Category Archives: Baby Gear

Texas Nonprofit Helps Parents With Diapers

diaper bank supplyDiapers are essential for taking care of a baby, regardless of whether you opt for a disposable or reusable version. For roughly the first year, a child goes through about five to six diapers per day and often doesn’t need any fewer until the toddler years. Unfortunately, a pack of diapers, even for those financially stable, is considered expensive.

Baby shower guests, for this reason, are advised to bring diaper cakes. Although a colorful centerpiece for the event itself, its effects last after the day is over. Larger, high-quality cakes include anywhere from 80 to 150 diapers, which are a significant help to new parents.

Nevertheless, a large diaper cake won’t last parents more than a month, and from there, what do you do? In the case of a San Antonio nonprofit, diapers are free.

Highlighted earlier in March by local program News 4 San Antonio, Diaper Bank, part of the Hispanic Religious Partnership for Community Health, features floor-to-ceiling baby products, including an ample supply of diapers. All products, including diapers, are free to parents, but the organization occasionally finds itself short on supplies. Specifically, diapers in sizes 3, 4, and 5 are a regular need, as well as unscented baby wipes and unopened formula.

Currently, the organization stays afloat on private grants and donations, but its needs continue to grow. One of the organization’s members told the press: “Over the last two years, we have seen over 8,000 packages go out here, as well as we’ve served over 5,000 children.”

If your area has a similar organization, consider donating diapers, especially if your children are past this stage. If your area doesn’t have such a resource, diapers always make a great resourceful gift for new parents, who are likely in need of essential baby products.

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San Francisco Improves Rules for Strollers on Public Transit

san francisco strollers public transitThey’re bulky, they’re cumbersome, and they’re an unfortunate necessity for all parents. Strollers, particularly larger, stronger models with a harness, are essential, but when it comes to public transportation, they’re a huge hindrance for everyone. Bus, train, and subway passengers have to walk past or over the behemoth, while the parents themselves, in many cases, have to get the child out, set him or her down, and fold up the frame. In many cases, the hybrid model, in which a car seat is actually attached to the frame, is far helpful than standard and jogging strollers, but practically all urban parents can agree that these pieces of gear are a thorn in the side that just doesn’t go away.

In San Francisco, rules for strollers on public transit appear even stricter than in other parts of the country. It used to be that drivers could decide whether or not to let parents with children on the bus. Those admitted had to take the baby out first and then fold up the stroller.

As of March 1, the San Francisco Municipal Transit Association had a change of heart and, in response to parents’ complaints, introduced a new stroller policy. Parents now can bring strollers onto all public vehicles, except cable cars, and are even permitted to use the lift. The child, as well, can stay in the stroller, as long as he or she is strapped in, the wheels are locked, the vehicle isn’t crowded, and the stroller does not block the aisle. If the train is crowded, the driver can ask a passenger to fold up the stroller.

While the stroller itself is still cumbersome during a day out, at least with the new rules, parents will have less difficulty taking their child around town on errands.

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Baby Perfume: Good or Bad?

Dolce Gabbana baby perfumesLast week, news of a Dolce & Gabbana baby perfume set the blogosphere on fire. Such a product’s uselessness, marketing techniques, and safety were called out, but in writing about it, Forbes indicated that this typically-European item is part of a luxury baby products trend, one that grew 8.6 percent from 2000 to ’12 and is predicted to increase an additional 7.6 percent by 2016. Additionally, the magazine pointed out, Dolce & Gabbana isn’t the first to make baby perfume; Johnson & Johnson, Bulgari, and Burberry already have such products.

What does this scent smell like? Honey, citrus, and musk. According to marketing copy, the combination is meant to replicate and enhance a baby’s natural smell: “How can babies smell even sweeter than they already do? That familiar smell associated with babies that melts our hearts will only be accentuated by this Dolce&Gabbana fragrance.”

What’s next? Baby cosmetics to enhance a child’s already-delicate features?

