Most experts say you don't need a fancy baby tub; accordingly, the tub most often recommended in reviews is a basic baby tub, the Primo EuroBath (*Est. $24). Expert reviewers say this infant tub is simple and sturdy; it's appriate for newborns through age 2. The Primo EuroBath is also listed as a top pick on TheCradle.com, and a blog review on GearheadMom.com raves about this baby tub, noting that the plastic doesn't contain bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that has been the source of controversy over possible health concerns. GearheadMom.com also praises the EuroBath's ergonomic design, which props babies up in such a way to prevent slipping.
This molded plastic tub can be used two ways; one side of the tub has a higher, smaller lounger-type seat for younger babies, while the other side has a deeper, wider seating area for older babies and toddlers who can sit up on their own.
The Primo EuroBath comes in three colors -- green and blue in addition to white -- but we noticed that the blue and green versions seem to cost about $10 more than the basic white version. Both "Baby Bargains" and a review at BobbysBest.com note that this tub is quite large (36 inches long by 21 inches wide). For parents with small bathrooms, it may be difficult to store this tub between uses. And it's too big to fit in a kitchen sink.
The Primo EuroBath can be used for infants and babies up to two years with its two seating areas. Competing baby tubs come with some extras designed to more easily or comfortably bathe infants; some tubs include a fabric sling or hammock for newborns.
The First Years Sure Comfort Deluxe Newborn-to-Toddler Tub with Sling (*Est. $22) is designed to transition from newborn to toddler. (This baby tub is also marketed as The First Years Infant-to-Toddler Tub with Sling.) Another version, The First Years Sure Comfort Deluxe Newborn-to-Toddler Tub (*Est. $19), is the exact same tub without the sling. Most of the reviews we read discuss the model that includes the sling.
The plastic The First Years Sure Comfort Deluxe Newborn-to-Toddler Tub with Sling is narrower and more compact than the Primo EuroBath; it's small enough to fit in a large sink, helpful for parents who'd like to bathe their baby while standing up rather than stooping over the bathtub. Like the Primo EuroBath, The First Years baby tub has two sides; one side is better for smaller babies while the other side is a bit deeper for babies who can sit up on their own. Although parents say it's great to be able to fit their baby tub in the kitchen sink, others note that their older baby found the tub too cramped. The reason most parents like this model is for its included fabric sling, handy for bathing a newborn without submerging him or her in water. This is particularly useful, because a child's sensitive umbilical cord area needs to be kept dry for several weeks after birth, or until the cord stump falls off, according to Dr. Vincent Iannelli, About.com's guide to pediatrics (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation). As the baby gets older, the sling can be removed, and the baby can be bathed while sitting in the tub or resting on the backrest.
The First Years Sure Comfort Deluxe tub with sling is just as popular with parents as the Primo EuroBath. More than 950 reviewers on ToysRUs.com give this baby tub an average rating of four stars out of five, while more than 800 reviewers on Amazon.com give an average rating of 4.5 stars out of five. The deciding factor is whether you want to be able to fit your baby tub in the kitchen sink, and whether your value the sling feature.
A few other manufacturers make baby tubs that include hammocks, although none receive the praise from reviewers and consumers that The First Years and Primo baby tubs do. Fisher-Price makes the Ocean Wonders Aquarium Bath Center (*Est. $32), the newer Ocean Wonders Aquarium Bathtub (*Est. $32). Both have hammocks as well as the same type of two-sided plastic tub to accommodate babies as they grow. Size-wise, these baby tubs are a bit longer and wider than The First Years tub, but smaller than the Primo EuroBath tub, so they might or might not fit in your kitchen sink. Most parents don't seem to have a problem fitting them in the sink.
The big complaint with the Ocean Wonders Bath Center is that babies weighing more than about eight pounds can't use the hammock because of a plastic bump on the bottom of the tub; heavier babies stretch the fabric enough that the bump can dig into their backs. While Fisher-Price says that the hammock shouldn't be used by babies weighing than 10 pounds, many parents are still frustrated that they can't use the hammock for heavier babies. To be fair, we also found some complaints about this regarding The First Years tub with the sling, but not nearly as many negative comments as for the Fisher-Price baby tub.
The 2009 version of the Fisher-Price baby bathtub is the Ocean Wonders Aquarium Bathtub. This model has a revised hammock design that the manufacturer says can now be used with older infants as well as newborns, but we haven't yet seen reviews of this new tub.