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TIPS-tested ergonomic baby baths 2008

I am delighted to be able to bring you the final results of the first TIPS tests of ergonomic (compatible with the needs of the user) baby baths. I have tried to select baby baths and bath supports to make bath time with your baby an enjoyable experience.
Some products will suit your needs better than others. Some will be better adapted to the size of your home or to your lifestyle, so check out the results and I hope you find the information useful.

The following five awards have been allocated
(click on one of the links below to read the full reviews):

Best of the best – Tummy Tub

Best support – Tigex bath support

Innovative – Flexibath™

Eco-friendly – BabyDam

Highly commended – Acqua two stage baby bath

Budget buy – Safety 1st bather sponge + deluxe bath cradle

TIPS to go - follow this link to download a summary of the awards

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You can also find out more about the testing process in the following sections:



Awards

Tummy Tub
RRP: £20
Website: www.tummytub.co.uk and www.tummy-tub.com
Award: Best of the best


This innovative baby bath was overwhelmingly praised by parent testers and their babies just loved the experience of being securely cocooned in warm water.
Every detail of this baby bath has been painstakingly developed with safety in mind: from the smooth wide rim with its easy-grip handles to the non-slip base, complete with rubber strip to ensure perfect stability. Tummy Tubs are manufactured using high quality recyclable plastic which has been thoroughly tested for safety both in Germany and in the UK. This product is available in three transparent shades with an optional two-step stool. This can be used to raise the Tummy Tub, as extra storage or as a toddler step/seat.
The Tummy Tub is easy to use, reduces the quantity of water needed for a bath (great if you are on a water meter or environmentally aware) and is easy to empty and clean. More importantly it calms even crying babies, helps with colic and settles babies ready for sleep.

This is what some of the Testers said::
• The design makes sense when you think how a baby is used to being held
• Water stays warmer for longer than with conventional baths
• No need to splash a baby to keep them warm (which can frighten them)
• Enables you to see and photograph your baby from the side of the Tummy Tub
• Extremely stable due to rubber strip on base
• The added buoyancy (due to the depth of the water) made it so easy to support my baby
• Transparent plastic allowed me to see my baby’s smiles which were priceless!
• How cute he looked, all safe and foetal-like
• Bath time was no longer a chore but pure enjoyment for parent and baby
What more can we say but award the Tummy Tub Best of the best for ergonomic baths.
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Tigex bath support

RRP: £13
Supplied by www.cheekyrascals.co.uk
Award: Best Support

The Tigex bath support is a simple but effective design. It holds your baby secure during bathing, allowing you full access for washing. It comes complete with suction pads underneath and a handy hook to hang it up while not in use. At £13 it is reasonably priced and is available in a wonderful array of bright colours to suit any bathroom. It is compact so is easy to store.
This support is ideal for newborns, who can often be slippery - especially in the hands of first-time parents. An added bonus of this design is how well it supports the baby, leaving parents’ hands free to wash and entertain their little darling. It also allows baby free movement of their legs and arms which seems to be enjoyed by all. The support itself is stable, easy to use, easy to clean and can be used in a baby or adult bath. The only drawback is the amount of water needed to cover the baby’s tummy to avoid cooling down too quickly. However, this will not be a problem in a warm bathroom.

This is what some of the Testers said:
• She was all giggles and smiles, thoroughly enjoying that the design enabled her to kick her legs and splash about
• Something like this would have made bathing a newborn a lot easier leaving me hands free to play with my baby
• Great stability. It looks like it might be uncomfortable but he actually really enjoyed it
• Though more water is required, it might be useful if you have more than one child to add to the adult bath or better still the parent could join in too!
You may not think that you need such a support but Testers really seemed to enjoy the added freedom it gave them. This in turn increased their confidence when bathing their new baby.
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Flexibath™

Tested May 2010 (RT)

RRP: £29.95
Manufactured by:  A Real Cool World®
Available from www.flexibath.co.uk
UK Distributor: www.whitestep.co.uk

Award: innovative

The design of this bath is quite different from others on the market. Designed and made in Denmark by A Real Cool World®, the Flexibath™ has an ingenious folding mechanism, which makes it ideal for people who don’t have a lot of space. It is particularly useful for trips away as it folds flat with a clever locking device. The Flexibath™ is light but strong with smooth edges. It comes in six colours to suit every taste. It is made from safe plastic that is free from phthalates and heavy metals. The manufacturer’s advise that the bath is for babies from 0 to 4 years of age, but some of our  Testers felt it was best suited to infants over six months. This is because from that age, they can sit without being supported and really enjoy using all the space in the Flexibath™ for toys. This helps make bath time even more fun.
Testers found this bath easy to set-up and fill. They also praised the ‘splat’ design of the plug which helped to drain water away quickly and easily. Instructions on pack and online were found to be excellent, as they provide detailed information about safety.
The Flexibath™ is a contemporary piece of design which Testers overwhelmingly agreed was worthy of our TIPS ‘Innovative’ award.