Forbes goes onto highlight the concerns associated with baby perfumes, including a U.S. loophole that does not require fragrance manufacturers to disclose all ingredients. In several cases, according to a 2010, chemical DEP – associated with developmental issues – has been found in perfumes and scented products.

Blog Fashionista, in investigating this phenomenon, interviewed Frederick Bouchardy, the founder of Joya Perfumes. While explaining such products have already been around for several years in Europe, Bouchardy went onto say that adult’s and children’s scents are similarly-designed and meant for bonding: “I think it’s supposed to be a shared experience–mom and child are meant to smell the same.”

The only difference, at least when it comes to European products, is the use of alcohol; baby perfumes typically do not add it as an ingredient. Additionally, Bouchardy pointed out, several baby products already have fragrances included.

Where do you stand on the issue of baby perfume? Is it unnecessary, something parents should be concerned about, or an issue that’s not such a big deal?

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Proposed Calif. Law to Change Baby Products

flame retardant baby mattressesFlame retardants, added to polyurethane foam in mattresses, furniture, and even car seats, have previously come under fire in California before. However, as of February 8, state lawmakers revealed a plan to remove these toxic substances from such products.

Especially for sofas and crib mattresses, flame retardants added to foam eventually leach out, ending up in the dust of a home. Although both adults and children breathe them in, babies have a greater propensity of putting objects in their mouths. As the result of a 2011 study show, babies were found to have three times the level of fire retardant chemicals in their systems compared to adults.

In adults and children, PBDEs – the flame retardant chemicals – are associated with cancer, developmental issues, and fertility problems.

The proposed California legislation is predicted to go into effect later in 2013, but not after more testing. As the Chicago Tribune reported, upholstery, according to Technical Bulletin 117, must resist a hot cigarette. Furniture makers have since explained that toxic flame retardant chemicals not are necessary for this type of safety, and can design products that withstand the 12-second exposure time but not do contain PBDEs. About this, Arlene Blum, a University of California at Berkeley chemist, told the press: “Everybody will be healthier if we can have increased fire safety without toxic flame retardants.”

Parents aware of these hazards have sought out organic baby products. Especially as a young child is known to sleep for 70 percent of its life, a mattress, as well as any car seat or bassinet, is recommended to be as chemical-free as possible.

Naturepedic mattresses have been one of the alternatives in this regard. Without toxic fire retardants added, such mattresses are known to be made fully out of organic cotton, or rubber in some cases. Although more expensive, Naturepedic crib mattresses, with a dual-sided design, guard against infant accidents and last once a child grows older. All such products by this brand are Certified Organic.

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Fisher-Price Baby Seats Recalled for Mold

fisher price baby seat recallThe latest baby products to be recalled by the CPSC are baby seats from Fisher-Price. With the complaint and recall revealed on January 8, CPSC mentioned 800,000 seats purchased since September 2009 can possibly grow mold.

Since the seat came on the market, CPSC received 600 reports of mold on the Rock ‘N Play Infant Sleepers. Out of this amount, 16 children were treated for respiratory issues, such as coughing and hives.

Nevertheless, not all seats have developed mold, and parents are suggested to check under the cushions. As the CPSC pointed out in its report, mold may form between the cushions and the frame, particularly if the seat is wet or not cleaned regularly. Although other recalled products may have a replacement kit to order, parents have the option of contacting the manufacturer for cleaning instructions.

For parents looking for baby seats, keep in mind that the Rock ‘N Play Infant Sleepers are still in stores. Nevertheless, baby retailers often have several options for infant seats, be it for movement and activity, sleeping, or practice sitting up. From retailer Dada Baby Boutique, for instance, options for infant seats range from this Haba Airplane Swing to Moses baskets with stands.

Nevertheless, the Fisher-Price product is far from the only higher-profile baby seat to go through a recall over the past 12 months. As many parents can recall, Bumbo seats, a product designed to help children learn to sit up, has been called out by the CPSC on multiple occasions for fall hazards. Children have been able to slip out of the seats and fall; putting the seat on an elevated surface, such as a counter, table, or sofa, increases the chances of injuries.

