Scrub-a-Dub: Looking for an Infant Tub
Some parents love bath time; it's fun and nice to have a sweet-smelling baby fresh from the tub. I, on the other hand, was terrified of bathing a tiny newborn. I dreaded the day that sponge baths were over and it was time to move to the tub. I was afraid of the baby being too wiggly and slippery, I was afraid of the water being too hot or too cold, and I was afraid of bending her little body to get to her neck folds. But I got over it, much in part to the handy infant tub, which made bath time a lot easier than I had originally feared.
Safety always comes first when shopping for baby items, and this is particularly important when looking for bathing accessories. We're going to focus solely on bath tubs and not bath seats. Consumer Reports warns us that bath seats are not the safest choice for babies: “Baby bath seats, almost all of which stick to a bathtub with suction cups, have been blamed for about 120 drownings and at least 160 injuries since 1983” (“What Not to Buy: A Baby Bath Seat”). As the old saying goes, it's better to be safe than sorry.
When you're shopping for infant bath tubs, there are a few features that are must-haves, in my opinion. First, look for something portable. If you're short on space, for example, if you have a tiny bathroom, you'll probably want a tub you can use in the living room or even on the kitchen table. And if you're really concerned about saving space, some models even fold up for storage. Most tubs are portable, so your selection will be large.
Secondly, look for tubs that either have an insert for newborns or soft, grippy material inside to prevent slipping. Inserts for newborns come in different forms, from inflatable mini mattresses, to slings, to mesh, to foam. Simply check the packaging to see if the tub comes with one. In lieu of an insert, look for the rubbery surface on the inside of the tub. This will help keep your baby in place and make bathing less fretful.
Thirdly, look for a tub that is contoured to keep the baby at a safe, comfortable, reclined position. Their head will safely stay out of the water, and it will be easier for you, since your baby probably can't sit up on their own until around six months.
Another optional feature is the “two-sided” tub, or one that the baby can sit on either side. One side is intended for babies who cannot sit up by themselves (the contoured reclining side), and the other end allows them to sit up when they are ready. This versatility will allow you to get the most use out of your purchase. Other optional features include storage pockets or compartments for wash clothes and soap, a hose and gentle spray nozzle you can hook up to your sink for easy rinsing, and sensors that change color to warn you if the water is too hot. You can even find some tubs with soothing jets!
Baby bath tubs usually run anywhere between $10 and $50. You can find them at major stores, such as Target and Walmart, specialty children's stores, and even some drug stores. Bottom line: safety first. Even if you aren't terrified of bath time like I was, a safe, comfortable infant bath tub will make bath time enjoyable and relaxing for all!