Save Money on Your Baby’s First Year

by Sandra Gordon on February 11, 2016

Save money on baby's first year

From a car seat and crib to diapers and daycare, little ones come with big expenses. In fact, your baby’s first year or two can total over $17,000 according to the latest USDA estimates. It’s tough to know what this really means until you’re in it. But if you’ll be going back to work, you’ll likely feel the pinch quickly. In 36 states, fulltime childcare is now higher than a year’s tuition at a four-year public college. How can you save money, get the best for your baby, still pay off your student loan and go out once in a while or say, treat yourself to a latte? Here are just a few ways to strategically cutting corners that can add up to big savings.

First save-money strategy: milk your baby registry

Get well wishers to buy everything for you—or at least as much as possible to fund your baby’s first year. But stock your registry as if you were paying the tab. In other words, do your homework to make sure each product on your registry makes sense for you. If in doubt, leave it out. Don’t be afraid to register for big-ticket items, such as an infant car seat, stroller or stroller frame and crib (friends and relatives can chip in together). Add the little stuff too, such as diapers and wipes.

Think neutral. It’s overwhelming to plan for baby #1, but you can save money if you can think ahead to theoretical baby #2 (if you might have more than one child) and register or buy gender-neutral-colored products the first time around. In lieu of pink or blue, think lime green, red, orange, yellow, silver, black, green or gray.

Babyproducts Mom is a big fan of buying new the first time around, then using your own used products for baby #2 and so on (unless there’s a big gap between babies). That way, you can register all of your products with the manufacturer in case of a recall. You know the vintage and the product history and how it has been used, which is important.

Try reusable diapers. If you use disposable diapers—like the majority of parents do even though reusable diapers are becoming more mainstream–you can anticipate spending an average of $80 per month per child, for a total cost of around $2,400 from birth to potty training (at around age 2 1/2). But you can save money by using cloth diapers, which will run you $500 or less for a complete stash that you can use for your next baby too. Today’s cloth diapers, such as Tidy Tots, are almost as easy to use as disposables. (“Essentials” kits for anything baby are often the best deal.) Cloth/reusable diapers are better for the environment too. Even just using cloth diapers some of the time, such as on the weekends, can help reduce your diaper overhead.

Psst! For about reusable diapers and other ways to save on your diaper costs, you can download a free copy of my book, Save Dollars on Diapers by signing up for Babyproducts Mom e-mail updates.

Buy products that multitask. To save money, buy gear that does more than one thing or that can be repurposed now or later. Opt for a diaper pail, such as the Diaper Dekor Plus, which can be converted to a trash can, a Boon “grass” baby bottle drying rack that can also dry your delicate wine glasses, a baby blanket that’s you can also use as a stroller cover and a play mat, a play yard that functions as a mobile changing table and a travel crib and a full-size crib such as the Fisher-Price Lakeland 5-in-1 crib that converts to a day bed, toddler bed, then full-size bed. And go ahead and use your diaper bag after you’re done with it. This Lassig Neckline diaper bag, for example, can easily double as a handbag.

Save money by getting a breast pump for free from your insurance company. The Medela Pump in Style

Get a free breast pump. As a result of the Affordable Care Act, as many as 80 percent of health insurance companies are now covering the cost of a double electric breast pump. Insurance companies don’t have to provide such a premium model for free, but they know it gives moms the best shot at breast feeding success, which ultimately helps reduce medical costs. In insurance speak, a breast pump is considered durable medical equipment.

Here’s how to nab your freebie, deluxe pump, if you have health insurance:

  1. Call your health insurance company to find out what type of pump you can get and the brand options. If you’re not happy with what you hear, ask whether you have to get the “recommended” pump or if you can choose to purchase one that’s “out of network” and submit the receipt for reimbursement.
  1. Ask your obstetrician a prescription for a pump. That’s your ticket to your free pump. You can usually get your prescription before your third trimester.
  1. Call your insurance company’s durable medical equipment telephone number to order your pump.
  2. Watch for your pump to arrive by mail.

