Are you worried about bathing your little one? Or do you have a baby or toddler who just hates bath time? Unfortunately, love it or hate it, baths are a necessity.
Sweet and cute as they may be, babies and toddlers are mucky little tykes. Whether it’s an explosive diaper or messy mealtime, cleanup is always on the agenda. Our baby also seems to turn into writhing, slippery eels when water is added to the mix.
So, with so many to choose from, which bathtub is going to make bath time a pleasant experience for baby and you? Let’s have a look at some of the best baby bathtubs and bath seats, what to look for in a tub, and some safety tips for bath time.
Types of Baby Bathtubs
There are several different types of bathtub designed to make baby bath time a whole lot easier. These include:
- Plastic tubs: These standard style tubs are generally made from durable hard plastic and are the most basic option. They might have a sloped side, a baby seat, a non-slip bottom, or a cushioned headrest. Some will fit over a kitchen or bathroom sink, while others will be freestanding or fit inside a regular bathtub.
- Slings or hammocks: Bathing a newborn can be a daunting task — you feel like you need about ten extra pairs of hands to wash baby while supporting them and keeping them calm. A sling that fits over a standard style baby bath will help keep your munchkin safely in place. This gives you one free hand while you wash their tiny bodies.
- Convertible bathtubs: These tubs come with different inserts to use as the baby grows and develops. They will either have a sling or another type of support for newborns, such as cushioning or contouring. When your child can sit up, there might be a supportive seat or backrest — these can then be removed, giving a toddler more space to play with bath toys or splash around.
- Cushion style: These tubs are not what you would think of in the conventional sense — they are essentially a cushion, shaped to support and provide comfort to babies when they are in a standard baby bath or sink. They don’t hold water but generally have a mesh bottom allowing water to pass through. Ideal for small spaces, they let you wash and rinse babes while providing partial hands-free assistance.
- Inflatable tubs: This option might be less durable than its plastic counterparts, but it’s great for storage and travel. With a bit — well, a lot — of puff, they inflate and provide cushioned sides for baby to bathe in. They often have non-slip bottoms and a drainage plug.
- Fold-away bathtubs: These are another great space saving and travel option. They open out and can be placed in a sink and filled with water. Once you finish bathing your little one, empty and dry it, and then fold it up again to put away.
- Luxury spa baby bathtubs: If you feel like splashing out, these baths take clean-up to a whole new level. They could have spa jets, a waterfall feature behind baby’s back, a shower attachment for rinsing, cushioning, and non-slip coatings. These tubs are generally battery operated, heavy, and more expensive.
- Bucket style: These are just what they sound like, a plastic bath that resembles the shape of a bucket. They could have a padded inner and non-slip bottom, and usually have a seat and support, to hold the baby upright.
Features of the Best Baby Bathtubs
Bathtubs vary greatly in size and function. Here are some of the things you need to look out for in the best bathtubs.
- Non-slip surfaces: We have already mentioned water plus baby equals a slippery situation. Ensure there are non-slip surfaces, both inside and outside of your tub. That way you won’t be chasing the baby around the tub, or the tub around the room.
- Smooth edges: Rough, sharp edges can damage a baby’s delicate skin. Any contours should be rounded and smooth.
- Rigidity: You want a tub that’s not going to collapse and lose its shape when you put water in it. If you opt for an inflatable tub, make sure it’s sturdy when filled with water.
- Support: This is provided in several ways in different bathtubs. Some have support for baby’s head, others for their bottom and back; they may offer cushioning, or wing style contours to hold a baby safely in place. Sling style baths will cocoon a small baby above the water.
- Size matters: Your little tyke will grow quickly, a newborn will be a toddler before you know it. Check whether a tub allows room for growth, so it lasts beyond the first few months. Having a tub that will also fit a toddler, will save a lot of water.
- Comfort: Some tubs suitable for use in a sink are soft and squishy. They provide enough support for baby but are gentle on their delicate little bodies. Some models can be machine washed and tumbled as well.
- Storage: Another consideration when it comes to size is how much room the tub takes up. Some are collapsible — ideal for small spaces, others hang to dry — good for storage, and then there are compact ones that fit small sinks.
- Portability: If you want to use your tub outside the bathroom, or you regularly travel with your kids, a portable bathtub is a good choice.
- Drainage: Check whether the bathtub has a built-in plug. This is the simplest way to drain the water after a bath. If it doesn’t, make sure it’s not too heavy to lift with water in, so you can easily empty it.
- Mold and mildew: Damp and water can cause mold and mildew to grow and multiply. A tub that retains any moisture in cushioned pads or crevices leaves your baby at more risk. Some tubs will incorporate foam that is resistant to these fungi and prevents their growth.
