Baby bath seats will soon be receiving a makeover. On May 20, 2010, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved a slew of new federal requirements for infant bath seats, the first infant and toddler product targeted by the recently enacted Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.
Set to go into effect by the end of 2010, tougher standards for bath seats include stricter stability requirements to prevent the bath seat from tipping over, tighter leg opening requirements to prevent children from slipping through the leg openings, and a larger permanent warning label alerting parents and caregivers that bath seats are not safety devices and that infants should never be left unattended in a bath seat. Revised standards still call for latching and locking mechanisms and manufacturer compliance with CPSC rules for sharp points and edges, small parts, and lead in paint.
The redesign in bath seats couldn't come soon enough. According to CPSC statistics, from 1983 through November 2009 there were 174 reported deaths involving bath seats and 300 reported non-fatal bath seat incidents. Many of the deaths and incidents involve babies left unattended while bathing.
Mesh or plastic bath seats are used in a sink or tub to provide back and front support to a seated infant while he or she is being bathed. Seats are generally geared towards infants between 5 and 10 months of age—babies who may still need a little support to sit up at bath time, especially during the transition to the big tub.
Bath seats may make it easier to bathe Baby, but as the CPSC reminds parents that young children can drown quickly, even in small amounts of water. Never leave a child alone, even for a moment, near any water. Always keep a young child within arm's reach in a bathtub. And never leave a baby or toddler in a bathtub under the care of another young child.