That’s it. Then put the pump together before you have to use it, even if you plan to breast feed. Engorgement can make it tough for your baby to latch on, in which case, you may need to do some emergency pumping.

Save money with Sam's Simply Right store brand formulaShop store brands. While breast milk is best, store-brand infant formula is a great option for moms who want to formula feed or supplement breast milk with formula. Infant formula is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Consequently, store-brand formulas, such as Walmart Parent’s Choice or Target’s Up & Up, must be nutritionally equivalent to name-brand formulas, yet cost up to 50 percent less. Store-brand formula can save you up to $600 a year.

Try store-brand disposable diapers and wipes too in the large size package you can find. The 121 count box of Walmart Parent’s Choice cost just 16 cents per diaper compared to 24 cents per diaper for a 117-count package of Huggies. Experiment until you find a storebrand diaper or wipe you like. Online reviews can help narrow the field for deciding if the store-brand diaper is worth try. Customer feedback, such as “great value, meets expectations, better than leading brands,” can offer valuable insider feedback and insights, such as which brands run smaller or larger than expected and which diapers do the job during the day but fall short overnight.

Join your supermarket’s baby club. Many supermarkets offer a free baby club that ties the store’s rewards card to baby product purchases. Baby club card holders save money by receiving discounts for points they earn by purchasing eligible products, which often include diapers and wipes as well as baby food, formula and baby lotion among others. Baby clubs are available at major supermarkets across the country. To maximize savings, use manufacturer’s coupons on baby products when possible while earning baby club rewards.

Make your own food pouches. When your baby is ready for “solid” food, “making your own food pouches will save you roughly $1.60 per day,” says Kristen Ahmer, the creator of the Original Squeeze food pouches. Hey, it adds up. That’s about $50 a month. Fill reusable food pouches with pureed food mixed with breast milk in the beginning. Using a Squeeze funnel saves you from having to spoon it in.

What are you doing to save money during your baby’s first year? Lemme know by leaving a comment on Babyproducts Mom Facebook page or a comment below and sign up to receive e-mail updates right in your inbox.

By Sandra Gordon, copyright 2016 Baby Products Mom

 

 

Sandra Gordon
baby gear author, speaker, blogger and curator at Babyproductsmom
I'm a mom of two daughters and the author of "Save Dollars on Diapers"; "Save a Bundle: 50+ Ways to Save Big on Baby Gear", and the 8th, 9th and 10th editions of "Consumer Reports Best Baby Products." Babyproductsmom.com may contain affiliate links to products I would buy for myself from Amazon, Diapers.com and others. Your click-throughs don't cost you anything though. Still, they make this site possible. Thank you for your support! Also, keep in mind that the information in this blog isn't a substitute for medical advice. Copyright Sandra Gordon Writing Resources LLC.

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What’s the best stroller for You?

by Sandra Gordon on February 3, 2016

best baby strollerWith hundreds of strollers on the market, buying one that you might use until your baby is 4 or 5 years old can feel as overwhelming as choosing a baby name. (Okay, maybe not that daunting. Still, stroller shopping is a big job.)

To narrow the field, start by asking yourself the basics: Where do you plan to use your stroller the most? On sidewalks? On rocky roads? On airport moving walkways? (Ha, ha.) How do you plan to use it—just as a stroller, as a jogger too, as a /shopping cart? (Seriously.) Size–Does the stroller need to fit in the trunk of your car or in an overhead compartment? What’s your budget?

If you don’t have all the answers, that’s okay. But you get the idea. No matter which stroller everybody else has, picking the right one for you is personal. In fact, I’d venture to say that there many of us fall into 11 basic stroller styles. Which style are you? Take my non-scientific quasi-quiz to find out–and make your stroller shopping easier.

Style 1: You’re a wheeler dealer

For you, value is the thing. You want a stroller that gets the job done at a rock-bottom price.

