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How to Bathe a Baby

Baby Bath Water Depth and Temperature

Once you have your supplies handy, it's time to let the bath begin! In your baby's first few weeks, only a sponge bath will be necessary. But once you move to the tub, there are several factors to consider.

One of the most important factors in your baby's bath is water temperature, so you should make sure to turn down your water heater. Most water heaters come preset from the manufacturers at 140 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit (60 to 66 degrees Celsius), which can give a baby's sensitive skin third-degree burns within seconds. To prevent accidental scalding, make sure you set the water heater to only 120 degrees Fahrenheit (about 49 degrees Celsius) [source: WebMD].

Even after you've adjusted your water heater, you should still be very mindful of water temperature every time you get ready for baby's bath. Test the water with your elbow or back of your hand to make sure it feels lukewarm. Once your baby is in the tub, continue to check the temperature to make sure it doesn't get too chilly. But never run the water while the baby is in the tub -- you don't want the water to get too hot or too deep.

As far as the depth of water is concerned, fill the tub with only 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7 centimeters) of water. Babies can drown in less than an inch of water, so be very conscious of the amount of water you use [source: WebMD].

So once you have the right amount of water at the right temperature, what's next? Read on to learn how exactly to handle your baby in the bath without slipping.