My little munchkin has always loved bath time. His amphibious tendencies bring countless hours of bathtub bliss and have given me an endless source of photo-ops for snapping pics like the creepy mamarazzi I am. When my husband tries to remove Simeon from the bath, I regularly stop him saying “No no no! Hang on! Lemme just get a few more shots…” He’ll roll his eyes, asking if I’ll ever NOT torture Sim with my camera during bath time and the answer is a decided nope. I will never not torture my son during bath time. Because he’ll be little and cute forever. And he’ll always want his mommy around to hang with him and sing songs during his baths. And nothing will ever change and… hold up. Maybe I do have a problem. That’s a post for another day…
l sometimes share these (modest and appropriate) tub pics on Instagram and whenever I post, I get questions from other Spina Bifida moms and parents of children with mobility issues asking about Simeon’s bath seats. So, in the interest of spreading bathtub joy throughout the land, here are the details on Simeon’s bath chairs both past and present.
Choosing a bath seat when your baby/toddler has Spina Bifida or other mobility impairments.
Things to consider:
- Trunk support. All of our children are different but, for many of our kids, mobility issues come with weak or imbalanced trunk control. Because of this, look for a bath seat that will provide some trunk support while letting your child sit up and play. Lots of options are supportive but require the child to be laying down– where’s the fun in that?
- Bum stabilizer. I don’t actually think “bum stabilizer” is a real thing but I just made it up so go with me. Depending on your child’s level of paralysis/lower limb control/etc., their bum might want to slip and slide around regardless of the seat you choose. This was definitely an issue for us so most of Simeon’s bath seats required additional rigging to reduce wobbling. This can be as simple as placing a hand towel or piece of non-slip shelf liner under their behind.
- Safety. Simeon’s trunk weakness combined with his trach made safety a REALLY big consideration for us. We preferred seats that had large bases to avoid tipping or seats that had suction cups on the bottom. Regardless of which seat we experimented with, I always sat on the bathmat by the tub and (when Sim had his trach) I kept one hand on his chair for good measure, since even a quick dunk could be devastating for a trach kid.
- Use the people you’ve got. By which I mean, PT/OT or anyone else with experience. When Sim was a baby, we had his PT look at how he sat in his first bath seat and we made adjustments at her suggestion. She helped us problem solve some of the issues we were having.
Bath seats that worked for us:
- Baby Bath Ring (8 to 20 months)
- All around support so your kiddo can sit up to play without falling into the water.
- Suction cups on the base help with stability
- Little bums definitely need to be stabilized in this one. Sim’s bum would slip forward a lot and he would end up leaning way back. Having all his weight leaning on the back of the seat made it hard to play and tested the strength of the suction cups so he needed to be repositioned a few times each bath. Putting a hand towel or non-slip liner under his bum helped and, as his upper body got stronger, the slipping wasn’t as much of an issue.
- The longer his legs got, the harder it was to get him into this seat since we needed to lower him in and fit his legs through the holes. Still, we had a good run with this seat!
- The Hamper (20 to 24 months)
- All around support for the trunk and less slipping and sliding since kiddos can easily use the holes to grip when sitting up.
- Because the base was so small, there really wasn’t a danger of Simeon slipping down into the water. Great for his trach!
- Nice to use in a pinch when traveling. We didn’t like to travel with his bath ring but we could fill this hamper up with travel supplies and it would double as his bath chair too!
- A toddler could definitely tip this thing over so you have to keep a close eye. I usually tried to keep a hand on the hamper at all times.
- We had to stop using this one because Simeon realized he could spin in circles if he grabbed the edge and spun his patootie around. This wouldn’t have been an issue except that his little feet got stuck in the holes (see photo above) and the holes have sharp edges and those edges were leaving little cuts on his feet that he couldn’t feel. Not good. We probably could have prevented this by adding a towel to cover the holes around his feet but we found a seat we liked better so we just ditched the hamper.
- The Summer Infant Booster Seat (24 months to present)
- Because this is the booster base of a 3-stage set, we’ve used all the parts at different times and it’s been a play seat, high chair, and bath seat for us!
- High supportive back gives trunk support where Sim needs it most.
- Open front means that it’s easy for me to lift him in and out of the seat (no messing with fitting his longer legs through cumbersome openings!)
- The open front also gives Simeon more independence for leaning forward and reaching toys and other items in the bath– something he can do now that he’s older and stronger.
- Seat belt for extra support so I don’t worry about him slipping out.
- Broad base means this thing doesn’t tip.
- Um… I seriously can’t think of a con! This seat has been perfect for Simeon at this age and it travels well, doubling as a booster at the table if needed. The only issue we had was Sim leaning too far forward when he still had his trach. He would sometimes get water on his neck that gave him a little coughing fit.
For my little amphibian, the tub is a fun space where he can splash and play just like any other kid. Tub time is very freeing for him and finding the right seat to make play possible (and safe!) is a big part of that. We’ll keep modifying as Simeon grows and I’ll snap photos as long as he’ll let me. I’ve got at least a few more years of tub photo ops, right?
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage. It also means I dig this product and think you will too.
I would love to hear about other options you’ve been successful with at bath time. Feel free to share links in the comments to bath seats that have worked for your kiddo! Got any bath time tips or tricks to share?