This is what some of the Testers said:

  • The Flexibath™ freed up much needed space on our family holiday
  • It’s good for playing in as well as bathing so can be used for much longer than a conventional bath
  • It folds flat like a cardboard box becoming very compact
  • I don’t have the luxury of space and the way it folds away is excellent
  • The kids love him being in his little bath while they are in the big bath!
  • I still smile when I see just how easily it tucks away
  • It fits perfectly over the sides of the big bath so I dry it upside down

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BabyDam

Tested November 2010 (RT)

RRP: £24
Supplied by www.babydam.co.uk

Tested in November - December 2010

Award: Eco-friendly

The BabyDam Bathwater Barrier is an innovative device which fits most standard bathtubs. With the BabyDam®, you can create a small bathing area in your bathtub in a few simple steps – two strong suction pads hold the device in place when this is being used. The BabyDam® is manufactured with recyclable phthalate free polypropylene. This product would be useful at home and equally useful for trips away. Parent Testers were very positive about the information BabyDam provide on their website and with the product.  The BabyDam is flat and easy to store which is useful if you are short on space. One Parent Tester suggested making the instructions sheet waterproof so it could be kept with the BabyDam. Parent Testers found the BabyDam relatively easy to fit into and remove from the bathtub. They said it was simple to clean. Some suggested it would be useful to have a wall-mounted hook to hang the BabyDam when it is not being used.

With a BabyDam, you use far less water than if you were using the whole bathtub. This is especially cost-effective if your water supply is on a meter. The eco-friendly credentials of this product really impressed our Testers which is why we are pleased to award the BabyDam our TIPS Eco-friendly Award.

This is what some of the Testers said:

 

  • I do love the space-saving element of this product
  • The shape was a perfect fit for our bath and it was very easy to fit
  • The BabyDam was extremely stable, even with a 16 month old trying to escape
  • It allowed me to spend more time playing with my daughter instead of keeping her contained
  • He loved having deeper water to splash about in making bath time more enjoyable.
 
 

 

 

 


Acqua two stage baby bath

RRP: £20
Supplied by www.mamasandpapas.co.uk
Award: Highly commended

This bath provides two integral positions: one suitable for newborns, the other for babies able to sit upright. At first glance it appears to be over engineered but Testers found this dual purpose bath extremely useful. They especially liked the maximum water fill line and the handy trays at the side of the bath (these can be used for toys or sponges). This bath is large and was too wide to fit in some Testers’ adult bath. However, it is extremely stable even when babies try to climb out. There is no risk of tipping or slipping. One Tester even bathed a baby and toddler at the same time and while this is not actually recommended, it seemed to work! This baby bath does need quite a lot of water. It is awkward to empty and store, and therefore more suitable for people who have a large bathroom.

This is what some of the Testers said:
• It looked like the Porsche of baths!
• This has replaced the need for a bath support of bath seat
• It is shaped to fit the baby and make them feel secure and comfortable
• Would have loved to try when our baby was first born
• The design is unusual but works for its purpose
• Our baby could sit up and play independently with her toys without me passing them to her
• It was my saviour when my baby was irritated or fussy as it allowed her to play by herself while I watched
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Safety 1st bather sponge

RRP: £8.49
Supplied by www.lexiconpr.com
Award: Budget buy

This simple and inexpensive design with its cut-out baby shape is ideal for the early weeks of bathing when baby needs extra support when lying down. If squeezed out thoroughly, the sponge dries well and can be hung up so it does not become smelly. The bather sponge would be especially useful as a handy travel bath-aid when space is limited.

This is what some of the Testers said:
• Would recommend it as simple but adequate design
• Quite safe for baby, well padded and no danger of rolling off
• Good support and left baby relaxed
• We took it on a recent holiday and it squeezed nicely in our suitcase
• Easy to clean, just rinse through and not bad to dry
• I was surprised at how well it performed
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Safety 1st deluxe bath cradle

RRP: £7.99
Supplied by www.lexiconpr.com
Award: Budget buy

This is a bath time variation on the bouncy chair with extra padding (for comfort) and a net-type fabric cover that is warmer to the touch than plastic supports. The cover can be removed and machine washed. The support dries easily if hung on the bath taps or even quicker if hooked over a radiator. The solid metal frame and non-slip rubber feet ensure stability but Testers did find that babies could slip down the seat. Some Testers suggested adding a safety harness to solve this problem.

