Product Type: Safety 1st baby products
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Safety First, Second and Third for Bathtimes!
Safety 1st Swivel Baby Seat
Member Name: jo1976
Safety 1st Swivel Baby Seat
Date: 06/06/11, updated on 10/07/13 (104 review reads)
Advantages: Offers support and reassurance to older babies, easy to use, inexpensive
Disadvantages: Can be difficult to prevent and remove mould from underside of seat
The bath seat is what I would term a 'second stage' bath seat, designed to be used by an older baby who is able to sit up unaided. This bath support is a sturdy but lightweight plastic design with four rubber suction pads to secure the seat into place in a standard bath. Unlike the bath seats designed for younger babies, there is no 'seat' to lie back into for support here so a baby is not immersed in water to the same degree. This style of seat essentially forms a hard plastic ring all around the baby with four chunky plastic supports attached to a circular plastic base. Baby's legs simply fit in the gaps between the front three bars, leaving a column between their legs and behind their back, which prevents them from sliding out forwards or backwards.
Once removed from its box, the seat requires minimal assembly as only a chunky plastic ring needs fitting into position at the front of the seat. This is purely an added extra, designed to offer a little play value as the ring has a few colourful rings wrapped around it. In reality, the rings have a limited appeal. My boys enjoyed tugging at them for the first few times the seat was used but soon became too used to them (and their lack of entertainment value) to pay too much attention to them in the long run. According to the box, the rings on my latest seat are actually 'sea-themed', and closer inspection reveals that these are actually mini sea-horses wrapped around the larger ring. Sadly, this attention to detail was lost on me so I'm sure my nine month old son will be equally as oblivious to the theme!
For safety reasons, the manufacturers recommend that this seat is only used with babies over the age of six months old. Both my oldest and youngest son have been fairly late to master the art of sitting stably, whereas my middle son was quite an early sitter, so he started using this just before he turned six months old as he would no longer lie back in a reclining bath seat. Regardless of the precise age, it is very important that the baby can sit unsupported before moving on to this style of seat as, although it is enclosed, a less stable sitter is likely to slump forward as this seat becomes very slippy in the water and is likely to be very uncomfortable. Even with confident sitters, the combination of a hard wet plastic base and a soft, fidgety bottom can mean that they slide forward slightly. Having boys, I'm only too aware that this can result in delicate areas becoming a little squashed and uncomfortable, so little ones may well need readjusting after a while to avoid discomfort. Generally speaking, once in position they have been fairly comfortable and all my boys have continued to enjoy their baths in these seats and have loved having their legs free to kick and splash about.
Getting baby in and out of the seat is relatively straightforward as it is simply a matter of lifting them in to the seat and maneuvering their legs into the correct gaps. This does depend on the co-operation of the baby concerned, however, as my own experience has proven. My older children loved going in the bath and into one of these seats and would co-operate nicely, helping to position their feet and legs correctly. My youngest son, who is currently nine months old, is far less compliant and tends to try and stand up when I attempt to seat him in this, making the process seem quite fiddly! The base itself can swivel a full 360 degrees (hence the product's name) although I don't actually find that it makes much difference to the ease of use, so this isn't really a feature that I've made much use of. With all three children, getting them out of the seat has proven to be fairly easy. My older models did seem a little rougher under the edge of the ring, meaning that a baby's leg could sometimes rub against it as they were being lifted out. My most recent purchase claims to have been improved and, although it isn't actually specified as an improvement, the underside does feel slightly smoother and more rounded so that is no longer an issue.
The real benefit of using this seat is the reassurance of knowing that my baby is safe and comfortable in the water, leaving my hands free to wash and play with my little one with ease. The seat is sturdy and secure but still no substitute for parental guidance, of course. Having used this particular style of seat, on and off, for several years, I can only recall a couple of times when the seat has become dislodged when in actual use. That was most probably due to either the suction pads being slightly dirty (and not forming a strong enough seal) or the water being too deep. The current design actually features a line to indicate the maximum level to fill the bath too, which I find really useful. There was also one solitary incident when my middle son leaned too far forward in his seat when reaching for a bath toy and this caused the seat to topple forwards (fortunately I was able to catch it before he hit the water!) These rare incidents do help to reinforce the manufacturer's fairly common sense recommendations that no baby should ever be left in this seat unattended (or in the bath at all, seat or no seat, obviously.) For the most part, the suction pads manage to achieve the balance between keeping this seat securely in position when in use, whilst also being easy to remove from the bath after use. There are decent sized tabs on the edge of each suction pad, making it easier to break the vacuum underneath and remove the seat, without requiring Herculean strength!
The life span of the seat is intended to be fairly short, with the guidance suggesting that this shouldn't be used once the child can stand or beyond the age of 12 months. I found my oldest son was happy to move on to a non-slip bath mat at around that age, whereas my middle son actually continued to use his bath seat well beyond that age as he liked the extra reassurance of being surrounded and supported by his seat. He has always been very small and slender for his age, though, whereas a larger child may well find that their legs will no longer fit comfortably within the gaps much beyond the recommended age limits.
My only real issue with the seat is the difficulty in keeping it clean and hygienic after prolonged use. This is an issue with any product that is immersed in water on a daily basis, however. In its favour, the seat has relatively few nooks and crannies where the inevitable black mould can form as the main seat itself is formed from smooth plastic. The underside, however, does have real tendency to collect mould and it is incredibly difficult to keep on top of it, even when allowing the seat to drain thoroughly after each use and wiping it dry. The worst culprits are the holes inside each of the suction pads and inside the swivel base where water (and mildew) can sneak in and linger. That is the reason why I have needed to buy each of my sons a new bath seat each time, purely for hygiene reasons rather than due to any damage to the seat at all. I did attempt to salvage my middle son's seat as I knew that he would have a younger sibling to pass it on to but I wasn't confident that I'd been able to remove all traces of mould so decided to purchase another.
Fortunately, these seats are very good value for money. I paid £9.99 for my latest purchase from Boots.com and had the seat delivered to a local store free of charge. I think that is excellent value for money for a product that makes bath time safer and more comfortable for a little one and, consequently, makes life easier for parents too. As I have bought the same brand three times, it is safe to say that I would recommend this seat for other parents too.
Summary: A great buy for baby