Splish Splash, Baby's Taking a Bath.
Aug 29, 2011 (Updated Aug 29, 2011)
Review by Michelle Chelledun
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Good gift for new parents, sling feature works well for small babies.
Cons:"Ocean" theme is a gimmick, baths can be messy.
The Bottom Line:
We've gotten good use out of this tub, but there are many on the market just like it.
Because we live in a home which has only showers, having a safe, sturdy place to bath our infant was a top priority. We registered for, and promptly received, the Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium Bathtub. While our floor is often wet, our baby is always clean, and that's the most important thing!
Recommend this product?
The Ocean Wonders bathtub is available at practically every place that sells baby products. Since receiving ours, we've seen it at Babies ‘R Us, Walmart, and Target at prices ranging from $27.00 to $35.00. For those who simply must have "girlier" gear, there is a nearly identical pink sparkly version available as well.
This bathtub has a mesh insert, aka "infant sling," which is suspended at a level about half as deep as the tub itself. This is the only part of the actual tub that is really "ocean" themed, with a print that includes a whale and some fish. Once baby outgrows the insert, it can be removed to allow access to the plastic tub with or without subdivider to stop a smaller baby from sliding too far down into the tub. The bathtub also comes with a couple of plastic toys for "sprinkling" and whatnot. To be honest, we seem to have lost all but one, and our baby is usually to worried about splashing to be bothered much with playing with it.
This tub, when used with the insert, was absolutely perfect for our preemie. It cradled her cozily, keeping her face above water level while allowing water to permeate through the mesh. This set-up alleviated our various new parent bathtime fears including but not limited to: 1) baby's face accidentally being submerged; 2) baby bumping head on the side of the tub, and 3) being unable to adequately rinse soap/shampoo off of baby. Because Baby_chelledun was initially on the small side, we were able to bath her with the insert in for literally months. Even after she outgrew it lengthwise, we kept using it and just used a cup to rinse her hair.
Once Baby_chelledun was able to hold her head up and sit with assistance, we removed the mesh insert and started using the bathtub alone. While the transition is made very easy by the use of buckles, I feel somewhat less positive about the second phase of use for this bathtub. First, while the plastic subdivider does help keep our non-sitting baby upright and in place, it is also positioned at the perfect spot to give her leverage for kicking and splashing with her feet. Those who are using this bathtub because they, like us, don't have one of their own, can expect a fairly large mess on whatever floor, counter, or other surface the bath is taking place. Second, once the mesh insert comes out, it becomes apparent that the whole ocean/aquarium thing is kind of just a gimmick to charge more for a basic baby tub, as there is nothing themed about the plastic portion.
We anticipate continuing to use the Ocean Wonders tub for the next couple of months until we get a grown-up bathtub installed in our home. Theoretically, one could remove the plastic subdivider to allow the baby more room, but I doubt baby_chelledun will grow so much during this time and/or become a sturdy enough sitter to make this either necessary or prudent.
Finally, I should note that the Ocean Wonders bathtub is bulky enough that some thought should be given to storage before purchase. It does have a hook on the back, but it's difficult for me to imagine where it might hang. It obviously doesn't fit behind a door, and even if you have an overhead bar over a bath or shower, it would need to be moved frequently to accommodate other bathers. The best solution we have come up with is to leave ours sitting in a corner of the bathroom.
Overall . . .
The Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium Bathtub is great for bathing a tiny baby and so-so for bathing a larger infant. In adition, a baby bathtub is a solid gift for first time parents, and a more affordable option than many standard registry items. While this tub's performance has been certainly more than adequate, there are a number of (cheaper) models with a similar sling insert would have suited our needs equally as well.
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