A baby bath seat can make it easier for you to bathe a wiggly little one, but not every family needs one of these bath-time helpers. Babies typically outgrow their infant bath tub at four to six months old, which is about the time babies learn to sit up on their own, too. A baby bath seat can help your baby stay put in the tub, but you must take heed of potential safety issues if you choose to use one.
Here's how to buy and use a baby bath seat safely.
Don't Buy Used
Used bath seats are easy to find at garage sales, but they probably don't meet current safety standards. The new standards went into effect in 2010. One important aspect of the new safety standards is the requirement for smaller leg openings. On older bath seats, the larger leg opening could allow a baby to slip through and become trapped. There are also stricter testing requirements to make sure the bath seat won't tip over while in use. Also included in the standards are additional warning labels telling parents not to leave baby unattended in the water.
Do You Need a Bath Seat?
Since bath seats and bath rings are designed for babies who can already sit unassisted, they're not an essential product. You can simply place your baby in the tub and keep a hand on his or her back for support. Of course, babies and toddlers are notoriously wiggly in the tub, plus they're slippery when wet, so the extra support offered by a bath seat might be welcome.
Bath Seat and Bath Ring Features
Look for smooth surfaces that can be easily cleaned. Even though you're using it in the bath, it won't always be clean. Even gentle baby soaps can build up on bath seats, and babies may occasionally have a bath-time potty accident, so you'll want to be able to clean the seat up when necessary.
Make sure all latches or adjustments work smoothly. Remember that you'll probably be operating these features one-handed, since you'll still need a hand for baby. You want a product that is sturdy without being complicated.
Look for manufacturer's weight or age limits. Some bath seats may have a low weight limit that makes them less useful for cleaning those adorable fat rolls on your chunky baby. Many bath seats indicate that you should stop using them when your baby learns to stand, while others can be used well into toddlerhood.
Hands On, Always
Always stay close to your baby during bath time. A bath seat is never a substitute for your supervision. Since babies and toddlers can drown in less than 2 inches of water, bath safety is incredibly important. No matter which type of bath seat or ring you choose, remember that it's an extra help for you, but you'll still need to stay by your baby every second he or she is in the water.
Here are two bath seats you may want to try: