Baby bath time gear

Jun 17, 2009 at 12:04 p.m. ET

What bathtime gear should you have for your newborn, toddler or preschooler? Our baby bathtime guide provides tips on how to make bathing safe and fun for you and baby.

Bathing Baby in SinkSplish, splash, baby's taking a bath!

Bathing baby can be a fun experience for everyone. Having the right gear for safety and enjoyment is key to that experience though. Are you ready to bathe?

Bathing gear for new babies

Once baby has moved beyond bathing with a warm washcloth, it's time to find a bigger, better place to bathe baby. You can cradle baby in one arm and bathe them in a sink of water, but if that's not your style, there is some great gear available to help you with the wet duty.

New to the U.S. is the
Tummy Tub, a bucket-like clear plastic tub that holds the baby in an upright position, simulating the womb environment. It's supposed to keep baby toasty as they are surrounded -- in a safe way -- with warm water. Plus, water doesn't cool down as fast since there is less surface area. I imagine this would be a big hit with the winter babies, who would otherwise be subjected to cool air on wet body in more traditional baths. This type of bath is said to be used in European hospitals -- including in the maternity wards -- since it's so comforting to babies.

Prince Lionheart also markets a similar tub called the washPOD, which is inspired by tubs used for babies in Europe. The washPOD is intended for babies up to six months old.

Many moms choose to go simple with The First Years Sure Comfort Newborn to Toddler Tub, which is available with and without a removable sling. The tub works both for an infant in the reclining position and for a toddler sitting upright, plus it's easy to drain with a simple plug that removes to let the water escape. It can be used in a kitchen sink or in the bathtub, making it a versatile option. The only downside is that it's a little large to hide away easily when not in use.

Toddler bathing time

When baby reaches the mobile stage, where they are interested in moving around more and have a greater capacity for play, it's time for a change up in bath gear. Transitioning baby to the big tub can be scary for both baby and mom, so ease your way in with a bath ring like the Aquababy Bath Ring. Baby sits in the bath ring, much like a high chair seat, and is safe from toppling over but can still reach the water and play. Many bath rings have small toys attached as well to make bathtime fun -- even in the ring.

If you want to go simpler and just make sure that baby is safe, invest in a fun nonslip bathmat for the bottom of the tub. Baby can sit on it, making sure that they don't slip and slide all over and it will also insulate their little bottoms from the cold porcelain tub.

Toddlers are also ready for a few fun bath toys. Squirting toys like the Munchkin Tower of Squirters Bath Toys available at Target are bright and colorful and sure to catch your toddler's eye. And they are a toy that can be used into the preschool years since the squirting action appeals to older kids too.

Bathing a preschooler

By the time your child hits the preschool years, they will probably be really into bathtime playtime. Make sure you have a nonslip bathmat on the bottom of your tub to ensure that your little guy or gal isn't in danger of sliding around.

For toys, the squirters from earlier childhood are probably still fun, but toys for older kids like Crayola bath crayons and markers, can really bring out the creative side of your child at bathtime. Boats are always a big hit too.

Whatever toys you have, try to keep them put away so you can take out a few at a time. Too many toys can be overwhelming and make bathtime more fight than fun.

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