My toddler has a weird affinity for scalding hot bath water. Whereas she once refused to sit in any bathtub that was too warm, she now screams holy hell ⏤ “Too cold, too cold!” ⏤ if the temp’s even a degree south of boiling, at least to my touch. And while I’m obviously not worried about burning her anymore, as she can clearly articulate her temperature preference, I’m still fascinated by how much heat she can handle. How hot is the water really? And, considering we never used a thermometer, how hot was I jacking it up when she was younger?
Hence, my recent fascination with the 4moms Spout Cover, a $30 digital thermometer that fits over most bath spouts and registers the water temperature on an LCD screen as the tub fills up. It looks like a giant Imperial battle helmet for a bath in Star Wars and while not at all small ⏤ especially considering its function ⏤ the Spout Cover is a remarkably simple device. After installing three ‘AAA’ batteries, slide the hook-and-loop strap around the spout, affix the Velcro so it fits snuggly, and position the metal probe under the water. From there, turn on the LCD and draw your bath.
The temperature reading is large and easy to read and as the water heats up, a color-coded warning system kicks in. The Spout Cover’s screen illuminates blue when the temp is too cold for kids (below 89°F), green when it’s in the safe/comfort zone (90 to 100°F), and red when it’s too hot (above 100°F). It also beeps like crazy when it goes red, getting progressively faster and more frantic the hotter the temps climb. There’s a comfort zone indicator along the bottom of the screen that looks like a car gasoline gauge and keeps tabs on the optimal water temp, and the color-coded zones are preset and can’t be changed. Even if you have my daughter who, unlike say the Denver Broncos, isn’t fazed when she enters the red zone. I tested the 4moms Spout Cover alongside another thermometer and the two were consistently within a degree or so apart at all times.
There are two added benefits worth mentioning, one they advertise and one they don’t. First, the Spout Cover designed big and made out of a foam for a reason ⏤ to protect kids’ heads when they bang into the spout. My daughter is notorious for doing this, and while I would have never thought to buy something to help prevent it, the bonks I can say are considerably less dramatic with the cover on. Second, not going to lie, but it’s fun to play with. Not for the entire bath, of course, but turning the water on and watching the colors rapidly change with the temperature is entertaining. It’s certain to catch the attention and awe of some kids.
That said, do you need a fancy digital thermometer to safely bath your child? Or any thermometer, for that matter? Of course not. That’s why you have an elbow and common sense. But is the 4moms Spout Cover cool and a nice convenience? Very much so. And if you’re a parent with a baby who can’t yell “Too hot! or “Too cold!” and would rather not wing it, sometimes you can’t put a price on peace of mind.
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