Once your baby outgrows the kitchen sink or baby bath tub, usually between four and six months of age, you will want to graduate to the larger bathtub. Transitioning to this larger body of water requires extra accessories and safety measures, including a bath seat. If your baby is sitting up, your baby is ready for the bath seat.
Bath seats are sturdy plastic chairs that attach to the bottom of your adult-sized bathtub with suction cups. Bath seats usually have a slick plastic seat for your baby to sit upon. Some bath seats have a grippy rubber layer over the seat to prevent your baby from sliding all over the bath seat.
Intended to keep babies in an upright position while in the bathtub, bath seats have a waist-high ring that runs around your baby which offers extra protection when your baby is just learning to balance and topples over easily. Some bath seats are decorated with toys to keep your baby entertained when you are lathering them up with a gentle baby soap.
Bath seats may help to prevent back strain from constantly bending over the side of the bathtub. They also allow your baby a bit of freedom to play, but bath seats are not an essential bath time accessory. Many parents manage their wriggly and somewhat unstable baby by bathing with them. Others may seat them on a cushioned, non-slip shower mat and kneel at the edge of the bathtub. If the bathing together all the time isn't an option and kneeling at the bathtub causes back strain, don't fret. A bath seat can keep you ache-free and keep your baby above the water's surface.
If you want to try one, keep in mind that not all bath seats have the same features. You want to make sure the bath seat has a plastic T-bar or strap that runs between your baby's legs. Most bath seats made of molded plastic have a T-bar on one side of the seat to prevent your baby from slipping out of the chair and under the water. If a bath seat doesn't have the T-bar, it must have a strap to secure your baby in the seat.
Some bath seats rotate 360 degrees. This makes it easy to wash your baby's back and belly. But you want the seat to lock as well. Some rotating seats lock at each quarter-turn so you can stabilize your baby for washing. If your rotating bath seat doesn't lock, the spinning may make it difficult to wash your baby, but it will add to the bath time fun!
Using bath seats can give parents a false sense of security. The use of a seat to keep your baby upright and supported can lead some parents to not watch their baby as closely as they would if their baby was in the bathtub without the seat. If you do use a bath seat, remember to never leave your baby unattended in the bathtub and watch closely. Babies are wriggly and curious, there is always a possibility your baby may fall out of the seat when you least expect it.