Is Filtered Water Safe for Babies? 2024 Guide 

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Everyone wants to ensure that their infants get the best possible care and nourishment that they can, but there is a good deal of debate over what is safe to give to newborns and young babies when it comes to drinking water. There are many things to consider here, and in this article we will cover the basics.


Overview of the debate around using filtered water for babies

The debate concerns whether or not tap water is safe for babies under 6 months to drink, either by itself, or more commonly, as a base for baby formula. Newborns generally should not drink plain water at all for the first few months of life, being much better off with their mother’s milk, or a pediatrician-approved baby formula. Many people are concerned, however, that tap water is not a safe choice for mixing formula, because of the potential for waterborne contaminants. There are definitely grounds for concern, and some tap water is definitely unsafe, not only for babies, but for anyone. There are many factors to consider, however, so let’s dig in.


At what age can babies start drinking filtered water?

Opinions are mixed, with many parents only opting to use pre-packaged baby water from the store for their infants, rather than risking it with tap water or a home filtration system. Baby water from the grocery store is typically purified, but not completely sterilized. So, if you are using store-bought baby water, you are indeed using a type of filtered water for your child, though the method of filtration may differ across companies.


Are all commercial water filters equally safe for babies?

Only filters that are marketed as drinking water filters should be used to create potable water, whether for adults or children. Different filters have different purposes, and many different types of filtration technology are used in drinking water filters, such as sediment, carbon, and reverse osmosis, to name a few. These filters operate in distinct ways; for instance, a sediment filter removes major contaminants that are present in physical particulate form, while a carbon filter removes dissolved chemicals from the water through chemical adsorption. Both of these types of filters are safe and effective in cleaning water for use by anyone, babies included. Some more aggressive filters, such as deionization filters, should not be used to make potable water for anyone, however, as they are too aggressive in stripping mineral content to create healthful water.


Safety Concerns with Unfiltered Water

The biggest safety concern in unfiltered water, especially where children are concerned, is the threat of lead. This heavy metal is extremely toxic, and is considered unsafe at any level. Lead causes irreversible brain and bodily damage to human beings, and is especially devastating on the developing brains and organs of small children. If you have any reasonable suspicion that there may be lead in your water, however trace the amount may be, then it is strongly recommended that you buy bottled, purified water for your baby’s formula. Lead is one contaminant that you don’t want to take any chances with. There are obviously a whole host of other dangerous contaminants that you don’t want your children imbibing, so get your water tested to find out what’s in there before you start mixing up a bottle.


Benefits of Filtered Water for Babies

Babies are constantly growing, and every bit of food or moisture they imbibe is used to create new cells, and form the building blocks of their unfolding life. It is of the greatest importance in healthy childhood development, that kids get clean water and good food. Removing chlorine, VOCs, heavy metals, cysts and parasites, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and other terrible things that impede normal cell growth and function–these are good goals to have, and will help any child to grow up healthier.


Can I use filtered water for mixing baby formula?

It’s impossible to give a single definitive answer to this question. In most cases in the United States, where municipal water treatment is fairly good across the board, and water is typically safe to drink from the tap, then adding in extra layers of filtration should make your water a safe base for baby formula. However, there are no guarantees when it comes to water, and your best bet is getting your water professionally tested. You may live in an area with old lead pipes that sometimes leach, or that has another local contaminant problem. It is always best to be informed, so to determine whether or not you are on safe ground, seek out more knowledge.


Is boiled filtered water safer for infants?

Boiling water is an effective way of killing microorganisms in water, so it will help to protect your child if you have bacteria or viruses in water. However, if you have heavy metals such as iron, copper, chromium, or lead in your water, then boiling will actually worsen the problem. Boiling the water will reduce the amount of overall water in the pot, while leaving the minerals the same as before, thus further concentrating the mineral content. Know what is in your water before you decide on a purification method.


Can filtered water impact the taste preferences of babies?

Babies have taste buds too, and can benefit from better-tasting water. While they may not be able to articulate their preferences, anyone will enjoy clean water more than turbid water with lots of residual sediment or chlorine. This is one thing the whole family can benefit from.


Are there signs that the water is unsuitable for babies even after filtering?

If your water is still visibly turbid, hazy, or opaque after filtering, then you should not give it to your baby, and should probably not drink it yourself. If the water has a strange taste or odor, or still tests poorly when submitted for laboratory testing, then you may have a problem more serious than can be handled by a home filtration system, or that requires a custom filter setup. In such a case, speak to a local plumber or water dealer about your options.



It may be frustrating, but there are rarely cut-and-dry answers when it comes to water filtration. Tap water in much of the country may be perfectly safe to use as a base for baby formula, while in other regions, it would be a very bad idea. The best place to start is by educating yourself about what is in the water in your state, city, area, and neighborhood. The only water you need to worry about fixing is yours; there are no one-size-fits-all solutions here. Speak to experts, know your water, and plan from there.