Types of baby tubs

There are several types of tools you can use to help bathe an infant. Some are for infants only, while others can help bathe older children and toddlers. Here's a rundown of the general types.

  • Plastic transitional baby tubs. These are basically large plastic basins with molded plastic dividers that help position an infant in the tub. Most have two sides; one end of the tub is shaped for infants, with a higher seating position that allows baby to lean back. The other end of the tub is usually deeper, with straighter sides, better for babies who can sit up on their own. Some baby tubs include a sling or hammock accessory, which allows parents to sponge-bath their baby without submerging him or her under water.
  • Bath pads. Bath pads are intended for younger babies only; most resemble a big pillow, with a recessed area for the baby to recline. You can easily place a bath pad in a kitchen sink, whereas the plastic baby tubs are a tight fit. Other bath pads look like a little hammock or reclined fabric seat on a frame. You can use bath pads too long; most babies will outgrown them in about nine months (or when their feet grown beyond the pad).
  • Inflatable tubs. These are blow-up tubs designed to sit inside a regular tub, giving baby a smaller area.  However, few experts recommend these, saying it's too easy for the baby to lean over the side, which can collapse under his or her weight and pose a drowning hazard.
  • Bath pods. Politely named bath pods actually resemble small fancy buckets. This type of tub shape is supposed to encourage your baby to adopt an upright fetal position. While some parents say this position does seem to soothe their baby, others complain that it's just hard to bathe them properly in such a tight space.
  • Bathtub rings and seats. This type of bathing aid uses suction cups to attach to your regular bathtub. However, experts, including those at Consumer Reports, Good Housekeeping and the Drowning Prevention Foundation caution against these since the suction cups can easily fail, allowing the baby to fall into bathwater and drown.

Experts urge parents to choose a baby tub with safety in mind and to take precautions during bath time to prevent any accidents. The following considerations are worth bearing in mind when choosing a baby tub:

  • Models with removable slings are convenient for newborns and easily adjusted to fit toddlers.
  • Plastic tubs with two seating positions extend the usefulness of your tub.
  • Look for rough edges that could scratch your baby's skin.
  • A plug makes for easy draining, particularly if you plan to use your baby tub in the sink.
  • Choose a size that works with your bathroom or sink.
  • Look for a hanging hook to aid drying and storage.
  • Baby tubs with rounded, overhanging rims or handles make it easy to carry a water-filled tub from one area to another.

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