If you purchased an infant bath seat recently, it likely does not meet new mandatory safety standards being put into place by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The new standards will require infant bath seats to have smaller leg openings, be sturdier to prevent the seat from tipping over, and have a permanent warning label that reminds parents that infants should never be left unattended in a bath seat. According to a CPSC investigation, no infant bath seat on the market in May complied with the new rules, which will take effect six months after they are published in the Federal Register. Bath seats manufactured or imported on or after that date will be required to meet the new mandatory standard.

Despite these new design features, the incorrect use of any infant bath seat can result in a child’s death. From 1983 to November 2009, 174 babies died in incidents involving bath seats, according to CPSC data. Children should never be left alone in a bathtub, even for a moment. Infant bath seats are not safety devices and are intended only to aid in bathing, not to restrain or transport a baby.

Babies can drown in only a few inches of water. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that whenever infants or toddlers are around water, an adult should always be within an arm’s length to prevent drowning.

©2010 American Academy of Pediatrics. This information may be freely copied and distributed with proper attribution.