Sitting up is one of the first major milestones in your baby’s life. Once he or she can sit up and look around, your baby will have the opportunity to get a good look at the world around them. They’ll also be able to sit up at the dinner table and feel more like part of the family, play with their toys, and engage with whoever is within earshot. Another benefit of their new stationary independence is a change in the usual bath time routine. Your baby will be able to sit up sometime after four months and before seven months old. At this point, the bathtub in the sink will seem too small, so it’s time to move on to the real tub.

Some parents choose to go it alone and use their own hands instead of a bath seat in the tub. While this sounds scary, it actually has its benefits. Choosing to use your own hands to hold your baby up during bath time will remind you to never leave them unattended, and you eliminate the risks of a bath seat malfunction. However, using a bath seat is also perfectly acceptable, and it will give you more freedom to play with your baby in the bath.

The safety of bath seats frequently comes into question, but the Consumer Product Safety Commission works with manufacturers to make sure the safety standards are high. Therefore, never settle for a hand-me-down or older model of a bath seat or a bath ring. Often, the suction cups give way on the older models, so the seat could topple and put your baby in a precarious position. If you do want to use a seat or ring to help your baby have a fun and efficient bath, make sure you buy a new model.

No matter what type, year, or model bath seat you buy, the most important thing you can do is to never leave your baby out of arm’s reach in the bath. Water is extremely dangerous to infants, and even walking across the room won’t give you enough time to make it back if he or she slips. Newer seat or bath rings will make slipping or breaking less likely, but they are not bath time babysitters. As long as the seat seems comfortable for your baby and keeps him or her out of the water, it is perfectly safe with proper supervision.

Source: Rose Pastore: New infant bath seat standards approved after 174 deaths. The American Academy of Pediatrics Volume 31 Issue 10 pp. 37 October 2010