You know you’re one if:

–You’re tempted to borrow or buy a used stroller and call it a day. (Don’t do it. Here’s why.)
–You’ve been known to stretch the limits. For example, you think nothing of reusing coffee K-cups.
–You like the idea of doing your homework before making a major purchase.


Stroller picks for wheel dealers:

Style 2: You’re a safety stickler

You’re on a mission to buy an infant car seat that exceeds government safety standards—and get a stroller to go with it.

You know you’re one if:

–You childproofed your house yourself and you’re considering hiring a pro to check your work.
–You plan to buy an infant car seat with a load leg, such as the Cybex Aton 2, Aton Q, the GB Asana35 or the Nuna Pipa.
–You will be visiting car seat inspection station. Oh yeah.

Nuna Tavo stroller Nuna Tavo

Top contender strollers for safety sticklers:

  • All Cybex models, such as the Priam. They’re compatible with the Cybex Aton 2 and Aton Q car seats, which have load legs).
  • GB Zuzu stroller. It’s compatible with the GB Asana35 car seat, which sports a load leg.
  • Baby Jogger City MiniBaby Jogger City Mini DoubleBaby Jogger City SelectQuinny Buzz and the Quinny Moodd. You can use each of these strollers with the Cybex Aton 2 as a travel system (car seat + stroller) using Maxi-Cosi adapters. The Stokke Xplory is compatible with the Aton Q.
  • Any Nuna stroller, including the Tavo, Pepp, Mixx and IVVI. Each of these strollers is compatible with the Nuna Pipa infant car seat (with load leg). In fact, the Nuna Pipa is compatible with 14 strollers in all. For the Nuna Pepp, you have to buy an adaptor for the Nuna Pipa (sold separately). The adaptor comes with the Nuna Mixx and the IVVI.
  • Stokke Pipa by Nuna.The Nuna Pipa can be used with any Stokke stroller without an adaptor.For more about car seats that exceed government safety standards, read on.

Style 3: You’ve got a passion for fashion

For you, a stroller is a functional accessory, like a handbag or shoes.

You know you’re one if:

–You’d like your stroller to go with your diaper bag or your outfit.
–You definitely want your wheels to look a certain way.
–You’re not just strolling, you’re pushing the fashion limits and the sidewalk is your runway.

Rachel Zoe x Quinny Moodd stroller Rachel Zoe x Quinny Moodd Front View

Contender strollers for fashionistas:

  • Maxi-Cosi Kaia, Sweater Knit Collection. This seat features tailored styling akin a favorite sweater.
  • Quinny Moodd in Jet Set, the Rachel Zoe Collection. The Quinny Moodd, designed in partnership with fashion designer Rachel Zoe, is ultra sleek to complement your look. We’re talking luxe cognac leather, chunky gold hardware, all-black tires and soft basic black and white seat fabric. The Quinny Moodd coordinates with the Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 and a Moodd diaper bag, which are part of the Rachel Zoe collection (sold separately). The collection will be sold exclusively at Nordstroms.com (spring 2016).
  • Bugaboo by Diesel Denim. Its rugged look = sporty sophistication.
  • Bugaboo Chameleon3 Blend features soft brushed polyester tweed fabric and brown faux leather on the handle bars for understated elegance.

Style 4: You’ve got a heart for art/industrial design

For you, a stroller isn’t just a baby mobile, it’s an objet d’art.

You know you’re one if:
–You like it when others say, “where’d you get that?”
–You’re not just buying a stroller and what not, you’re curating your baby gear collection.

Star collection by Edward van Vilet stroller Star collection by Edward van Vilet

Stroller suggestions for artsy types:

Find more artist/designer inspired strollers or strollers with funky fabrics and colors here.

Style 5: You’re fitness focused

For you, having a baby is a great excuse to head outside and walk off the baby weight (or train for a marathon). Parenthood isn’t stopping you!

You know you’re one if:
–You consider a stroller akin to gym equipment.
–You wouldn’t dream of strolling without tracking your steps on your pedometer/Fitbit/Nike+ FuelBand or Apple Watch.
–You’re not just strolling in Central Park with your baby (if you visited/lived there), you’re counting your laps around the reservoir.
–You literally run errands.


