Safe bath temperature for babies and children: what you need to know

A safe bath temperature for babies and children is between 37°C and 38°C.

Scalds can happen in seconds if bath water is too hot. Lots of scalds happen in the bathroom when:

  • a child is placed in a dangerously hot bath
  • hot water is added once a child is already in the water, and he puts a hand or foot under the running hot water
  • water in the bath hasn’t been swirled, so there are hot and cold areas
  • children turn on the taps themselves.

A child can be severely scalded in under a second when the temperature of water coming out of your taps is around 65°C. When the water coming out of your taps is at a maximum of 50°C, it’s much safer. At this temperature, it takes five minutes to severely scald a child.

Tips for safe baby bath temperature

Here are some simple tips for preventing scalds in the bath:

  • Check the bath temperature using a thermometer. You could also test the temperature by putting your arm in. If your skin goes red, the water is too hot for your child.
  • Ensure that the water coming out of your taps is at a maximum of 50°C. This is a low-risk temperature for scalds. You’ll need a plumber to install a valve or thermostatic mixing valve at your water heater or on the hot water supply piping to your bathroom.
  • Install anti-scald devices on taps and shower outlets. These are available from hardware and safety product shops.
  • Consider child-resistant taps or tap guards in the bath.
  • Turn on the cold water first, then the hot. When turning the water off, turn off the hot water first to stop the tap from heating up.

Remember that 50°C isn’t a bathing temperature. You still need to mix cold water with the hot water coming out of your taps to get the right bath temperature for babies and children.

Hot water systems and bath temperature

Many hot water systems can be fitted with an appropriate temperature control. Call your heater manufacturer, local gas supplier, plumber or gasfitter for more information.

Continuous-flow hot water heaters or ones with electronic temperature controls can be set to deliver hot water at a safe temperature.

Water heaters with an uncontrolled energy source, like solar or slow-combustion hot water systems, can’t be adjusted. Contact the manufacturer for more information.

Heated water needs to be stored at above 60°C to prevent the formation of Legionella bacteria. This is why it’s good to have a temperature control device fitted to lower the temperature of the water coming out of your taps.