and rinsing to do!
In these cases, we start out with a perfect temperature, but we have to refill the bath periodically with hot water (but not too hot), to avoid her getting cold.
Again, the thermometer is super helpful in getting the right temperature every time.
It ensures we don’t add too much hot water during the refills.
And it takes temperature readings throughout bath time, so we know when it’s time to re-up with some warmer water.
Types of Baby Bath Thermometers
There are a few different styles of thermometers on the market, which mostly fall into one of the following categories:
- Floating Bath Toy: Serving a dual purpose, these are usually shaped like an animal, and feature either a digital display with an accurate temperature reading or a color changing area that indicates when the water is too hot. Although they float, they’re also submersible and waterproof. Examples include the B&H Duck, Mothermed Whale, the Turtlemeter, and the BBLuv Krab. Although they look like toys, they require special care and cleaning, and you can’t just chuck them in the dishwasher with your other bath toys.
- Bath and Room Thermometer: This style does double duty, working in the tub, but also in your baby’s room. This can be quite helpful during season changes, when you’re trying to figure out how many layers and what to dress baby in at night to be not too hot, not too cold. The Mothermed that we use and the Famidoc thermometer are good choices if you want a dual-function thermometer.
- Temperature Color Changing Bath Mat: In the past, I’ve seen non-slip bath mats that change color when the water gets too hot. However, I can’t currently find any online that are available. If you’re really set on this style, Fisher Price seems to have made one in the past.
- Baby Bath and Thermometer 2-in-1: For baby’s, some baby bath tubs have a built-in thermometer. If you’re interested in this, the Aquascale 3-in-1 fits this model.
- Digital vs. Analogue: Most (but not all) of the bath toy style thermometers require batteries, and use a digital screen to display the temperature. If you’d prefer something without batteries, however, Nuk makes a very well reviewed thermometer, and the White Hot Ducky is battery free, displaying only when the water is too hot (not the actual temperature).
Other Factors to Consider
Although style is important, function and safety should be the main factor driving your decision. Here are a few tips and points to think about when choosing between different baby bath thermometers.
- Non Toxic Materials: These days, most parents are familiar with buying BPA free products, but ideally, you’ll also look for one that’s made from super safe materials, such as food grade plastics, such as the Mothermed thermometer. If possible, I suggest steering clear of products made from PVC (which can contain phthalates) and ABS.
- Temperature Display: You want one that’s easy to read! While most use a digital display that’s easy to read at a glance, there are some good analogue style thermometers, too (i.e. the Nuk) that are still quite simple to determine in a glance whether the bath is too hot or not.
- Continuous Reading: The best baby bath thermometers will take a continuous reading while your little one is in the tub, rather than taking a reading at the beginning and then going into standby mode. This is helpful for longer baths, so you can be sure the water isn’t cooling down too much over time. My top pick (the Mothermed) takes a reading every 5 seconds. If it turns off, you just shake it lightly to turn it on again.
- Temperature Alarm: In my mind, this is a nice to have, not a need to have. Thermometers with a temperature alarm will let you know when the water strays too far from the ideal temp. The Mothermed has a visual alarm in the form of a red light for too hot, and blue light for too cold, which makes it super easy to use.
- Fahrenheit vs. Celsius: For some of the thermometers listed below, they’ll only display fahrenheit or celsius, whereas some will display both. If you have a strong preference, double check!
Best Baby Bath Thermometer for Babies and Kids
Below, I’ve rounded up what I think are some of the best baby bath thermometers to choose from.
I’ve put the one we personally use – by Mothermed – at the top of this list, since I’m super happy with the purchase, and appreciate that it’s made of food safe materials.
- Mothermed Floating Baby Bath Thermometer – I like that it’s made from non-toxic food safe polypropylene. IMO, this is the most non-toxic baby bath thermometer I could find that’s currently available on Amazon. A water thermometer that also doubles as a room thermometer. Fahrenheit only.
- Our Second Choice – B&H Floating Duck – Resembling a classic rubber duck bath toy with a digital water thermometer and clock. Doubles as a room thermometer, and works with either Fahrenheit or Celsius. Made from PVC and ABS, which is a con in my books.
- Simplest to Use – The Turtlemeter activates instantly once in your baby bath, making it really easy to use. It’s also got a color coded display so you know if the water temperature is too hot, too cold, or just right. Fahrenheit only, and only meant as a bath thermometer to measure water temperature – not room temp.
- Cutest Bath Thermometer – Dreambaby Room and Baby Bath Thermometer – This crocodile measures in both Fahrenheit and Celsius, and has a double life as a bath thermometer and room thermometer. Automatically turns off at 30 minutes so you don’t have to worry about running down the battery.
