Best Baby Bathtub
The Primo Eurobath is an extra-large, sturdy tub perfect for those who want a single product to take baby from infancy through the first two years. With multiple positions for infants, babies, and even toddlers, it is perfect for babies to grow into or simply to enjoy extra space for splashing around. One end of the tub has a gently reclining position with support between the legs to keep infants stable. The other side allows older babies to sit more upright. Primo states that EuroBath is lead, phthalate, and BPA-free.
Unfortunately, this tub is large and bulky and is inconvenient to stow after bathtime is over. There is a notch on one end that allows it to hang, but that isn't practical for most families. Due to the lack of antislip materials, tiny infants may have trouble staying in place despite the contoured shape. The Primo is devoid of any cushioning, making it less than cozy for sensitive booties. However, if your home has room for this spacious tub, and you want a durable bath made for the long haul, then the Primo fits the bill.
The Munchkin Sit and Soak is a sturdy and compact baby bath that is small enough to fit in the kitchen sink of most homes. It has non-slip foam padding along the backside and a thin patch for baby's bum on the bottom. An additional support ridge on the bottom helps to keep baby in an upright position, and rubber feet keep the tub stable on a flat surface. We lovethe a handy drain hole in the bottom of the basin with a removable silicone stopper that is easy to clean. A handle on one side makes it easy to move and carry, and many like to use it as a hanging hook when storing the tub. There are no sneaky places for mildew to grow in this smooth sided tub, and it is easy to rinse and sanitize if the baby ever has an accident during bath time.
We had only a few complaints about the Sit and Soak. The first of which is the lack of support for smaller infants or newborns. While some tubs have a sling or extra padding to keep a slippery baby stable, this one requires additional diligence as there is a lot of open space for a small body. While the age range starts at infancy, many parents prefer to use this tub when their baby is closer to 3 months old. Second, the foam padding that offers extra cushion for baby can easily tear if you are not careful. However, we are delighted with the performance of the Munchkin Sit and Soak. We like the compact size and the simplicity and consider it a bathtime winner.
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 and offers great longevity. It has a mesh sling for newborns and you can remove the sling to use the tub alone when your baby has better bodily control. This tub is compact enough to fit in most kitchen sinks and has a handy side compartment for storing bathing supplies. We like how this tub has a separate area to fill with rinse water, so you don't have to use the water your baby has been sitting in.
Some users complain about the sling tearing or having trouble staying put. Others have problems with mildew forming in the mesh. However, this should not be an issue if you completely dry the sling between uses. As for reported stability issues, be sure to adjust the sling correctly to avoid this. 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 properly care for it.
The Blooming Baby Bath is a new spin on your traditional baby bath. This colorful plush sunflower cushions baby while bathing in the kitchen sink. The petals fold in various positions to cradles little ones in softness in a wide variety of sinks. The soft terry cloth material helps keep baby warm and the textured surface prevents slipping. This unique design has a loop hanger for easy drying and storage. It is washer and dryer friendly, making it a breeze to keep clean and hygienic.
The Blooming Bath could potentially accrue microbial issues from a contaminated kitchen sink or mildew from an improperly cared for flower. Therefore, it is essential to disinfect your sink before every use and adequately wring and dry the petals between uses. If you live in a humid climate, it may be best to toss the entire cushion in the dryer to eliminate moisture that could lead to 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 if they aren't ready to sit unassisted in your home's tub. But, if you are looking for a comfortable and compact tub for your infant that is also adorable, it is an excellent choice.
The Fisher-Price Rinse 'n Grow is an excellent tub for families looking for a one-and-done product. This tub features an adjustable sling for newborns and slightly older babies with more head and neck control. When your little one outgrows the sling, it turns into a toy bag and the central basin opens up as your new bathing station. It also includes two strainer toys that work well for rinsing and are entertaining for baby. The sling is machine washable, and the materials feel durable enough to 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. More active kiddos could potentially scootch the tub around, so please use caution and don't place the tub on a high surface. If this isn't a big deal for you, this baby tub can undoubtedly take you from infancy to toddlerhood for a budget-friendly price.
The Puj Tub is a soft foam tub with 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 the smooth coating makes it mildew and mold resistant. The unique folding design and magnets allow it to fit almost any sink and then lay flat for storage. Puj also sells Puj Nubs (peel and stick hooks) to hang your tub. The compact nature of the bath 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, and this tub makes bathing your infant easier.
One of the significant drawbacks is that it won't fit every sink. The manufacturer gives sink dimensions of 12-15" for length and width, and 6.5-9" for depth, so measure your sink before purchasing to avoid fit issues or purchase from a retailer with a forgiving return policy. This tub is only large enough for infants, so it isn't a perfect long-term solution. With a max-age of 6 months or up to 17 lbs, you'll need an additional plan once your baby reaches this milestone. Lastly, there are reports that the magnets that hold it folded together can come undone unexpectedly. Despite these hiccups, we like how easy the Puj is to use and how comfortable it is for babies. It is an excellent choice for small bathrooms or those with limited storage.
