Baby bath aids

Baby bath aids are not safety devices. Make sure you buy a baby bath aid that that carries the required safety warning.

About baby bath aids

Baby bath aids help keep a baby's head up and out of the water, leaving the carer’s hands free to wash the baby. They are typically used in adult sized baths but can come with baby baths as well. There are a few different types of baby bath aids available including:

  • bath seats
  • cradles
  • hammocks
  • recliners
  • supports
  • shower chairs
  • flotation rings.

The suitability of these products changes as your baby grows.

Baby bath aids are generally made of plastic, rubber or foam, but can also be made of fabric supported on a frame. Some have toys attached to them and some have a base that swivels.

Risks and injuries

Baby bath aids are not safety devices.

Drowning can occur within seconds, silently and in water that is only a few centimetres deep. If children are revived from near-drowning they may suffer permanent brain injury from lack of oxygen to the brain.

Babies and young children have drowned when left unsupervised. This can happen if:

  • the child slips off, rolls off or climbs out of the seat
  • the child becomes trapped in the seat openings
  • another child in the bath plays roughly and pushes the young child out of the bath aid or tips the child over with the bath aid
  • the bath seat tips over.

Buying tips

  • Check that a safety warning statement is on the product.
  • Check that there are no sharp edges or points on the bath aid.
  • Check that your child fits properly into the bath aid.
  • Check that any toys attached to the bath aid are not small enough or have removable parts small enough, to fit in a baby or toddler’s mouth.

Safety warning statement

When choosing a baby bath aid, check that the safety warning statement is clearly displayed on the product. It should be easy to read and not come off when handled and it should be able to withstand the warm soapy water of bath times for the life of the product.

Label reading: WARNING: Children have DROWNED while using bath aids. This is NOT a safety device. ALWAYS keep baby within arm’s reach. Never leave baby in care of children.

Safe use

  • Supervise your baby or toddler closely at all times when around water, ignore distractions like the phone, or take the baby with you.
  • Do not rely on children to supervise children while in the bath. They may think the baby or toddler is playing, or they might not raise an alarm in time. Children often do not know what to do if something happens, or think they might get into trouble.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  • Do not cover or remove the safety warning and do not keep baby bath aids if the safety warnings have become hard to read.
  • Always keep at least one hand on the baby when around water to prevent them from slipping face first into or under water. Infants may not have the neck strength to move their head or face away from the water.
  • Know how to perform resuscitation and CPR. Visit Royal Life Saving Society Australia for information about resuscitation training.

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