- Temperature indicators: A built-in thermometer or temperature-sensitive patch takes the guesswork out of the heat of the water.
- Water jets: Yes, babies can have a spa bath too. Some have battery-powered water jets giving soothing vibrations and massages.
- Shower heads: As well as spa baths, some tubs have a built-in mini-shower head for rinsing the soap from wet little bodies and heads.
The Best Baby Bathtub Reviews of 2020
There are many different types of tubs to pick from. We have rounded up our choice of the top ten, to make your decision easier.
1. The First Years Sure Comfort
It’s no surprise this is a popular bathtub. While it is budget friendly, it still has all the bells and whistles you get with a more expensive tub. It will cover you from baby’s first bath, right up to toddler age, at about 25 pounds.
For a newborn, it has a mesh sling hammock, which suspends above the tub. This is ideal when all you want to do is sponge bathe and not wet the umbilical cord, which might still be attached. This way, baby is held above the water and not fully submerged.
This is a great way to introduce both mom, dad, and baby to bath time. I remember dreading having to bathe a baby who was as slippery as wet soap, and I just didn’t think I would be able to hold on.
After the first few weeks, your little one will be ready to have a splash around. The main tub has grooves and a foot stop, so the baby can’t slide around too much. There is even a contour which prevents tiny bottoms from slipping and sliding everywhere.
I like the tall sides, keeping the baby secure and the water in the tub. A padded back gives little one some cushioning for comfort, and further helps prevent slippage.
Once babies can sit up and play, the foot stop can be used as a seat, just by turning your little one the other way around. Float the rubber duckies and let them have fun.
Other notable features of this tub are a drainage plug and a small cubbyhole by the foot stop, to hold things like soap, washcloths, and a toy. The tub will also fit into most kitchen sinks, so you can stand during bath time if it’s easier.
- Available in two colors.
- Versatile from birth to toddlerhood.
- Won’t hit your pocket hard.
- Drainage plug can have some seepage.
- Quite large, so storage could be an issue.
2. Leachco Safer Bather Infant Bath Pad
I remember my mom telling me the sink was by far the best place for bath time when I was young. It saved her bending over and saved me from getting water everywhere. Her only complaint was the sink was cold and hard, and she would have to support me all the time.
This bathtub from Leachco sounds like it would have been good for us. With fish or frog patterned fabric, it is supportive for your baby’s head, and the polyester surface is soft on their skin. This tub looks like a little pillow.
This tub should fit any kitchen or bathroom sink, and I love that it has plenty of padding to cushion baby. I wish they made an adult size one for the bathtub, how relaxing and comfortable would that be?
Caring for this tub is a breeze, you can pop it in the washing machine and dry in a dryer on the lowest heat. It even has a sturdy hook for hanging to dry.
- Soft and supportive for baby.
- Filling dries quickly.
- Velcro hook for air drying.
- Suitable only for infants up to about six months.
3. PRIMO EuroBath
Although this is called a Eurobath, it is actually a good old American-made product. Not all homes have a traditional bathtub these days. This can pose a problem when you want to bathe a little one but don’t want to use the sink, or they get too big for it.
That’s where this product comes in — it’s a rigid one-piece bathtub, ideal for placing in a shower. Now, I know using the base of your shower for a bathtub might have its challenges. Movement can be restricted, which is why the contours built into this tub are ideal.
There is a seat and wings, which will secure a slippery, wriggly newborn in place. The bump that rises between their legs will stop them from slipping under the water.
On the downside, the surface is not non-slip, so you will still need to keep a hand on baby. However, handy little cubbies will let you have a washcloth, baby shampoo, sponge, or toy close to hand. I would suggest buying some non-slip bathtub pads for extra safety if you choose this product.
Once your little one can sit unaided, you can pop them in the other end of the bath where the side provides a backrest. Larger than most, this will easily cater to your toddler until they are a couple of years old or more.
There are drain holes on the cubbies, as well as the main one in the bath itself. This means you don’t have to be Hercules to lift and empty it.
There is an additional stand that you can buy for this tub, but as nurse evaluating risks it is too high and could be a fall risk for your baby. Also as your baby gets mobile there is no way you’ll want your baby moving around that high. This tub will be safest on a shower or bath tub floor or in a sink.
Editor's Note:Katelyn Holt RN, BSN, BC
- Large enough to last from newborn to toddler.
- Easy to clean, non-toxic plastic.
- Available in three different colors.
- No padding for small babies.
- Base of the tub is not non-slip.