- Best Value – Munchkin White Hot Safety Ducky – This isn’t a bath thermometer per se, but rather an indicator if the bath water is too hot. Unfortunately, there isn’t much available online about what this duck is made of. Sold in a set with a few bath toys.
Best Bath Thermometers
Best Overall (& Best Non Toxic)
MotherMed Floating Stingray Thermometer – Speaking from personal experience, this thermometer is really easy-to-use and gives an accurate reading of both bathwater and room temperature.
Made in the shape of a cheerful stingray out of BPA-free materials, this thermometer displays the water temperature in Fahrenheit and will give you a “hot” warning when the water is too hot or a “cold” warning when the water is too cold.
I like that this stingray shaped bath thermometer is made from polypropylene – the same food safe material used to make plastic baby bottles. In my opinion, it’s a safe choice for this kind of usage, and I’d feel okay leaving it in the bath for the duration of bath time.
Simply shake the stingray to activate it and the temperature will stabilize to an accurate reading in about one minute. It provides intermittent measurement, meaning it refreshes every 5 seconds or so.
It takes one CR2 battery which is included, so it’s ready to use out of the box.
This one looks like a classic rubber ducky, and displays both the temperature and the time so that you won’t lose track of either.
It works to quickly get water temperature and as a room thermometer, making it a good “double duty” option.
This thermometer will float in the tub with your little one and send a beeping or flashing alarm when the water is either too hot or too cold. It can display the temperature in either Fahrenheit or Celsius, and measures your preference automatically, so you can focus on your little one.
I don’t love that this duck is made out of PVC and ABS. Personally, I wouldn’t leave it in the tub for longer than necessary or use it in place of non-toxic bath toys– pop it in to get a read, then take it out again. And I wouldn’t let my little one put it in her mouth.
Requires two LR44 batteries, which are included.
This thermometer has a super-simple color-coded LCD display so that all it takes is a glance to monitor the water. It instantly activates in water, meaning no fussing around to turn it on.
This thermometer is in the shape of a friendly little turtle that floats around the tub with your little one. It changes to red if the water is too hot, blue if the water is too cold, and green when the water is just right.
The temperature is displayed in Fahrenheit and automatically shows once placed in the water. It updates every second, so you’ll immediately know if the water temperature is too hot or too cold.
It takes three AAA batteries, which are included, and is a fun choice for ocean loving kids!
This adorable crocodile-shaped baby bath thermometer gives you readings in Celsius and Fahrenheit. It has convenient lighted signals when the temperature is not ideal for your baby.
The Dreambaby thermometer is BPA-free, making it safer for your little one. It’s also completely waterproof and can be submerged in the water without affecting its performance.
The temperature of the tub water is clearly displayed and is updated every ten seconds. It turna red if the water is too hot and green if it’s too chilly.
Additionally, it can take the room temperature. This helps you keep baby comfortable.
It comes equipped with batteries for convenience and has an automatic 30-minute shut-off to save the battery life.
This one looks like a classic rubber ducky. However, unlike the other bath thermometers on this list, it doesn’t actually display temperature readings. Instead, it displays “hot” on the bottom when bath water is too hot. Completely water-tight to prevent mildew and leakage and sold as a set with other toys.
Simplistic in its design, the ducky has a straightforward display disc on its bottom side. It stays blue when you have ideal water temperature. Or changes to say “hot” when it’s too hot.
There’s no need to mess with an on/off switch, as it will start working as soon as you place it in the tub water.
As a pro, this thermometer doesn’t require batteries. As a con, it doesn’t display actual temperature readings. Also, you have to lift it up and look at the bottom to see the reading, which I don’t love.
Bath thermometers are a great way to take the guess work out of bath time. Below I share a few more tips.
Always fill your baby bath tub with water before placing baby inside it. The ideal baby bath temperature is around 95 to 101 degrees F.
Many of these thermometers look like a bath toy. However, don’t let your kids play with them. Opt for fit-for-purpose non-toxic bath toy brands, instead.
Finally, I also recommend you consider using non toxic bath products. That includes your baby bath tub, as well as natural kids shampoo, conditioner, detangler, and baby lotion. This will keep bath time fun and safe!
Getting a quick, accurate baby bath temperature before your wiggly baby gets into the water is critical. It makes bath time a lot less stressful for parents. And nicer for your baby, too.
Take the stress out of bath time by investing a little into an easy to use bath thermometer for baby…and stop guessing about bath temperature!
I hope my research will help you choose the best baby bath thermometer for your family. If you know any parents who would benefit from this article, please share!