This is what some of the Testers said::
• I like the fact that the cover can be removed for washing
• The fabric seemed springy and supportive so comfortable for baby
• Lightweight design that was easy to move, store and dry
• Fabric is soft and pleasant next to babies skin
• Can be used in baby bath and adult bath so versatile
• She did look very comfortable on it and not at all panicky
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Overview

I would like to thank each supplier for providing the test baths and supports for this trial. Without their co-operation and confidence in the TIPS testing programme, this in-depth study of the best available products on the market today would not have been possible. We sent 42 samples to 27 Testers and asked 28 questions on the feedback form. We expect the information we have collated as a result of our detailed and independent market research to prove invaluable. The strengths and weaknesses of each product have been highlighted through the TIPS testing process. Companies will be able to use this information to improve their products in the future.
I would also like to thank the team of dedicated TIPS parent Testers whose comments and detailed feedback allow the TIPS testing programme to achieve a level of independence and impartiality that is second to none. I hope visitors to the TIPS website find our comprehensive review of the baby baths on offer today useful. All baths are slightly different from the conventional baby bath, all are easy to use, and each has a unique way of making bath time even more fun. Please note that products tested by TIPS are not free or promotional products, but samples for the sole purpose of independent testing. All Testers must agree and sign a copy of the TIPS Award Scheme terms and conditions before taking part in a TIPS trial.

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Criteria

Allocating the awards was done by taking into account the final scores, analysing Testers’ comments and applying the following criteria:

  • Best of the best: this is allocated to products that score highly and are unanimously praised by Testers. The design, ease of use and care of the product are considered, as well as the quality of customer service provided by the supplier and the quality of information given to customers (both on the pack and online).
  • Best support: this is for the support that received the most favourable comments
  • Highly commended: this is given to products worthy of an award, but not best in their category
  • Budget buy: this is given to a product which offers best value for money

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Methodology

Testers received samples with: detailed guidelines explaining exactly what to look for in each product when carrying out the tests and detailed questionnaires with information about price, brand, distributor and any additional instructions.

The following text was included in the testers’ guidelines:
I have tried to source what I believe to be the best products on the market today, but ultimately these are my own personal favourites. My aim was to include baths that:

  • allow parents to hold their babies in a comfortable position, and minimise back strain
  • help babies feel secure and warm during their bath. In my experience, many newborn babies feel exposed in shallow conventional shaped baths.
  • are easier to carry and lift when full of water than conventional baths.

All baths and bath supports in this trial are made from the highest quality materials and all are all designed to fulfill my criteria for safe bath time fun.

The information regarding baby skincare contained in these guidelines is extracted from my leaflet; Babycare back to basics™. This is updated regularly in line with current evidence and the latest Postnatal Care Guidelines (NICE 2006)

I look forward to collating your feedback and comments on these exciting new designs. I hope they will make bath time easier and more enjoyable for you and your baby. Please feel free to tell me exactly what you think, good or bad. This information will be made available to the suppliers. My aim is to provide them with data that will enable them to improve their products for you, the customer.

Please take time to read the following information before you start testing the bath.