4. Shnuggle Baby Bath Tub
When space is at a premium, a large tub for your baby may not be an option. The Shnuggle tub is lightweight, compact, and simple.
It’s a bit like giving baby a bath in a bucket, but with a few added extras. There are feet on the bottom which grip the base of a sink or bathtub. This saves you needing octopus arms to hold the baby and keep the tub still.
A hump in the middle of the bath forms a seat for baby’s bottom and gives enough support to keep them upright so they don’t fall forward. The bottom of the bath has a non-slip surface, and a padded grippy back cushion helps hold little ones in place.
Baths can often feel cold against little one’s skin, which could make them wriggle even more than usual. Not something you want when they already feel more slippery than a fish. The cushioned back is warm to the touch, stopping baby from feeling too cold.
Suitable for any sink over 15 inches wide, the bath measures 24 inches at the highest point. This baby bath doesn’t have a drain plug, but it’s a snap to pour the water down the sink once you’ve finished with it.
- Smaller than many other baby bathtubs.
- Stable for freestanding on the floor or countertop.
- Back cushion available in three different colors.
- Suitable from newborn up to about 12 months.
- Not good for larger babies or toddlers.
- Can be hard to wash important little parts and bottoms as the child is seated.
- Could be difficult to bathe newborns due to the shape.
- Lack of water outlet.
5. Skip Hop Moby Baby Bath Tub 3 In 1 Smart Sling
Sling style tubs are excellent for newborns. They cradle a slippery baby safely, taking some of the worries out of bathing your precious new arrival.
They are the same as many baby bathtubs, but with a specially designed hammock to pop the baby in. This offering from Moby has a sling which is attachable to four points at the top of the tub. Made from washable polyester, it is cushioned and comfortable, helping soothe your little one during those first baths.
Once the baby gets to about three or four months old, you can detach two of the hooks and the sling becomes more of a seat. This means more fun for baby, but maybe more mess for you, as this tub won’t fit in the sink.
When babies progress to sitting on their own, you can remove the sling altogether. The textured base of the tub will help prevent them from slipping and sliding too much. The bathtub is suitable for babies and toddlers up to 25 pounds.
- Cute design in the shape of a whale tail.
- Drain hole in the base
- Sling can be machine washed and tumble dried on a gentle cycle.
- Sides are only 11 inches high, which could mean water spillage.
- Won’t fit in a sink.
- Little toes can get caught in unused hooks for the sling.
6. Blooming Bath Lotus
Looking for comfort for baby and versatility for sink bathing? The Lotus has them both. It looks really cute and might have you reaching for the camera and producing an Anne Geddes-style shot.
It has four petals which overlap, to form a comfortable, contoured base for baby. This feature also means it’s suitable for almost any sink size, expanding or reducing to fit. I have to be honest, this is another baby bath insert I wish they made in adult sizes.
A flat center perfectly holds baby’s bottom, preventing them from slipping around when they are wet and soapy. Got a baby that hates bath time? Maybe this will help, many users find fussy babies love being cocooned by the moveable petals.
Moms find it easy to use too. The soft outer fabric is filled with foam, making it supportive as well cozy. Once you are done, just wring it out and hang it up to dry or pop it in the tumble dryer.
- Available in three colors — canary yellow, blue, or hot pink.
- Fits many bathroom washbasins or kitchen sinks.
- Won’t take up much storage space.
- Won’t last for older children.
- Petals may lay flat in a very large sink.
- Need to clean and dry thoroughly after every use, to prevent mold and mildew.
7. Puj Tub Foldable Bathtub
The Puj tub has an innovative design to gently cradle your precious newborn. It cleverly folds into shape using magnets, and fits most bathroom or kitchen sinks. This is a great tub for keeping a slippery newborn secure while you gently bathe them.
Not only that, it saves the back-breaking bending over a bath, and can be a godsend after a C-section.
The soft foam construction is BPA and PVC free, and it’s also mildew and mold-resistant. This means no nasty toxins to harm your precious baby.
I love that this tub offers a small, safe area to bathe a little one while giving them support. It makes bath time less stressful when they feel secure and cocooned. Newborns can be wriggly little mites, especially when wet — this tub makes keeping hold of them a little easier.
Although this tub should fit most sinks, it’s best to check the dimensions first. It is recommended for sinks measuring 12 inches to 15 inches, with a depth of 6.5 inches to 9 inches.
Worried about ending up with a wet floor? This tub has overflow drains, letting excess water out into the sink.
Suitable from birth up to about 6 months, or 17 pounds, this is specifically designed for very little ones.
One bonus with this tub is it’s also a space saver. It folds flat when not in use, so it won’t take up valuable bathroom or kitchen space.