Best stroller types of the fitness focused:

  • Summer Infant Evolv (spring 2016): Its durable pneumatic rubber tires are designed to glide smoothly on almost any terrain. The front wheel locks, which is important when taking your baby on a run. The hand brake makes hills easier to navigate.
  • Bob Revolution Flex features include a hand brake (good for hills), swivel wheels and soft rubber foot brake, which is easy on the feet if you’re strolling in flipflops. 
  • Thule Urban Glide; it’s a high-performance stroller for serious runners that can tackle any terrain.

Style 6: You’re street smart

You’re a city dweller who relies on buses, taxis and trains, which means you’re need a stroller that folds quickly and compactly, but isn’t too heavy to lug up and down subway stairs and can scale curbs and manage uneven sidewalks.

You know you’re one if:
–You’ve got a MetroCard/SmarTrip/Bart/Ventra/Metrolink card/ticket.
–You live in or near NYC, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., LA or other public transportation hub and you prefer not to drive (smart), or travel to these cities a lot.


Best stroller types for street smarties:

  • Mamas & Papas Armadillo Flip XT; it’s compact and compatible with Cybex, Graco, Nuna, Chicco and Maxi-Cosi car seats. The Armadillo Flip XT fits in small cars too.
  • Safety 1st Step and Go travel system; It features a truly amazing step-to-open design. You step on a pedal and viola! Open sesame!
  • Any of Graco’s FastAction Fold strollers. Graco’s FastAction Fold strollers feature one-second, one-hand fold.

Style 7: You’re a trail blazer

You live in the suburbs or the country and imagine using your stroller to plow through snow or traverse rocky roads, grassy fields or the beach scene.

You know you’re a trail blazer if:

–You’ve been known to venture off the beaten path.
–You’re a fresh air fanatic.
–For you, parenting isn’t a walk in the park, it’s an expedition.

Stroller suggestions for trail blazers:

Style 8: You’re an adventure activist

Even though you have a baby, you’ve got people to see and places to go. Plus, maybe your job is travel related (and you can bring your baby with) or Grandma and Grandpa don’t live close by.

You know you’re one if:
–You’ve got a stockpile of pre-baby frequent flyer miles.
–You think nothing of taking your Pipsqueak on a plane.


Best stroller types for adventure activists:

  • GB Qbit; folds to the size of hand bag and weighs just 9 pounds (spring 2016).
  • Babyzen Yogo; fits in the overhead compartment.
  • Mountain Buggy Nano; weighs just 13 pounds; compatible with the Mountain Buggy Protect infant car seat (sold separately).

Style 9: You’re a BIG shopper

For you, strolling with your baby equals an opportunity to catch up on errands and stock up.

You know you’re one if:
–You’d don’t need a stroller with a mega basket, you need a cargo hold.
–You’ve been tempted to rent a storage unit.
–Your home has “inventory.”

Entourage-Fully-Loaded stroller Austlen Entourage-Fully-Loaded

Top stroller picks for shopaholics:

  • Austlen Baby Co’s Entourage stroller. Because of its patented design, the Entourage can expand from a single stroller to over 30 different configurations. It converts from a stroller to a stroller and a half to a full tandem stroller, and the ability to store stuff of up to 150 pounds (available spring 2016). Akin to a Costco cart on wheels.
  • UPPAbaby Cruz; features large shopping basket.
  • Chicco Cortina Magic; ditto–generous bin under the seat.

 Style 10: You like to be seen

Even though you have a baby, you’ve still got a passion for the night life, which translates to staying too long at the park (oops!) and finding yourself having to stroll home at dusk.

You know you’re one if:
–You’ve got a funny sense of timing.
–You’ve been meaning to buy a reflective vest.
–You’ve got dark secrets.