The Summer Infant Comfort Height is a bathtub combined with a step stool that helps parents prevent back strain. Hunching over your tub is uncomfortable, so the platform raises your baby to a more comfortable level. You can use the support on its own or in a sink or bathtub for additional height. As your baby grows, this option can transition to a toddler tub for babies who can sit unassisted. The step stool separates and will hold adults up to 250 lbs, making it useful even after your baby is grown.
Unfortunately, the infant bather portion does not affix to the toddler tub, and it may shift during bath time. The movement can be significant if there is standing water in the toddler tub, so it is critical to follow the manufacturer's instructions for best use. Also, Summer Infant has the warning label stickers inside the tub, rather than out. Which seems like a design flaw as the wet labels peel and create sticky adhesive in the bath environment. Parents will likely then remove the stickers, which negates the point of having highly visible warnings. These oversights aside, we think parents will like having a raised tub that helps to prevent back strain and discomfort.
Not Recommended: Counter Safety Concerns
Although we like the BPA-and phthalate-free soft material that cradles little ones in a supported incline position on the Munchkin Clean, there are similar and better tubs without a countertop safety concern. According to the Munchkin website, this product is for use on the countertop near the kitchen sink, which we strongly believe creates serious safety issues. The the tub or baby could fall from counter height, and placing your baby on the counter in or out of a bathtub is dangerous. It is too easy to accidentally knock the tub or your baby off the counter, resulting in disastrous results. We would prefer the bath if Munchkin did not encourage countertop use. The current version is one we don't recommend because of the safety concerns associated with the preferred and recommended usage outlined by the manufacturer.
Why You Should Trust Us
Bathtub selection and testing took some serious and thoughtful consideration because of the related safety concerns surrounding babies and water. Luckily, our team is headed by our founder and board-certified pediatrician, Dr. Juliet Spurrier, mother of two. Dr. Spurrier uses her education, background, and experience as a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to select products with safety in mind. The team also includes Senior Review Editor and BabyGearLab review analyst, Wendy Schmitz. Wendy is a mother of two and works closely with testers with all types of baby gear from bottles to strollers and everything in between. Wendy has worked at BabyGearLab since 2014 and has an education in the scientific method and testing processes.
We purchased and tested most of the baths in this roundup for side-by-side comparisons to determine which option is the best for each situation and lifestyle. We used the baths with real babies in real life, as well as in our in-house lab.
How to Bathe a Baby
There are many ways to keep baby clean. These can include sponge baths for newborns, bringing your little one into the tub or shower with you, washing a sitting infant in the kitchen sink, or using a basin explicitly made for infant bath time. All styles share the common goal of safely cleaning your bundle of joy, but they vary in their degree of difficulty and safety concerns. Whichever method you try, there are potential safety issues to consider. We have rounded up some tips for getting your little one safely squeaky clean and make this an enjoyable, bonding experience for parent and child.
When it comes to bathing your baby, staying safe should be the number one priority. The following are a few tips to keep bath time comfy, enjoyable, and free of incidents.
- One Hand on Baby — Keep one hand on your baby during bath time. This habit helps ensure that you are present and watching their every move. Bathing can be a slippery situation, so keeping a hands-on process helps avoid injury.
- Supervise at ALL Times — Because little ones can drown in as little as one inch of water, NEVER, EVER leave your baby alone in the water. Resist the temptation to sneak out "for a second" for forgotten supplies or check your phone as there is never a good excuse to put your child in danger.
- Avoid Falling Hazards — Use only a protected, stable, hard surface where you can safely bathe your child in an infant tub and avoid potential falling hazards. This surface could be the floor, your home's bathtub, the shower, or even inside a sink. As long as the infant tub is on a flat and stable surface away from high edges, then it is in a suitable location.
- Safe Water Temperature — Babies have thin, sensitive, delicate skin. A temperature that might feel comfortable to a grown-up is likely too hot for babies. Experts recommended using water close to your body temperature. Somewhere between 98F to 100°F/38C, which is warm but not hot. Using a baby bath thermometer can help you find the sweet spot. Always check to ensure that the bathwater is a safe temperature before you place your baby in the water. Make sure to "test" baby's tub of water with the inside of your wrist or elbow instead of your hand as they are more sensitive to temperature. Most importantly, do not place your baby under running water, as tap water temperature can fluctuate wildly, increasing the risk of scalding the skin.
You should set your water heater temperature below 120 F to avoid accidentally scalding your baby. Refer to your heater's manual or contact the manufacturer to learn how to adjust your heater for safety.