Safety first

  • Fill your bath with hand hot water (you can test it using your elbow or add a bath thermometer) to achieve the ideal temperature of between 35°- 37C.
  • Never leave a baby unattended in their bath, not even for a second.
  • Full baths (whatever their design) should never be left unattended while toddlers are around.
  • Things to remember when testing your ergonomic baby bath:
  • Before and after carrying out any baby-care it is very important to wash your hands thoroughly – this remains the simplest and most effective way to prevent cross-infection.
  • Wash your bath before you start testing – this is to make sure it is clean and free from any bacterial residue still present from its last use.
  • A mild solution of soapy water can be used to wash your baby bath. Do make sure it is well rinsed so there is no detergent residue. Alternatively you could wipe down your bath, change area and nappy bucket using Milton solution (30mls Milton fluid in 5 litres of water will last for 24 hours) to keep it free from germs.
  • Make sure the room is free from draughts and a constant temperature (around 18-20°C).
  • Choose a suitable place to stand your bath (you could use the big bath or even the kitchen sink – this is at the perfect height to avoid any strain on your back). Make sure it is on an even surface and preferably close to the water supply (so you don’t have to carry it far and so you have the option to top up with extra water if needed).
  • Follow any instructions for use provided with the bath or bath support.
  • It is worth remembering that water in the deep fill baths (Tummy Tub) is likely to remain warmer for longer.
  • Due to the increased surface area to body mass ratio, a baby is at risk from loosing heat due to convection, conduction, evaporation and radiation. This is why it is important to deeply submerge your baby while at the same time supporting their head above the water! This is to prevent them from swallowing the bath water.
  • Your baby’s first bath will be in plain water. This will help to protect the delicate skin while it is vulnerable to germs, chemicals and water loss.
  • Continue bathing your baby with plain water for at least the first month before gradually introducing baby products. After this period, if you feel the need to introduce products, these should be free from sulphates (SLS and SLES), colours and strong perfumes.
  • Wash cloths should be avoided as they can be harsh. Hand washing your baby, cotton wool (organic is better and chlorine free) or a natural sponge is gentler.
  • A baby comb can be used to gently remove any debris from thick hair after delivery.
  • It is best to leave the delicate area around the eyes untouched. The ears and nose should also be left alone and cotton buds should be avoided.
  • Skin-to-skin contact, even through water, is known to be a wonderful way to provide your baby with extra security and promotes a close attachment that can lead to a happier and more contented baby (Anderson 2004)
  • Sensory stimulation involving warmth, touch and smell (this includes baby massage and bathing as well as skin-to-skin contact) is an extremely powerful vagal stimulant. This causes oxytocic release, which in turn raises the skin temperature of the breast, decreases anxiety, increases calmness and enhances parental behaviours (Uvnas-Moberg 1998).
  • The benefits of skin-to-skin contact cannot be overstated and should be positively encouraged from birth. It not only promotes successful breastfeeding but stabilises your baby’s heart rate and temperature. Baby massage follows on naturally from this and is now widely practiced. It is advisable to avoid nut oils, petroleum based oils, or oils with perfumes, if there is any history of allergies in your family. Choose a properly qualified massage therapist for your baby and ask for their advice on suitable oils (Trotter S. 2008)
  • You may find that your baby enjoys their new bath so much that you use them, not just for washing, but for relaxation too. Please include details of this when you come to write your comments on the questionnaire.

Completing the questionnaire
There are three sections in the questionnaire:

  • The product: in this section, we ask about the packaging, design of the product and quality of information
  • Use of product: this includes questions about ease of use, implications for bath time enjoyment, comparison with more conventional shaped baths, cleaning the bath, whether it helps to avoid back strain for parents during the bath process.
  • Feedback: in this section, you will be asked to comment on your favourite features, suggest improvements, and on whether you believe it provides good value.
  • Awards: in this section, you can suggest an award for the product you have tested

As you can see, there are many aspects of design to assess when testing this seemingly simple product. A well-designed baby bath will fulfil all the needs of parent and child, and enhance the whole bathing experience. A bath must be easy to use. It must be designed to keep your baby safe and warm, and help you, the parent, feel confident. This can only be achieved when manufacturers use top quality materials and pay close attention to detail when designing their products.
I hope you will find these guidelines useful as you test the baby bath.
Thank you again for all your hard work. You can be sure that your independent testing and comments will help to give parents the best and most unbiased advice available.

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References:

Anderson G C, Moore E, Hepworth J & Bergman N (2004) Early skin-to-skin contact for mothers and their healthy newborn infants (Cochrane Review). In: The Cochrane Library, issue 1. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
National Institute for Clinical Excellence (2006). Routine postnatal care of women and their babies. Quick reference guide. London: NICE.
Trotter S (2007) Baby care – back to basics™ TIPS Limited Scotland
Uvnas-Moberg K (1998). Oxytocin may mediate the benefits of positive social interactions and emotions. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 23: 819-35.

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Please note that products tested by TIPS are not free or promotional products, but samples for the sole purpose of independent testing. All Testers must agree and sign a copy of the TIPS Award Scheme terms and conditions before taking part in a TIPS trial.

 

Disclaimer. TIPS Ltd is not responsible or liable for any failings of products that have been submitted for the testing programme. The responsibility remains with the individual manufacturer. Research is constantly changing and whilst every effort is made by TIPS Ltd to ensure the information contained in the guidelines is accurate and up-to-date, parent testers must still be encouraged to seek the advice of their midwife, health visitor, lactation consultant or GP if they have any concerns.

TIPS Ltd© 2008

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Tummy Tub

AW_best-of-the-best_bbath

TummyTub

Tummy Tub logo

Tummy Tub logo


Tigex bath support

 

AW_best_supportTigex bath support

cheeky rascals


Flexibath™ (RT)

AW_innovative-bathflexibath

flexibath-logo


BabyDam (RT)
AW_eco-friendly_bathcompany logo

product photo

product photo


Acqua two stage baby bath
AW_highly-commended_bbathAcqua Two Stage baby bath

mamas & papas logo


Safety 1st bather sponge
AW_budget-buy_bathSafety first bath sponge

safety 1st Logo


Safety 1st deluxe bath cradle
AW_budget-buy_bathSafety 1st bath cradle

safety 1st Logo


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