Best strollers for seen stealers:

  • Lascal M1 Buggy (spring 2016): The Lascal M1 buggy features solar-powered tires that glow in the dark and headlights.
  • 4Moms Origami: This luxury stroller offers pathway lights and daytime running lights, among other high-tech touches, such as power folding and an LCD dashboard. But be sure to read customer reviews before plunkering down the big bucks.

Style 11: You’re a planet parent

For you, a stroller shouldn’t just be functional. It’s gotta be eco-friendly, too.

You know you’re one if:
–You’ve got a compost bin.
–You plan to use reusable diapers fulltime, even when you’re traveling.
–When your baby’s at the “solid” food stage, it’ll come straight from your garden.

Bumbleride Indie 4 stroller Bumbleride Indie 4

Best strollers for planet parents:

  • Greentom Upp. It’s made from completely recycled plastic and bio-plastic. The fabric of the Bottle Collection is made from recycled drinking bottles. The mattress in Upp’s carrycot is made of organic cotton, flax and wool. In 2016, all Greentom products will be made in the U.S., which means they travel shorter distances from factory to consumer and use local raw materials and American labor.
  • Any Bumbleride stroller. They’re made from Oeko-Tex certified fabric, which is comprised of 50 percent bamboo charcoal fiber and 50 percent recycled plastic bottles.
  • Any Nuna stroller. Nuna uses mindful materials and manufacturing processes so your brood will have a better world to grow up in.

 How do you roll?

Once you have a general idea of your stroller style (it could be a combo of several styles), create a list of stroller styles you want to check out. Then take floor-model strollers for spin around the store, just to get a feel for them, even if you ultimately plan to buy online or plan to add them to your baby registry. Practice opening and closing a stroller. Adjust the back rest and the handlebars (for everyone’s height), apply the rear and hand brakes (if there is one) and stick stuff in the storage basket to make sure the basket doesn’t drag on the ground (deal breaker). Then, do the whole thing again with strollers you’ve short listed. Then, go ahead and commit.

In general, for first-timer parents: Baby Products Mom favors at least trying the value-driven wheeler dealer route. Why? 1) Cost: When you’re gearing up from scratch, you’ve got lots of decisions to make. Buying a stroller frame is one less  major decision to make and it’s relatively inexpensive. For $85 to $130, you can turn your baby’s infant car seat into a bonafide stroller, without committing to a stroller you’ll have to use for years.
2) Timing: When you start out with a stroller frame stroller, you’ll buy yourself 9 (or so) months to pick out your next-stage stroller after you’ve had a little parenting under your belt. You’ll have a clearer idea of what you’ll need in a next (and possibly last) stroller after you’ve been strolling for a few months. In short, you’ll be less likely to make a costly mistake.


 Stroller Frame Carriers at Amazon

Rollover to see current standard prices and click through to product page to see any deals currently available. 

Product List Price
Graco Snugrider Elite Stroller and Car Seat Carrier, Black 2015 $99.99
Chicco Keyfit Caddy Stroller Frame $99.99
Maxi-Cosi Maxi Taxi Stroller, Black $129.99
Baby Trend Universal Double Snap-N-Go Stroller Frame $99.99
Baby Trend Snap N Go FX Universal Infant Car Seat Carrier Stroller Model: (Newborn, Child, Infant) N/A
Graco SnugRider Elite Stroller and Car Seat Carrier, Black $99.99
Baby Trend Snap-N-Go EX Universal Infant Car Seat N/A

 

What this helpful? Lemme me by leaving a comment on Babyproducts Mom Facebook page or  sign up to receive e-mail updates right in your inbox.

By Sandra Gordon, copyright 2016 Baby Products Mom

 

 

Sandra Gordon
baby gear author, speaker, blogger and curator at Babyproductsmom
I'm a mom of two daughters and the author of "Save Dollars on Diapers"; "Save a Bundle: 50+ Ways to Save Big on Baby Gear", and the 8th, 9th and 10th editions of "Consumer Reports Best Baby Products." Babyproductsmom.com may contain affiliate links to products I would buy for myself from Amazon, Diapers.com and others. Your click-throughs don't cost you anything though. Still, they make this site possible. Thank you for your support! Also, keep in mind that the information in this blog isn't a substitute for medical advice. Copyright Sandra Gordon Writing Resources LLC.

