When it comes to bathtubs, things have changed quite a bit over the decades. Where there used to be one single style of baby bathtub (remember that yellow one with a small ramp-like area where the baby’s head is supposed to go?), but now, there are now dozens of different models on the market.
Which one is the best? It’s easy to become overwhelmed when there are so many different options, and choosing the right tub is just as important as choosing the right diaper bag. Thankfully, finding the best baby bathtub depends on the baby and the parent (and there isn’t one single answer to this question). Making your selection is as easy as knowing what the various options are and what they can do for your little bundle of joy, so explore your options with Paperclip.
Types of Baby Bathtubs
Finding the best baby bathtub starts with knowing and understanding the various types. Each is designed to help you do the same thing, which is to bathe your infant. However, that is where the similarities end. In all, there are six different types of baby bathtubs, ranging from foldable, standard, and convertible to standing, inflatable, and luxury. Each has its own set of pros and cons that are worth examining.
So, let’s dive in (but not literally – because they’re all shallow for your baby’s safety)!
A foldable baby bathtub does exactly what its name implies – it folds. While this does make them simple to store out of sight, which is great for those with a small house or bathroom where storage space is at a premium, it does make it likely for the bathtub to leak unless you get a premium model.
These tubs are made of plastic that’s designed to hold its shape when it’s unfolded. However, those folds can leak after they’ve been unfolded and folded back up too many times, making an unnecessary mess.
Standard tubs are the kind that most people think of when they picture a baby bathtub. They come in a size that will hold most newborns and infants and might come with either a seat to help prop your baby up mid-bath or a sling to keep their heads out of the water.
These tubs don’t collapse down in size, but they are made of lightweight plastic that’s easy to carry around the house. This makes it easy to give your baby a bath anywhere in the home that’s handy, since moving the tub is easy.
If you want a tub that will grow along with your child, then look into buying a convertible one. These tubs come with attachments that can be added or removed, like slings and seats, and are generally sized for newborns and infants up through the toddler stage.
These models may even have a special insert that fits inside for very young babies that can be removed once your child grows. Obviously, these tubs require a bit more storage space than the standard variety, but they are worth it, as they will be around for years to come for “tubby time” as your child grows.
A standing tub, though deceptive in name, is not designed so that your baby can stand in the tub instead of sitting or lying down. Instead, they get their name from the fact that the tub comes with all kinds of supports underneath that unfold, so adjusting its height is a cinch. This means that you – not your child – get to stand up while he or she is getting a bath. It’s great for parents who have back or knee problems and can’t comfortably bend over to give their child a bath.
As the name implies, an inflatable tub is one that inflates when you need to bathe your child and then deflates down into a handy portable size once you remove the water and the air from it. You’ll need a pump to make this easier on you (an electric one is much easier than a manual air pump), but they usually don’t take much time to fill with air, as they are fairly small.
Of course, the inflatable design makes them prone to leaks, as all it is takes is one puncture, and you’ll lose both air and water. With that said, these tubs are great for people who have small spaces or tend to go camping a lot, as the tub is very portable.
If you want your baby to bathe in luxury, then consider one of these premium tub models. They come with all of the bells and whistles, such as calming music that’s played through an attached radio and Bluetooth speaker system, water jets, actual shower-like nozzles (only smaller than those in your shower, of course), and even built-in vibrations that will calm down your child mid-bath.
These tubs are fairly expensive and operate either on batteries or electricity, but they do provide your baby with a fancy spa experience.
Another thing to consider is the extra features that come built into these bathtubs. Although the luxury tubs are their own animal, there are some that come with cool things like water temperature gauges. In some cases, the tub itself will change colors when the water is the right temperature or cools off too much, while in others, there’s an actual gauge to read, like a thermometer that’s built into the tub.
Plus, look for things like water plugs, which make the tub easy to drain, as well as surfaces that are made of a non-skid material. The latter will help you keep your baby upright in the bath, while the former will make it easy to drain once you’re done. This way, you don’t have to hand your baby off to your significant other just to turn the tub over and dump the water down the drain.
Rounded outer edges tend to make a baby bathtub comfortable for the parent who is handling bath duty, as it keeps them from accidentally hurting themselves on the tub. This is another feature to look for if you want a tub that is as safe as possible for everyone, not just your baby.
Plus, built-in slots that hold shampoo, soap, and other necessities make it easier to bathe your baby since everything will be within reach. This makes using the tub safer, since you won’t have to look away to find the next item that you need in the bathing process. Looking away for even a second or two can be dangerous, especially if you have a very young infant who cannot support their own head or body.
On top of the other features that you need to consider, as well as making a decision about the main tub style itself, you also need to think about the size of the tub. There are two reasons for this. One, the tub needs to hold your child, so they must fit comfortably inside of it. And two, the tub needs to fit in your home. If you have one that’s too large, then not only will you have problems finding a place to store it, but your infant may be too small to use it safely. Always consider the size of the tub when you’re making your decision.
Keep Safety in Mind
Bathtub safety is one of those high-priority factors that you really need to think about when you’re choosing a tub to put on your registry or to buy for your infant. Since some come with built-in safety features or have extra add-ons to place inside of the tub, this is definitely an important part of your decision-making process. Think about the following:
There are slings that can be placed inside of a baby bathtub to keep your infant in place with their head above water while you’re bathing them. Some tubs, such as the standard and convertible ones, come with them attached, while others may need a special separate insert. You need to think about this when choosing a tub because you really do need to keep your baby safe, even if you plan on focusing on the task and not looking away for a second.
On top of special slings and inserts, there are also non-slip surfaces built into some tubs. You see this more often in the luxury, convertible, and standard models. Since wet babies tend to be a bit slippery, these non-slip surfaces help you keep them under control and safely in place while you’re bathing them.
Picking out the best bathtub for your child is as easy as looking over the options and weighing the pros and cons of each. Some are designed to be more portable than others, while there are some luxury and standard options that take up a bit more room.
You also need to think about the safety of your child, since you will be bathing them in water, and it only takes a small amount of water and a very short amount of time to drown. Tub time can be fun and relaxing, but keeping your child safe is just as important as keeping them clean. Luckily, thanks to these tips from Paperclip, bath time can be easy once you pick the right tub.