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Splish Splash Swaddle Bath: COH Grad Makes Hospital Baby Bath Time Better

It’s not easy to be a new baby, especially when bath time is involved. Enter swaddle bathing, which is clinically proven to keep preterm and full-term babies warmer and happier. In one study, it decreased crying by 55%—a much-needed win for parents.

But an infant bathing system specifically built for swaddle bathing in hospitals wasn’t available. A College of Health graduate changed that with the creation of the TurtleTub™ swaddle bathing system, and today it’s used in more than 600 U.S. hospitals.

Swaddle Bath

Dana Denton works as a physical therapist in the NICU and noticed first-hand how swaddle bathing lowered the stress of parents, clinicians and most importantly the babies. She wanted to make the baths better by developing a product that could support the baby, indicate bath water temperature, be easy to clean, and would meet infection control requirements.

Her husband, Marshall Denton, had recently sold his business so they partnered and began developing the TurtleTub system. A medical device entrepreneur, Marshall is a graduate of the University’s School of Engineering and had the technical expertise to work through the development phase and set up manufacturing, distribution, and marketing.  

The Dentons created the first iteration in 2015—one year later, they had their first customer.

“We’re drawing importance to the impact of a bath, and how you can change it to be a more positive experience,” Denton said. “When I’m doing education, I try to emphasize how we can make procedures for infants more pleasant. Research shows it changes the structure and function of the brain for preterm infants.”

Today, the Dentons co-run Catapult Products and have created a full line of products for swaddle bathing. That includes the TurtleTub, which one hospital client calls “our Cadillac” and another calls “a game changer.” The tub can be used for both pre-term and full-term infants and it’s specifically built to support swaddle bathing.

Catapult Products offers the TurtleTub and a larger bathing system that includes swaddle bathing blankets and a mobile bathing cart, for hospitals to trial and purchase. The Dentons are laser-focused on improving the infant bathing experience, so their website also offers detailed educational videos, webinars and FAQs. 

“There’s that moment when you take the lines off a baby and you put them in a bathtub, there’s a calmness that comes over the room,” Denton said. “The baby is happy, and the family is involved, it’s a beautiful thing.”

Dana Denton

Denton almost didn’t end up at the College of Health. She initially majored in mass communications, but that career didn’t resonate once she graduated. Debating between health professions, she decided to work as an aid in a physical therapy clinic—and the rest is history.

She completed a master’s in the Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training and vividly remembers the quality of the education and the professors, including Robin Marcus, PT, PhD. Her classroom experience went far beyond the textbook and encouraged critical thinking and problem solving.

“I felt super supported by everyone, it was such a good learning environment,” she said. “It set the stage of being curious and thoughtful. I felt like I was so prepared and had cutting-edge knowledge.”Today, Denton uses that knowledge to make a difference in the bathing process for hospitalized infants across the nation. She also continues part-time in the NICU at Intermountain Medical Center, working with families and infants at their most vulnerable.

Nothing is typical, but her job focuses on the earliest life-changing interventions, including that first bath.

“I wanted to make a direct impact—that’s why I decided to go to PT school,” she said. “I’m always thinking about what I can do to have the most impact on the long-term development of the child. The experience a baby has in the NICU affects the rest of their life.”

Those life-altering experiences are at the heart of physical therapy, and the Dentons want to ensure the profession continues to be well-supported. 

"We donate to the College of Health as a way to show our support and enthusiasm for the next generation of physical therapists.  We hope to impact the lives of students by helping them know we’re rooting for them and for their contribution to health care."


By Sarah Shebek