Babies are surprisingly messy; from spit up to diaper explosions it can seem like they are constantly in need of a cleanup. With so many options, deciding how best to meet your little one's bathing needs takes some consideration. We spent over 60 hours researching over 40 popular baby bathtubs from classic basins to inflatable and travel-sized foldable versions. Then, we set out testing a select few in our search for the very best evaluating important factors like such as usage range, dimensions, ease of use, safety, quality, and ease of cleaning. With a keen eye towards safety and functionality, we share our top 8 favorites below and follow this with expert advice on how to make bath time a safe, fun, bonding experience for both you and your baby.
The Best Baby Bathtub Review
The Primo Eurobath is an extra-large, sturdy tub perfect for those who want one solution that will take a baby from infancy through the first two years. That said, you will need somewhere to store it when not in-use, whether it resides inside a larger bathtub or stored inside a closet. With multiple positions for infants, babies, and toddlers, it is perfect for babies to grow into or simply to enjoy extra space for splashing fun. One side has a recline position with between leg support to keep infants from sliding downwards. The other side helps older babies sit upright unassisted. Primo states that the EuroBath is lead, pthalate, and BPA-free.
That said, very small infants may have trouble staying in place despite the contoured shape designed to help with just that. Also note, that hard plastic tubs can become slippery so it is important to keep one hand on baby at all times. And, the Primo is devoid of any cushioning, so if hard plastic may present discomfort for newborns in particular. Lastly, want to reiterate that this is a big tub, so you'll need to address the storage issue. There is a notched area on the Primo allowing it to hang from a hook, so if you have extra wall space, this could be an ideal solution. We do not recommend this tub for those living in cramped spaces with limited storage. However, if this is a non-issue for your household the Primo is a classic, durable bath space with room to grow and play.
The Shnuggle is a great infant bathtub that is easy to use, will keep your baby nice and warm, while providing great support. This tub is the perfect compact addition to your baby gear lineup with a round shape that lets it fit nicely into most kitchen sinks. The compact design also means minimal water use and the foam backrest and bum bump help keep your baby in a comfortable position while they stay warm in the water. Parents and babies both love bath time in this unique user-friendly bathtub.
As great as the tub is, there are a couple of things to consider. The Shnuggle does not have a drain, so you need to keep an eye on the max fill line to avoid overfilling or a safety hazard. While not an issue for everyone, some parents may find taking little ones out of the tub to refill with clean water frustrating. Also, while it has cozy foam padding on the back of the tub, there is no padding on the seat which can cause some babies to slip around a bit if they are very active. IN general, we are super impressed with the ease of use of the tub and think most families will find it solves the baby bath time conundrum.
If you want a budget-friendly tub you can use for years, The First Years Sure Comfort Deluxe is a great choice. This inexpensive tub offers similar features to higher priced competitors without sacrificing quality. It comes with the infant sling and can transition to a larger tub with an ergonomic reclining seat. This tub is small enough to fit in most kitchen sinks and has a side compartment for storing supplies or water for rinsing. We like how this tub has a separate area where you can fill water to rinse baby to help control water temperature before it touches baby.
Some users have complaints about mildew forming in the mesh sling or the sling ripping and having trouble staying put. The mildew isn't a real problem if you completely dry the mesh between uses. While some parents also reported stability issues, if the sling is adjusted correctly it shouldn't be a problem. This tub's drain plug can potentially leak, so you'll want to use the tub inside your sink or bath or use it on a waterproof floor to avoid a significant mess. Despite these issues, we think this is a sound tub if you follow directions and take care of the parts after every use.
If you are looking for the perfect inflatable baby bathtub, look no further than the Munchkin White Hot Inflatable Safety Duck. This adorable tub sports features like a textured non-slip surface and a temperature indicator that shows "HOT" when the water is at or above 104°F, helpful as this takes the guesswork out of determining if the water is too hot. This tub is a great travel option as it inflates and deflates in about 7 minutes and can up nice and tidy for packing in a suitcase; just have a good set of lungs ready for setting up and prepare to become a bit lightheaded. Also, give yourself a bit of time in between set up and bath time to recuperate. A thoughtful addition to this inflatable tub is a suction cup on the back which allows it to hang out on the wall of the shower or bathroom when not in use. This tub is designed for kiddos up to two years, but future uses go well beyond for water play or a cooler for your next bbq.
