Dad, this bathtub is pretty swanky. Photo: iStockphoto
When shopping for a baby bathtub, it can be hard to know what products on the market are safe, and which gadgets are even necessary. Do you need a high(ish)-tech one with a temperature indicator? Is space a concern? And do you even need one at all? (Can't baby just use the same bathtub as you?)
Consider how you actually want to bathe your baby. You don’t necessarily need a baby bathtub—you can simply sit in your tub with your newborn on your lap, but once she's able to sit on her own (hello, baby milestone), she can splish and splash on her own. But bear in mind that this isn’t always that convenient, and you’ll definitely need to be able to quickly jump into action when ugly messes, like poopsplosions, happen.
If you decide to buy a baby bathtub, there are lots of different options that will sit in your sink or a bathtub. Andrea Traynor of mommygearest.com says this decision relates directly to what kind of home you have. “If you’re in a small space, you might want to go the sink route,” she says, noting that some homes don’t have bathtubs at all. You can even get soft baths, made from foam or polyester, that fit easily in sinks and cradle your little one to help prevent slips.
Meanwhile, many basic infant tubs—which can be placed in your bathtub—feature fabric slings to cradle a newborn, and the sling can often be removed as your kiddo grows. Or you might want to opt for a baby bathtub that provides more than one support position, so it can grow with your babe. (Tight on space? Look for a collapsible bath.)
Above all, your baby needs to be supported and comfortable during her bath, so if your wee one isn’t enjoying bathtime, you may want to consider other options—babes who don’t like to be reclined may prefer to sit upright in a bucket-type bathtub.
Expert tip: Safety experts discourage the use of products like bath rings or seats. “If the child slips through, they can be trapped underneath, which is much more hazardous than falling into open water,” says Stephanie Cowle, health promotion coordinator at Parachute Canada, a national charitable organization dedicated to preventing injuries.