Babies love bath time. But don’t put your little one in a baby bath seat. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission no longer recommends baby bath seats. Nancy Cowles, the executive director of Kids In Danger, a site dedicated to improving baby product safety, explains, “The baby bath seat was designed at first as a convenience item, but consumer groups like Kids in Danger have never recommended them.”
Many parents purchased baby bath seats with the idea that the baby would be safer being strapped into the seat in the tub. “While they seem to be a great idea in theory — a great way to keep mobile munchkins in one place while you’re giving them a bath — bath seats are no longer recommended at all,” says Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, an emergency room doctor at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and a Sharecare vice president who answers users’ health questions on her blog Ask Dr. Darria. That’s due to the easy ability of children to slip out of them or tip them over, which often will cause babies to be trapped with their heads under water since they’re still strapped in and cannot sit up.
The straps, suction cups and seat features gave parents a false sense of security, which is the real danger, says Cowles. Dr. Gillespie agrees, saying that the false sense of security potentially leads parents to be less vigilant. Cowles explains, “You’ve got a baby in the tub in one of these seats, and you have a toddler who suddenly screams from the next room. If your baby is just lying in the tub, your instinct is going to be to grab the baby and take her with you.
But if your baby is in one of these contraptions, your instinct is going to be, she’ll be fine for the second or two that I leave to see what’s wrong with my toddler. And that’s when we end up in trouble. If they are left alone in these bath seats, even for a few seconds, they could tip, and the seat would hold the baby underwater.”
Instead, here are five bath safety tips that are recommended by the two experts:
- Plan Ahead
“Before you put baby in the tub, do a quick check to make sure that you have everything you’ll need within reach. You don’t want to put her in the tub and then realize that the clean washcloths are in the hallway closet!”notes Dr. Gillespie.
- Keep Your Hands on Your Baby
“You always need to have one hand on your baby at all times, ” says Cowles. Within arm’s reach is not good enough, she stresses.
- Don’t Ask Siblings to Help
“Never assume that a sibling is an appropriate watcher. Babies will often immediately inhale when they go underwater. No amount of time is safe when it comes to water with a baby,” says Cowles.
- Use a Baby Bathtub Instead
“I use for my little baby a hard plastic small tub that fits inside the big bathtub,” Dr. Gillespie says.
- Keep Them Stable
“Studies have shown that adults are present in the bathroom in the majority of cases when children fall — meaning that being present is not enough,” Dr. Gillespie adds. “You have to physically help keep them stable.”