- Soft and comfortable to cradle baby.
- Easy to clean and store.
- Larger babies will outgrow it quite quickly.
- Magnets might not always hold strongly.
- Might not fit all sinks.
8. Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Sling 'n Seat Tub
After the umbilical cord stub falls off you’re able to get the baby a little more wet.It’s scary, I know, but the padded foam back cushions baby’s head and the bottom of the seat insert acts as a stopper for a tiny bottom.
After the first few days or so, it’s time to get more adventurous and submerge your little one in some water. It’s scary, I know, but the padded foam back cushions baby’s head and the bottom of the seat insert acts as a stopper for a tiny bottom.
Time passes quickly and baby will soon be sitting up. That’s when you can progress them to the included supportive baby seat. There is even a water squirter and whale scoop included for them to play with — nice touch!
Finally, the seat can be removed, allowing plenty of room for your toddler to play and splash around.
Suitable for suspending over most kitchen sinks, or placing inside the family bathtub, the water easily drains through the plug in the bottom. A handy hook lets you hang the tub to air dry. However, as it is a little on the larger side, drying and storage will take up space.
- Versatile from birth to 25 pounds.
- Roomy enough to be used as a toddler bath.
- Extra accessories included.
- Removable “feet” secure the tub when using over a kitchen sink
- Drain plug is located under the seat, making it difficult to empty while baby is in it.
- Foam head pad is thin and can be difficult to clean.
- Takes up a lot of storage space.
9. Munchkin White Hot Inflatable Duck Tub
If you’re looking for a perfect travel tub for visits to grandma’s or vacations, this inflatable tub from Munchkin will meet your needs. It folds away neatly for packing in your suitcase, and inflates and deflates quickly.
Just make sure you have plenty of puff to blow it up. Or get yourself a pump to avoid the lightheadedness of all that exhaling.
The white swan has a textured, non-slip surface. This will help stop your little one from becoming like a slippery eel and testing your powers of grip.
Another really useful feature is the temperature indicator heart, which shows up “HOT” in white if the water is above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. It stays blue when the temperature is correct. This saves the need for a separate bath thermometer, or using guesswork, for the heat of the bath water.
This tub will last a long time as well, as it is suitable for children up to two years old. But it doesn’t need to end there, you could use it for water play in the backyard when the weather is good. Some clever people have even filled it with ice and used it as a beveragecooler after the kids have outgrown it — how innovative is that?
There’s a drain plug for easy emptying, and a suction pad for hanging to dry it out. Although you could leave this tub inflated, storage might then become an issue.
- Fun design that baby will love.
- Compact for transportation.
- Tail doubles as a head cushion.
- Not suitable for babies younger than six months.
- Make sure your lungs are strong — inflating by mouth can take some time and effort.
10. Summer Infant Lil Luxuries Whirlpool, Bubbling Spa & Shower
We all like a bit of luxury from time to time, and why should our little treasures be an exception? I know I love the relaxing bubbles a whirlpool bath provides, so maybe it will relax and calm a baby as well?
The spa bath from Summer Infant has motorized water jets, which can soothe baby with their vibrations, or keep them amused as they watch the bubbles. It’s suitable for use even for a newborn, with a cushioned sling for support.
An integrated battery-operated shower head is a huge bonus. Let’s be honest, washing baby’s hair and rinsing it can be difficult.
My babies used to hold their breath and make the strangest faces when having their hair rinsed. A gentle shower head like this one might have stopped them from looking so terrified!
The water in the tub stays warm as a result of the insulated double wall construction. This can make bath time last longer by giving baby more water fun.
- Suitable from newborn to toddler.
- Shower unit is detachable for use in a regular bathtub.
- Large and bulky, so storage is an issue.
- Requires four D size batteries, which are not included.
Safety First at Bath Time
Bathing your precious bundle should be pleasurable and fun. However, safety must come first. Here are some tips to ensure bath time stays incident free.
- Keep one hand on baby: Babies can be slippery little things when they are in water. Keeping hold with one hand not only reassures them, but helps to avoid them sliding and hurting themselves.
- Supervise: Make sure you are with baby at all times when they are in the bathtub, even when they get a little older. A child can drown in just a couple of inches of water — leaving them even for a few seconds can place them in danger, which is something no parent wants (1).
- Water temperature: Hot water is particularly dangerous for a baby’s delicate skin. A temperature which we can withstand as adults could scald them and cause burns — the ideal temperature is about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a thermometer, use your elbow to test the bath water, it should feel warm and not hot (2).
- Running water: Never use a running tap when bathing your little one. The temperature can change and risk chilling or scalding baby.