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Not ready for winter? Check out this cool baby gear

by Sandra Gordon on January 23, 2016

When the temperature dips and the snow flies, there’s nothing better than snuggling up inside with your little one. But when a caramel macchiatto calls your name–or you just need to get somewhere–sometimes you gotta head out. Are you ready? This mini winter gear guide can help you brave the elements with your baby.

Winterize your baby’s ride. If you live in a seriously snowy climate, you’re a candidate for an all-terrain stroller, such as the Stokke Trailz. Large, air-filled rubber tires are the key for plowing through the white stuff and maneuvering through snowy streets and paths. The Trailz also features an oversized waterproof shopping basket, which is strong selling point for any stroller.

 Warm up your baby’s walk. It’s easier to trek through crowded stores and push a grocery cart with a strap-on carrier than it is a stroller. But when you get outside, some infant carriers are more weather worthy than others. The Lascal M1 Carrier features a built-in hood to block the wind and driving snow. If you have or are considering a Baby Bjorn, adding a cover can help keep your baby toasty.

 These stroller gloves keep themselves handy. Never lose your gloves again! Micro-fleece-lined Polar WarMMuffs attach to any stroller handle or cross bar with hook and loop fasteners.

Cozy up the crib a little. When it comes to your baby’s crib, bare is always best. A wearable blanket, like the Halo SleepSack in winter weight, is a safe and cozy substitute for a crib comforter or blanket. Never use an electric blanket in your baby’s crib or a heating pad. Keep the temperature in your baby’s room between 68 and 72 degrees F, too. A simple thermometer, like the Dreambaby Room & Baby thermometer, can help you keep tabs on air and bath water temp.

Give your baby’ s infant car seat a coat. Big DON’T: Bundling up your child in a thick, bulky winter coat or snowsuit, then strapping him into his infant car seat because bulky clothes can change the car seat’s effectiveness. In the event of a crash, the harness might not be snug enough to do its job.

Big DO: Before heading out to the car, bundle up your baby in the house with an infant car seat cover or warming boot that’s been crash-tested and approved by the manufacturer of your baby’s infant car seat. (In other words, don’t buy just any car seat cocoon unless you’ll only be using it when you’re strolling.) The Britax B-Warm Insulated Infant Car Seat Cover, for example, has been crash tested and approved for all Britax infant car seats, which includes the B-Safe 35 and B-Safe 35 Elite.

But…recall alert. If you bought a Britix B-Safe 35 or B-Safe Elite between November 2014 and January 2016 at Babies R Us, buybuyBaby, Target and other stores nationwide or online at Amazon or Diapers.com, be sure to visit www.bsafe35recall.com. The handle on these seats can break, which prompted a recall. Britax will send you a free repair kit. Don’t use the handle until you get the repair kit. But you can continue to use the car seat when it’s secured in a vehicle or on a stroller.

More Winter Car Seat Dos, Don’ts
If you can’t find an infant car seat cover or foot muff that’s been approved by the manufacturer of your baby’s infant car seat, do dress your baby in a thin jacket and winter hat and gloves. Then, warm up the car and put your baby in her infant car seat and secure the harness. Then, snap the infant seat into the base in your car and tuck a blanket around her so it doesn’t interfere with the harness. Don’t put the blanket near your baby’s head (radar: suffocation hazard).

What this helpful? Lemme me by leaving a comment on Babyproducts Mom Facebook page.

