Safety Tips for Bathing Your Baby

Decide where you are most comfortable bathing your baby and gather your supplies ahead of time. You will need towels, washcloths, shampoo/body wash, diapers, and clothes. Use the tips below to help keep your baby safe.


To prevent scalds, turn your hot water heater down to 120°F (49°C) or lower.

Step 1. Never leave your baby alone in a bath

  • Even an inch of water can be deadly for a newborn.

  • If you must leave the room, always take the baby with you.

Step 2. Put the water into a small tub

  • A small tub lets you control the water temperature for your baby’s bath.

  • When adjusting your baby’s bath water, start with cool water and add hot water to it.

  • Mix the water until it feels warm but not hot.

  • Always test the water temperature with your elbow, or drop water onto the inside part of your arm. You can also buy a thermometer made for testing bath water.

Step 3. Keep your baby warm

Woman holding baby wrapped in hooded towel.
A hooded towel can keep baby warmer during drying.

  • The temperature of the room where you’re bathing your baby should be about 75°F.

  • Keep your baby out of drafts, especially when they are wet.

  • Pat your baby dry as soon as you’re done with the bath.

  • To keep your baby from getting a chill, cover their head with a fresh, dry towel.

  • You can wash your baby's body first, and then wrap them in a warm towel while washing the hair last. 

Step 4. Handle with care

  • Clean only the parts of your baby that you can see.

  • Don’t poke cotton swabs into your baby’s ears or nose.

  • Wait until the umbilical cord falls off before bathing your baby in a tub. Once the bellybutton has healed, you can get your baby’s entire stomach wet. You can sponge bathe your baby while the umbilical cord is still attached.

© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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