Nothing quite beats the smell of a freshly washed baby but trying to bathe a wriggly slippery baby isn’t always easy. That’s where baby bath seats come in – they help to keep babies supported so that you can wash them with ease. But how safe are they?
Many parent and toddler groups, as well as paediatric experts state that baby bath seats can pose serious danger, so much so that they no longer recommend them.
If you’re thinking about whether to take the plunge and invest in a baby bath seat, here’s what to know before buying, and how to use one safely so your both you and your baby can enjoy a splash at bath times.
What is a baby bath seat?
A baby bath seat is a type of chair, usually made of plastic, that can be partially submerged in the bath. Designed to support your baby’s head and back, these seats help your baby stay stationary, allowing you to properly wash them.
There are a variety of baby bath seats out there – from options for newborns to larger options for toddlers – however you will find that they are all lightweight, easy to clean and easy to place in the bath.
Baby bath seat dangers
While baby bath seats are an incredibly useful tool for busy parents at bath-time, it’s important to remember that they only offer support and shouldn’t be used as a safety device. You should never leave your child unattended whilst they’re in the bath.
Whilst you’re juggling childcare, it can be tempting to leave your preschooler in charge of your baby in the bath, or at least shout at you if something were to go wrong.
But older children should never be left to look after babies, no matter how intelligent or mature they may seem.
Unfortunately, children can’t be expected to know what to do if something happens, and, they may not recognise the dangers or react quickly enough to signal you if something were to go wrong so it’s always advised that you stay with your child whilst bathing them.
Baby bath seat safety tips
If you do decide to use a baby bath seat, you need to ensure you’re taking the proper precautions.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) regularly issues safety advice and guidance about the use of baby bath seats, with the number one piece of advice being to never leave your baby un-attended in the bath.
Below are some additional safety tips to bear in mind:
- Test the water temperature. The water should be warm, not hot. We recommend filling the bath with a mixture of cold and hot water and testing it with your wrist or elbow to ensure it’s the correct temperature – around 37 degrees Celsius is perfect.
- Don’t overfill the bath. There shouldn’t be more than two inches of water in the bath.
- Keep baby away from the taps. Position your little one away from the taps (if they can’t see it, they won’t be tempted to keep switching them on!) and cover taps with foam coverings so that your baby doesn’t accidentally bang their head.
- Secure the baby bath seat suction cups. After putting your little one in their bath chair, give it a gentle nudge to make sure the suction cups are working properly and that the seat is safe and secure.
- Never leave the baby unattended. This rule goes without saying, but you should never leave your child unattended in a baby bath seat, no matter how safe they may feel. Additionally, you shouldn’t leave your baby with an older child either. The safest option is for you, your partner or another caregiver to stay with your child whilst they’re in the bath and ensure you can always keep them at an arm’s length. Keep all the items you need nearby so you don’t have to turn away from your baby.
- Give baby your full attention. As tempting as it can be to scroll through social media whilst your baby is in the bath, you should ensure you always give them your full attention. That means no browsing through the internet or going to make a cup of tea! If you must leave the room, even if it’s to answer the door, you should take your baby with you. It only takes a few seconds for your child to be in serious danger so you should never risk it.
Are baby bath seats safe?
In short, yes. And, although baby bath seats are getting safer, they are only considered truly safe under parent supervision, and for safety reasons babies and small children should not be left unattended in the bath (no matter how secure you think your bath seat might be).
If used under adult supervision, baby seats are largely safe. But you need to be mindful when shopping for a baby bath seat of reviews and the quality of the materials used. Poor suction cups could result in a baby bath seat that slips and slides everywhere, making the point of the bath seat redundant, not to mention dangerous too.
Do I really need a baby bath seat?
In short, no. Baby bath seats aren’t considered an essential purchase, in fact, you can pop your baby directly into your bathtub as long as you assist and supervise them at all times.
Bath seats are typically designed for babies who can already sit upright on their own, and once they can sit unassisted it’s likely they’ll start standing up in the bath anyway, making a bath seat redundant.
No matter whether you choose to buy a baby bath seat or whether you choose to pop your baby directly in the bath, always remember to always stay close to your baby and never leave them alone.