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Baby Retailers Likely to be Influenced by Kate Middleton’s Pregnancy

Wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, ...

In the news this past week, Kate Middleton’s pregnancy was revealed. While her birth is future blog post fodder, Forbes predicts it could spike sales of maternity wear and baby products. Based on fashion trends stemming from the Duchess, Forbes isn’t off the mark.

As the magazine points out, the “Kate Middleton Effect” has pervaded high-end fashion since she married Prince William. Essentially, if Middleton is spotted wearing a particular look from a brand, buyers will seek it out, regardless of price. Her choices have further reinvigorated stalling brands. As Forbes points out, her couture doubled profits for Reiss ($6.7 million to $13.2 million from 2010 to ’11), and increased Alexander McQueen’s sales by 27 percent over the same time period.

On the other hand, and many baby blog and pop culture readers will likely agree with this, Middleton and Prince William’s spawn isn’t just another People magazine cover. While sales and interest of celebrity babies have declined in recent years, with the recent Kardashian birth being a particular nadir, Middleton and Prince William’s child has potential to be the future Queen of England, should they have a daughter, as the succession rules have since changed.

Nevertheless, boy or girl, their child will likely be given a significant amount attention by the international media. As we have seen before, stars’ children, such as the Jolie-Pitt brood and Suri Cruise, influence brands and products carried at higher-end retailers. Along with baby blogs and celebrity bump spottings, baby product retailers, as Forbes emphasized, curate their own selection of celebrity-influenced products and brands. If a pop culture blog geared toward babies spots it, the retailer is likely to offer it.

How much of an influence do you think Middleton and Prince William’s child will have on baby retailers? Should we, next year, expect to see certain high-end brands flying off shelves?

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Suggestions for Baby Christmas Gifts

Christmas baby giftsThe holiday season, essentially, starts right after Halloween ends, with Christmas gifts concurrent with turkeys and cans of cranberry sauce. If you’re a new parent or a friend of new parents, you’ll likely be expected to select a gift for a baby or young child, and if you haven’t got a clue about what to get, consider the following suggestions:

A holiday diaper cake is essentially a two-fold gift. On the outside are holiday-themed presents for the infant: a stuffed animal, red and green blankets, and clothes with a similar color scheme. Underneath the holiday trappings are a gift, and a necessity, nearly all parents can appreciate – a large supply of diapers.

An activity playmat is a multi-dimensional play and stimulation station. Infant stimulation has been the rage with educational baby toys, and activity mats of all types offer a textured surface, bright colors, and various items to touch, grab, and hear.

Blankets and throws are always a must. Chenille blankets are particularly soft and luxurious.

Stuffed animals and dolls, especially when a movie and television theme is not involved, are perfect for creative play. Softer toys are a must for infants and toddlers, and the vast options for dolls and stuffed animals increases all of the games and exploration a child can do. For such toys, however, make sure the item purchased is relevant to a child’s developmental level. Stimulation toys may be too simple for a toddler, who, in turn, may be too perplexed by a doll that comes with multiple outfits that’s more appropriate for a 5 year old.

Holiday clothing allows a young child to look special for a day. Although parents, and friends giving gifts, are advised to stick with the basics like onesies and T-shirts, a special outfit here and there is always a nice and fun gift.

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U.K. Father Creates Fastest Baby Stroller

50mph strollerIf you were to move your stroller, be it a standard or jogging model, how fast do you think you would go? For one U.K. father, his stroller travels at 50 miles per hour. Of course, the baby isn’t inside during such a ride.

Reported this week by P.C. Mag, a U.K. father decided to build the fastest baby stroller. Previously, the record was 30 miles per hour. The father, Colin Furze, designed his with a 125cc motorcycle engine, a platform, four gears, and brakes. Determined to beat the Guinness World record, he’s dubbed it the “mega-pram.” Talking about the need for this contraption, he told U.K. tabloid The Sun: “You hear people complain about walking miles to push their new babies to sleep so I thought this would be a bit of fun.”

