Here's When It's Actually Safe For Baby To Sit Up In The Bath Tub
Even once they master the skill, some babies need more time before they can sit safely in the tub.
The ability to sit up unassisted is one of the first major milestones of your baby’s life. They may be a bit wobbly until they master the skill, but when your baby can sit up on their own, life gets a little easier. But, when can babies sit up in the bathtub? It would certainly be helpful to keep them from slipping and sliding around, but is it safe to do?
At What Age Can Babies Sit Up Unassisted?
While the age when a baby can sit up unassisted is different for every child, experts say that at some point around 6 months old your baby should be developmentally capable of this skill.
“Most babies can sit up on their own at about 6 months old and are ready to sit safely in a bathtub,” pediatrician and author Dr. Whitney Casares tells Romper.
Until your baby can sit up unassisted, they should remain supported during bath time using a baby bathtub — ideally one with a sloped surface and slip-resistant liner designed specifically for this purpose.
When Can Babies Transition Out Of A Baby Tub?
Once your baby is able to sit up in the bathtub, the next logical step is to transition them out of a baby tub and into the larger, regular tub. Experts say, however, that parents should exercise caution prior to making the jump from a baby tub into the big bathtub.
“Parents should use their judgment when transitioning to the regular tub,” Dr. Sarah Schaffer-DeRoo, a pediatrician at Children’s National Hospital tells Romper. “I recommend looking for the ability to sit without support prior to making the transition.”
Once your baby can sit up without support and you begin to make the transition out of a baby tub, there are several ways to make the process easier on both you and your baby. “Placing the infant tub in the regular tub and using a bath seat are two ways parents can ease the transition for their little one,” Casares says. “Starting with shallow water in the tub can also make the transition less daunting for you and your child. Make sure you keep a hand on your baby at all times when they’re first getting accustomed to bath time in the big tub and never leave your child unattended while they are bathing.”
Your baby may love their newfound freedom once you transition to a regular tub, but this isn’t always the case. Some babies may be afraid of the bigger, unfamiliar space, and like with so many childhood transitions, you may need to adjust your plans accordingly. “If the infant does not like the transition, it is OK to go back to the infant tub and try again in a few weeks,” Schaffer-DeRoo says.
Bathtub Safety For Babies
Regardless of when you make the jump from a smaller baby tub into a regular bathtub, experts agree that your baby’s safety is the most important aspect of bath time.
“Drowning can occur in very small volumes of water and so children should always be supervised in the bathtub,” Schaffer-DeRoo tells Romper. “Caregivers should always have a hand on the baby in case of an event that could lead to drowning. I recommend keeping all bathing supplies next to the bath so that the infant is not left alone for even a moment.”
Being mindful of the water temperature in your baby’s bathtub is also especially important. “Caregivers should also check the water temperature before placing a baby into the tub,” Schaffer-DeRoo says. “The water heater temperature should be set to a maximum of 120 degrees F to prevent serious burns.”
While they aren’t a failsafe, products like faucet covers, anti-slip mats, and temperature gauges can help parents keep babies safe in the tub. The last thing you want is a curious kiddo grabbing a hot faucet or bonking their head on its sharp edge.
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Whitney Casares, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P., author of The Working Mom Blueprint: Winning at Parenting Without Losing Yourself
Dr. Sarah Schaffer-DeRoo, pediatrician at Children's Nations Hospital