As with anything inflatable, there is some effort involved in the setup. If you are going to deflating it with regularity, you may want to consider having a good pump as self-inflating it will get old fast. You could leave the bath inflated but then you'll need to store it which will be a problem if your space is limited. Despite this issue, we think that you will be pleased with this inexpensive tub that can be taken on almost any excursion.
The Blooming Baby Bath is a new spin on the traditional baby bath. This colorful plush baby bathtub has a sunflower design that cradles little ones in softness for bathing in your kitchen sink. The petals fold in various positions to fit various sinks and babies, and the soft towel material helps keep your baby warm and prevents slipping. This unique design has a hangtag for easy drying and storage, and it is washer and dryer friendly to keep it clean and hygienic for baby.
The Blooming Bath could potentially come with microbial issues from a contaminated kitchen sink or mildew from an improperly cared for flower. Therefore, it is important to disinfect your sink before every use and adequately wring and dry the tub after each use. The plush material will be soaked and heavy after use. If you live in a humid climate, it may be best to toss it in the dryer to ensure that it completely dries to avoid the build-up of bacteria. This baby bathtub is only suitable for infants up to 6 months (approximately), so you may need to look for another bath at that time if they aren't ready to sit unassisted in the regular bath. But, if you are looking for a super comfortable tub for your infant that is also adorable, it is an excellent choice.
The Fisher-Price Rinse 'n Grow is a great tub for families who want a one and done purchase. It features an adjustable sling that works perfectly for newborns or older babies who have more head and neck control. When your baby outgrows the sling, it turns into a bag for toys leaving the main basin as your new tub station. The tub also comes with two strainer toys that work well for rinsing and are fun to play with. The sling is machine washable, and the materials feel like they will last as your baby grows.
The bottom of the Fisher-Price Rinse 'n Grow does not have a non-slip surfacing to prevent the basin from moving. This means active kiddos could potentially scootch the tub around, so please use caution. It may be reasonable to If these concerns are not a big deal for you, then this baby tub can undoubtedly take you from infancy to toddlerhood for a wallet-friendly price.
The Puj Tub is a soft foam tub that has an innovative design that folds to fit in the bathroom sink. Not only is the durable material comfortable for baby, but it is also BPA and PVC free and mildew and mold resistant, helping to create peace of mind for you. The unique design allows it to fold, with the help of magnets, to fit your sink, then it opens up to store flat. Puj sells Puj Nubs, which are peel and stick hooks, as an accessory to hang your tub. The compact nature of the tub makes it a perfect space saver for smaller bathrooms with limited storage. We like that it offers a safe area to bathe baby in a supportive manner. It is difficult to hold onto sudsy babies, and this does the trick in making bathing your infant a bit easier.
One of the significant drawbacks to this tub is its inability to fit multiple size sinks. The manufacturer gives sink dimensions of 12-15" for length and width, and 6.5-9" for depth. Make sure to measure your sink before purchasing to avoid any issues of fit. The design is for an infant tub, which means that it is not an item that you will use long term. With a maximum age of 6 months or 17 lbs, you will need Plan B ready for what bathtime will look like once your little one reaches this milestone. One last thing to keep in mind is reports of the magnets that hold it folded together coming undone with little effort during bathtime. Overall, we like how easy it is for us to wash baby and how comfortable baby is in the tub.
The Summer Infant Comfort Height is a bathtub with a step stool that helps prevent back strain. Hunching over your bathtub is uncomfortable, so the platform raises your baby up to a more comfortable level to decrease fatigue. You can use the bath support on its own or in a sink or tub as a support. As your baby grows, it can transition to a toddler tub for little ones who can sit unassisted. The step stool component separates and is suitable for adults up to 250 lbs!