But while creating this stroller, he realized that it’s not entirely safe for his child to ride. Although, when his child’s old enough, Furze explains they would like to go for a ride on the stroller. He said: “It is really unstable when it goes at top speed and if you hit a rough bit in the road you are in danger of falling off, but so far I’ve managed not to crash.”

While Furze had fun designing this fast, yet impractical, stroller, what options does the average parent have? Parents wanting to remain physically active after the birth of their child are recommended to try jogging strollers. These three-wheeled models are equipped with a suspension system that handles variable terrain better, giving the child inside a comfortable ride. Compared to standard four-wheeled models, jogging strollers are additionally easier for parents to maneuver, be it on a jogging path or track.

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Expensive Baby Products: A Lifestyle Choice?

High end baby boutiqueAs many parents and parents-to-be are aware, baby stores proliferated on the internet over the last decade, selling specialized products, such as diaper cakes and baby shower gifts, affordable options, and more high-end items. No matter how you look at it, the internet has something out there for every parent. But, this past week, Canada’s Globe and Mail called attention to high-end baby boutiques, stating that such products are essentially a lifestyle statement.

The Globe and Mail points to multiple factors fueling the search and display of high-priced baby items. First, unlike 30 years ago, most first-time parents are older, expect to have fewer children over all, and are more likely to spend on the first child. Spending, in this case, isn’t initially about creating a lavish lifestyle, or a façade of one. Instead, such parents want to give their children every advantage.

Aside from the parents themselves, the newspaper points out, the internet presents greater opportunities to research baby products, thus creating a search for the “best,” “safest,” and “most equipped” stroller, car seat, or furniture. The excessive publicizing of celebrity babies during the last decade fuels the need, and even high-end boutiques have their own curated celebrity products based upon what’s picked for Suri Cruise, the Jolie-Pitt twins, or any well-known star’s offspring.

High-end boutiques selections, the Globe and Mail points out, additionally have a trickle-down effect. As a result, mid-priced or big-box retailers, such as Sears and Babies R Us, end up carrying a selection of $1,000 strollers and $400 car seats to meet the needs of demanding customers that, otherwise, would turn to the internet.

Demand for high-end baby products, on the other hand, is more than a trend – it’s turned into a lifestyle for parents with more to spend and greater expectations for their children. Are the higher price tags worth it? According to a boutique owner quoted in the Globe and Mail, “[W]e’re preying on their guilty conscience. The whole industry does it.”

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Bumbo Baby Seats Recalled Again; Offer Harness to Improve Product

Bumbo baby seatParents just love the Bumbo baby seat, but this product, designed to help infants sit up when they’re not physically ready to do so, has experienced its share of recalls and complaints over the years. In fact, the product has officially been recalled twice since 2007, and this past week, to address the latest issue, the South Africa-based company came up with a solution for the fall hazards it presents.

If you can remember, a third recall loomed in February, and the brand, prior to that, had added safety labels to the foam seats. Essentially, the warnings informed parents to not use the product on elevated surfaces, such as tables and chairs. However, because of placement and of babies falling or crawling out of these seats, the Bumbo has resulted in a number of skull fractures. To keep the babies in place, the company started offering a safety harness for the four million products sold.

How do the harnesses work? Once parents request the kit, they can poke straps for the safety harness into the foam seat. For using the Bumbo, the parent will need to strap and secure the baby into the seat, and make sure the product is on the floor. The new addition, on the other hand, contradicts the seat’s original advertising, which touted the lack of buckles and straps.

After the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission analyzed the kits, agency spokesman said: “We believe the straps and the harness will position the babies and toddlers in the center of the seat, which will improve the stability.”

Are you a parent who uses a Bumbo seat? Do you think that, with the warning and new straps, the product’s ease of use is drastically reduced? Have you had any issues with the Bumbo, or do you steer clear of it entirely?

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