Our four smart strategies will ensure tub time is fun and safe

What’s the recipe for the perfect kids’ bath? Plenty of creativity with a dose of caution. “It’s important that while creating a fun environment for children you maintain a safe and healthy one as well,” says Deena Blanchard, MD, a pediatrician at Premier Pediatrics in New York City. Read on for four smart ways to foolproof tub time.

1. Degrees Matter

The perfect bath temperature for kids is between 90 and 100 F. You can check with a floating thermometer, or better yet, get a showerhead or handshower with Temp2O technology. The LED screen displays the temperature and changes color based on how hot or cold the water is.

2. Put Safety First

Use a nonskid bath mat or cute, colorful decals to keep tots from slip sliding away in the tub. And never take your eyes off your kids while they’re bathing, even for a quick run to the kitchen. “Sadly, kids can drown quickly in even a few inches of water,” Blanchard says. “Don’t ever leave younger children in the care of older siblings, and be sure you drain the tub as soon as the bath is over.”

3. Chuck Bacteria Hotbeds

You know those old squirting bath toys—the ones you’ve had since your kids were babies? Get rid of them immediately. “Things that trap water can become breeding grounds for mold and bacteria,” says Blanchard, who adds that the same is true for sponges and wooden items. If your child has a squirter she’s especially fond of, use a hot glue gun to plug the hole.

4. Find New Uses for Old Toys

Take a look in the toy box and you’re bound to find “new” water toys. Anything that’s not porous and can be cleaned easily makes for bath time gold. Think Legos, action figures, kitchenware and dolls.