Unfortunately, the infant bather component does not attach to the toddler tub so the infant bather can shift during bath time. This shifting gets worse if there is standing water in the toddler tub, so following the manufacturer's instructions is critical. Also, Summer Infant places the warning labels inside the tub which causes peeling wet labels and sticky adhesive in the bath environment. We think parents will appreciate the unique feature of raising the tub to a higher level to prevent back strain and discomfort.
Not Recommended: Counter Safety Concerns
Although we like the fact that the Munchkin Clean has soft material that is BPA and phthalate free, and that it cradles baby in a supported incline position, there are similar or better tubs without the countertop safety risk. According to the Munchkin website, this bather is designed for countertop use, which we strongly believe can cause serious safety issues should the tub or little one fall from counter height. Having your baby on the counter in or out of the bath is a danger. It is far too easy to accidentally knock the tub and your baby off the counter with disastrous results. We wish Munchkin would make a similar product that is not designed or intended for countertop use. The current option is one we don't recommend given the safety concerns surrounding their preferred and recommended method of use.
How to Bathe a Baby
Like there are many ways to grease a pig, there are many ways of bathing a baby from sponge bathing a newborn, to getting into the tub or shower with your little one, to washing a sitting, splashing infant in the kitchen sink to using an infant-sized tub as we share above. All of these share the common goal of getting your little bundle of joy squeaky clean safely. Whichever method you choose, there are some safety issues to follow as well as tips and tricks to getting your little bundle of joy squeaky clean safely and to help make this time an enjoyable, bonding one for both of you.
When it comes to bathing your little one, safety is key. The following are key tips to keep bath time both comfortable, fun, and free of incident.
- Always One Hand — Always keep one hand on your baby while you are bathing them. This assures you are present and watching their every move. Bathing can be a slippery situation, so this helps avoid injury.
- Supervise Baby At All Times — Because a child can drown in as little as one inch of water, NEVER, EVER leave your little one alone in the bath. Resist the temptation to sneak out "for a second" for something as there is no reason great enough that warrants putting your child in danger.
- Avoid Falling Hazards — Choose a protected, stable, hard surface where you can safely bathe your child in an infant tub and avoid falling hazards. This could be the floor, the bathtub, the shower, or even within a sink. As long as the infant tub is on a flat and stable surface away from high edges and baby is safely contained within the tub.
- Safe Water Temperature — Babies have thin, sensitive skin so what feels comfortable to an adult you may be too hot for your newborn. Experts recommended a water temperature between 98F to 100°F/38C, but which is warm but not hot. Using a baby bath thermometer the first few times will help you determine what the correct temperature feels like. Always check to make sure that the baby's bath water is at an appropriate temperature before the baby is placed within the bath. Day in, day out, make sure to "test" baby's tub of water with the inside of your wrist or elbow instead of your hand they are more sensitive. Most importantly, do not bathe a baby directly from a running water tap as water temperature can fluctuate unexpectedly and rapidly which increases the risk for scalding injury.
- Tub Water Level — Do not overfill baby's bathtub. Baby is not enjoying a relaxing soak at a day spa; they are there to get clean only. According to the Mayo Clinic, parents should start with two inches of water. You'll want to fill the bath with enough water to keep baby warm, but they do not need to be covered. Placing a warm washcloth over their chest and tummy will help keep them warm. Gently pouring water on their body and the cloth will also help. Creating a warm room is a better way to keep baby comfortable than increasing the water amount or temperature.
- Avoid the Counter Top — Although some infant tubs are marketed for countertop use, we strongly recommend that you do NOT bathe your baby in an infant tub positioned on the counter. Countertop bathing comes with several safety hazards including the tub falling off of the counter or the baby squirming out of the seat or sling and falling. A fall from 3 feet for a baby is like an adult falling 10 feet, which carries great risk of traumatic brain injury, skull or limb fracture, internal bleeding, and even death. Given the variety of other options that provide a safer more secure bathing environment, there is no need to take this risk for any reason. Due to these exact safety concerns, we do not recommend the Munchkin Clean bath which advertises this exact scenario.
