Buyer Beware: Baby bath seats

(National) Feb. 3, 2005 - Consumer Reports is claiming baby bath seats are proving to be more dangerous than they appear, with 120 infant deaths in the last 20 years.

Carolyn Brummel is a pediatric nurse. Her daughter, Amelia, is eight now, but when she was just eight-months-old, Carolyn was giving her daughter a bath using an infant bath seat, "And I was using the product religiously according to the instructions."

Carolyn says she saw some lint in the tub and stood up to throw it away, "And I looked at her sitting in the bath seat, and I said, you know what, she's sitting in her bath seat, she won't fall over, she's safe and secure in her bath seat."

She turned her back for a matter of seconds, "Every time I say this I'm sorry. It was eight-years-ago. You would think it wouldn't upset me still. I turned around and I couldn't see her face. All I could see was the water. And the side of the bath ring. It had flipped."

Carolyn was able to pull her daughter to safety.

David Pittle, with Consumer Reports, says its tests show baby bath seats with suction cups do not adequately secure a seat in place, especially on non-skid surfaces, "These are not freak accidents. These are predictable."

He says until the government does more, the danger will persist, "It is our view, based on our testing, that products of this type should be off the market."

Carolyn agrees, "What happened to me demonstrates that this is something that can happen to anyone at any time, and it has, and it will continue to until this product is no longer in the hands of parents and caregivers. I will still have nightmares occasionally about her drowning."

There is a newly-designed bath seat that clamps onto the side of a tub. Consumer Reports just tested the tub-side bath seat from safety first, but testers found this seat can also tip over.

Safety experts say parents and caregivers should not use a bath seat at all. Instead, wash your baby in a sink or small bathing tub that only holds only a little water. Never leave your child's side.

Reported by Judi Gatson
Posted 6:01pm by BrettWitt

Copyright © 2005 Consumers Union of US, Inc. All Rights Reserved.