The Angelcare Near and Dear bather is incredibly easy to assemble, operate, and transport. Within minutes of the box showing up at my door, the bather was set up and ready for use. The manual included setting up the bather and warnings about leaving children alone while around water; it was simple to understand and not even really necessary as it basically showed how to put the netting over the frame. The entire process only took five minutes, no tools were required, and we used the bather that evening.
It is tall, but folds flatly in half, so storage is not hard. (We simply set ours behind a door against the wall.) The fabric is mildew resistant and dries quickly, but I still prefer not to fold it up while it’s damp, which means coming back to check on it later. The netting, which is also mildew resistant, is good quality, but—just in case—I keep it open and exposed to light until it’s fully dry. Because the netting is removable, you do have the option to wash it.
I do really like the look of the product—the main colors are white and teal, and the base appears to be sturdy and won’t slip in the bathtub. I felt very comfortable with the support of the frame, as the product boasts skid-free legs.
The bather is easy to use; you simply place it in the tub and put the baby in it. The angle allows baby to sit up comfortably while cradling them, much like a rock-n-play. Using a washcloth, you can rinse your baby with the water from the faucet (or gently pour water over your baby using a cup). Our baby didn’t always enjoy her bath (I think she was cold when the water wasn’t on her), but I believe this product is definitely useful in the early weeks of life when sponge bathing is the only option because of the umbilical cord.
I think it would have been nice to have the product be shorter and heavier, so that the bottom of it could be submerged in the water. (Then again, as it is, the bather stands at a height that is comfortable for most adults to use. You don’t have to strain your back by bending over to bathe the baby.)
I don’t know that we will use this bather every day, but it is great to have on hand for travel or at the grandparents’ house because it folds so compactly and can be stored out of sight. It seems like the bather could be use until the child is about 20-25 pounds, which means it is good to have in case you run into a situation where you need it.
The Angelcare brand is known for their safety and high quality, and the price point seems reasonable. I would recommend it to a friend looking for a great way to safely bathe her baby on her level, without having to submerge them in water. (There are instructional videos on how to use the bather, which is a nice touch, as even I searched for ways to keep my baby warmer during bathtime.)
Where to buy online: buybuybaby.com