- Using Infant Tubs in a Bath Tub — When a baby is being bathed in their infant tub that is placed inside a home's bathtub, the later should be empty with the water turned off and the drain open. This ensures the infant tub is stable and avoids scalding injury. If the infant tub isn't stable inside the empty home tub, use the infant tub on the floor instead.
Baby Bathing Tips and Tricks
If the concept of bathing a baby makes you sweat a little, no need. You can do this! It's not as hard as you may think, as long as you are prepared ahead of time. The following are some helpful tips and tricks to make bath time a breeze.
- Newborn Bathing — Full-term newborns can be sponge bathed at home in the first few weeks of life while the umbilical cord stump is still intact. To do this, it is important to collect all the supplies you will need BEFORE getting baby undressed. This includes a basin with warm water, a washcloth, 2 to 3 towels, mild soap, unscented lotion (if desired), a diaper, and a change of clothes. Undress baby and lay him/her on a thick, soft towel. Use a dry towel over their body to keep them warm. Wet a washcloth in warm water from the basin and wipe their face. Then, move onto the scalp and so on. With a small amount of soap on your washcloth, gently wipe baby clean bit by bit only removing the cover towel when you need to avoid your little one getting cold. Clean their genital area last to avoid any possible contamination and use a soap-free warm washcloth to rinse their body when you are done. Pay particular attention to skin folds and creases in under the neck and armpits as well as around the ears.
Before the umbilical cord stump falls off, do not panic if it gets wet. It is alright. The main thing is to keep the umbilical cord as clean and dry as possible until it falls off; this is called "dry cord care." That said if the umbilical cord gets soiled, clean it! Once clean, pat the cord dry with a clean, soft towel and then dry it further using a COOL hair drier. This works like a charm.
- Frequency of Bathing — Under normal circumstances, babies only need to take a bath about 2 to 3 times a week as babies skin can dry out if baths are given more often. In between baths, you can clean their face, neck, and genitals with a warm washcloth as needed.
- Use a Buddy System — Until you get used to bathing your infant, it is helpful to have another adult standing by to help. This person can help retrieve forgotten supplies or extra items. They can help entertain or distract your baby to make bath time more fun, and the company can help decrease stress for you.
- Wash a Fed, Well-Rested Baby — Bath time is best when your baby is not hungry or tired. This helps set you both up for success. That said, as baby gets older, a warm bath in the evening after dinner can help provide a soothing transitional routine cueing upcoming bedtime.
- Shampoo and Body Wash — It is best to use a mild, tear-free soap for bath time. Most adult soaps contain harsh fragrances and ingredients that can be irritating to a baby's sensitive skin of a baby, so, therefore, should not be used.
- Be Prepared — Have all of your supplies ready to go before bath time commences. Being prepared reduces stress on everyone. If you happen to forget something and are alone, pick up your baby and bring them with you. Do not leave baby unattended in or near a bath.
- Breathe — Stay calm and bathe on. It takes practice to be confident in bathing your baby. The experience is new for both of you and may not go smoothly the first couple of times. Take a deep breath and know that it will get better with time as you and your baby get to know each other and get used to routines. Any progress is good progress.
Bathing On The Go
Traveling can be tough when you have an infant. Wondering where you are going to bathe them while on your journey adds an extra element that can cause frustration. The Munchkin White Hot Inflatable Safety Duck is an excellent potential traveler with adequate size for bathing when inflated (below left) and a deflated size that fits neatly in a suitcase (below center). The Blooming Baby Bath (below right) is also a great option for car trips as it lays flat, but it may not be ideal to fly with as it is bulky and may not dry in time for the trip home.
A great tub can help make bath time less stressful and more enjoyable for you and baby, which makes it a valuable piece of baby gear that we encourage parents to give serious consideration. Bathing your baby can be a fun and relaxing experience once you both get the hang of it but not if your tub is lacking. Choosing a great tub, learning the basics, and following the simple but very important safety measures means you'll be a bath time pro in no time.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Lindsay Selig