- Water Level — Do not overfill the bathtub. This is not the time for baby to enjoy a relaxing soak at the spa after a stressful day at work; they are there to get clean safely and quickly. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should start with two inches or less of water. You should fill the bath with enough water to keep the baby warm, but you should never cover their entire body. Placing a warm washcloth on the baby's chest and tummy can help them stay warm. Gently pouring water on their body and the cloth can also help. Choosing a well-heated room is the best way to keep your baby cozy during bathtime, rather than using more water or increasing the water temperature.
- Avoid the Countertop — Although some manufacturers market their infant tubs for countertop use, we strongly recommend that you do NOT bathe your baby on the counter or table. Countertop bathing has multiple potential safety hazards, including the tub falling off the high surface or the baby squirming out of the bathtub and falling. A 3-foot fall for a baby is like a 10-foot fall for an adult. A fall like this creates a significant risk of traumatic brain injury, skull or limb fracture, internal bleeding, or death. Given the variety of bathing options that offer a safer, more secure environment, there is no need to risk this. We don't recommend the Munchkin Clean (or any other countertop use tub) that advertises countertop use as standard because of these safety concerns.
- Using Infant Tubs Inside a Bathtub — When you bathe a baby in their infant tub inside your bathtub, the later should be empty with the water turned off and the drain open. These measures help ensure that the infant tub is stable, and you avoid scalding potential. If the infant tub doesn't feel stable inside the empty home tub, you should consider using the infant tub on the floor instead.
Baby Bathing Tips
If the idea of bathing your baby makes you anxious, you aren't alone. However, it doesn't have to be as challenging as you think if you come prepared. You can do this! The following tips include suggestions that make bath time a breeze.
- Newborn Bathing — Full-term newborns can have a sponge bath at home in the first few weeks when the umbilical stump is intact. It is helpful to collect all of the supplies you'll need BEFORE you get your baby undressed. Your supplies should include a basin/tub with warm water, a washcloth, 2 to 3 drying towels, mild soap, unscented lotion (if desired), a fresh diaper, and a clean outfit. Undress your infant and lay them on a plush, soft cloth. Use a dry towel on their body to help them stay warm. Take a warm wet washcloth from the basin and wipe their face before moving to the scalp and other places. With a small amount of soap on your washcloth, gently wipe the baby clean small sections at a time, removing the cover towel only when you must for cleaning to prevent your little one from getting cold and distressed. Clean their genital/anal area last to avoid any possible contamination. Last, use a soap-free/new warm washcloth to rinse/wipe their body. Pay special attention to skin folds and creases under the neck, ears, and armpits.
Don't panic if the umbilical cord stump gets wet before it falls off. The important thing is to keep the umbilical cord as clean and dry as possible until it falls off; this is called "dry cord care." However, if the umbilical cord gets dirty, it's important to clean it! After you wash it, pat the cord dry with a clean, soft towel. If it needs more extensive drying, you can use a COOL hair drier (no warm or hot setting); better to air dry than to burn your baby.
- Frequency of Bathing — Under normal circumstances, babies only need a bath 2 to 3 times a week. A baby's skin can dry out if you bathe them more frequently. You can clean their face, neck, and genitals in between washes with a warm cloth if necessary.
- Use a Buddy System — Until you are used to bathing your infant, it can be reassuring to have another adult nearby. This person can retrieve missing supplies or provide comic relief. They can entertain or distract the baby to increase the fun and decrease your stress.
- Wash a Fed, Well-Rested Baby — Bath time is best when your baby is well-fed and alert. It will increase your chances of success. However, as your baby gets older, a warm bath before bedtime can create a soothing routine that cues relaxation and sleeping.
- Shampoo and Body Wash — It's best to use a mild, tear-free soap. Most adult products contain harsh fragrances and chemicals that can irritate your baby's sensitive skin, and therefore, shouldn't be used.
- Be Prepared — Have your supplies ready before bath time. Being prepared can reduce any stress. If you forget something and are alone, pick your baby up and take them with you. Never leave a baby unattended in or near water.
- Breathe — Stay calm and bathe on. It takes practice bathing your baby to gain confidence. This awkward experience is new for you and your baby, and it might not go smoothly in the beginning. Take a deep breath. It gets better with time as you both get to know each other and the basic drill.
Traveling with an infant can be challenging. Figuring out where you're going to bathe them on your travels can add an entirely new element of frustration. The Blooming Baby Bath is a suitable choice for travel as it folds and fits in nicely in most luggage. It requires drying time before hitting your suitcase, or you can bring a wet bag if you are in a hurry.
A great baby bathtub can take away the stress of bath time and create an enjoyable moment for you and baby. Creating a safe atmosphere is key in making a great tub. The right product can be a valuable piece of baby gear that we encourage parents to consider. With practice, bathing your baby can be a bonding and relaxing experience, but not if your tub is subpar. Choosing the right bathtub for your needs, mastering the basics, and following straightforward and essential safety measures means you'll be a baby-bathing pro before you know it.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Abriah Wofford