- Ensure the tub is stable: Whether you are bathing baby on the countertop, in the sink, or even with a tub-in-a-tub, make sure it can’t move around. Squirmy, wriggly babies and water can all contribute to making the tub move.
- Warm the room: Rather than putting extra warm water in the bath, to make sure baby does not get a chill, warm the room. You can use a warm washcloth over baby’s chest as well, to stop them from getting cold.
- Electrical appliances: Make sure any electrical appliances are well clear of the tub, especially if you’re in the kitchen. We all know that water and electricity don’t mix.
If you don’t have a bathtub, there are other ways you can bathe a baby.
- The kitchen sink: This is an ideal place for a baby bath. It’s just the right height for you — saving strain on your back, and plenty big enough for baby. Just remember to clear away the dishes first and make sure the sink is scrubbed clean!
- A plastic bucket: An older baby who can sit up, or a toddler, can be bathed in a plastic bucket. Get one of the larger types and fill it from the sink faucet or even in the bottom of your shower. But be cautious, a bucket can tip if the base isn’t wide enough.
- Take a shower: Bathing your child in the shower with you can be calming and soothing. If you are concerned about the slipperiness when wet, use a ring sling or baby wrap to hold them close and secure. An older child could even sit on the floor of the shower while you wash them. Taking a shower when the baby is super messy is the easiest way to get that little baby clean.
Here are some tips you might find useful when bathing your little one, particularly a newborn.
- Choose your time wisely: Pick a time when both you and your baby are relaxed; this will be less stressful for you and can help make baby less fussy. For some, this could be in the morning, for others before bedtime. Whichever you choose, you could turn this into a routine for mom — or dad — and baby time. This can be the start of your baby’s bedtime routine, a relaxing bath at the end of the day.
- Have everything ready: Make sure you have all you need within arm’s reach before you start. This is safer for the baby, letting you have one arm on them at all times, and saves you from yelling to your partner for something you have forgotten.
- Ease baby into the bath slowly: Think of how it feels for you, jumping into a swimming pool: it can sometimes take your breath away. It’s much the same for your little one —suddenly they have no clothes or diaper, and you are immersing them in water. Use a warm, wet cloth to dampen them down first, before gently easing them into the water.
- Be efficient and quick: Little ones can cool down quickly. The faster you bathe them and get them back into their cozy clothes, the less fussy they might be. Although, you never know, you might have a water baby who cries when you take them out of the bath, if you are lucky! As the baby gets older they’ll stay in the bath longer and longer.
- Dry baby carefully: The many little folds and crevices in baby’s skin can become irritated or sore if they aren’t dried properly.
Bath Time Frequently Asked Questions
Many parents have questions when it comes to bathing babies. Here are some of the ones which pop up frequently.
Can a Baby Bathe After Feeding?
You might find your little one will spit up less if you feed them after bathing, rather than before.
Can Baby Take a Bath with an Ear Infection?
Can Baby Take a Bath Every Day?
When Can Baby Bathe with a Sibling?
This is really up to you and how confident you are with bathing your little ones. You could briefly dip your baby in with their older sibling, and then let them have a kick around on a warm towel in a warm room, while washing the other child. You could also tag team with your partner, once your newborn is clean. Older siblings love to help so this can be a good opportunity for a sibling to grab washcloths or pour a little water to rinse the baby.
Can I Bathe Baby in Epsom Salts/Bubbles?
It seems that anecdotes, rather than scientific facts, extol the benefits of Epsom salt baths. There appears to be no reason why not —however, if they swallow the bath water, it can act as a laxative. It’s probably best to check with your pediatrician first, especially if the baby has a skin condition (5).
Can I Bathe Baby with the Umbilical Cord Still Attached?
Before the umbilical cord falls off, you should only sponge bathe your new arrival. Once it has healed, then you can immerse the baby in a shallow bath (6).
The Final Plunge
Of our top ten picks, my choice for the best baby bathtub is the First Years Sure Comfort Deluxe. It’s a good bathtub at an affordable price and will cover your needs from newborn to toddler.
It has a sling for the early days, then contours to keep a little one in place, but is large enough for a toddler to have a good old splash and play. The tall sides help make sure the water stays in the tub and not all over the floor — or you.
The cubby keeps everything you need close at hand, and the drainage plug makes emptying a breeze. Suitable for most sinks, it also won’t break your back when you are supporting and washing your mini humans. You even get to choose between blue or pink.
We have detailed some of the things you need to keep your little ones clean and safe. All you have to do is make your choice from our top picks, roll up your sleeves, and have some bathtime fun. We hope you enjoyed our thoughts and reviews and would love to hear your comments.