By Sandra Gordon, copyright 2016 Baby Products Mom

Sandra Gordon
baby gear author, speaker, blogger and curator at Babyproductsmom
I'm a mom of two daughters and the author of "Save Dollars on Diapers"; "Save a Bundle: 50+ Ways to Save Big on Baby Gear", and the 8th, 9th and 10th editions of "Consumer Reports Best Baby Products." Babyproductsmom.com may contain affiliate links to products I would buy for myself from Amazon, Diapers.com and others. Your click-throughs don't cost you anything though. Still, they make this site possible. Thank you for your support! Also, keep in mind that the information in this blog isn't a substitute for medical advice. Copyright Sandra Gordon Writing Resources LLC.

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Buy buy baby infant car seats

Shopping for your baby’s first car seat is head spinning. The types! The styles! The cool colors, such as “blackberry,” “night” and “sand”!  To save your sanity in the car seat aisle, here’s a smart and safety-minded shopping strategy I suggest that can narrow the field considerably: Choosing an infant car seat with a load leg.

A load leg, a.k.a. a foot prop or stability leg, is a popular feature on European car seats and fortunately, it’s gaining ground in the U.S. too. If I were doing it all over again, I’d definitely checkout an infant car seat with a load leg.

4250183791714-OnBase-Profile

What is a load leg?

A load leg is a steel-enforced rod that’s attached to the infant car seat base. It affixes the infant car seat base to the floor of your car. After you install the legged base, you kinda forget about it. But if you ever get into a crash, the load leg hunkers down.

It provides added stability in a front collision. In that type of crash, which is the most common, government safety standards allow an infant car seat to rotate downward up to 73 degrees. (Picture a rear-facing infant seat rocking forward, toward the back of a car’s back seat.) “But we really don’t want the car seat to move at all,” says Bob Wall, a car seat safety technician instructor and the global advocate for Wonderland Nuna, in Middletown, Virginia.

According to Nuna’s internal testing, a stability/load leg helps keep a car seat planted by distributing the force of a crash by up to 90 percent. Crash forces get diffused through the seat and the frame of your vehicle, to help keep the seat fixated, which protects your baby’s head and spinal cord from injury. “The less motion, the better for your child,” Wall says.

The safety back story: All car seats sold in the U.S. must meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 213, which protects your child in the event of a front collision. U.S. car seats must provide this baseline of safety. Car seat manufacturers  “self-certify” to meet FMVSS 213 by doing their own in-house testing. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducts spot checks. They’ll buy brand new seats off the market and test them in their own facilities to make sure seats are compliant. Although there’s no U.S. federal safety standard for the load leg, car seats with a load leg are tested to meet FMVSS 213 with and without the load leg.

Infant Car Seats with Load Legs—Your Options

GB Asana35 AP Infant Car Seat_Firm Fit Load Leg_3000 GB Asana35 with zee load leg

 

There are currently four infant car seats on the U.S. market with a load leg: The Cybex Aton 2 and Aton Q, the Nuna Pipa and the GB Asana35. (Just fyi–GB is a new international brand that Goodbaby launched in 2014. Goodbaby used to just be a manufacturer of many baby products. But now, its launched GB, its own brand. Goodbaby also recently purchased Cybex and Evenflo.) The Cybex Cloud Q and Cloud Q Plus, which also have a load leg, are coming in spring 2016.

Bonus:

  • The Nuna Pipa is just 7.7 lbs. It’s one of the lightest infant car seats on the market, which makes toting your tot around a lot easier.
  • The Cybex/GB Aton 2, Aton Q and Cloud Q (which reclines flat, turning the seat into a carrycot) offer linear side-impact protection (L.S.P.) system. It’s designed to absorb more of the energy of a side-impact collision, which is less common than frontal collisions but often more deadly. The innovation is a small plastic wing on both sides of the car seat, which you’ll engage if your child’s car seat is installed in the outboard, by-the-door positon. (The Asana35 does not have L.S.P.)To activate the L.S.P. system, you’ll simply flip out the wing on the side of the car seat near the car door after clicking the car seat into its base.You don’t need the L.S.P. system if you install the car seat in the rear center seat, which is technically the safest seat in the house. The plastic wing transfers the energy of a side crash into the shell of the car seat so a baby isn’t jostled around so much. Cybex safety testing found the L.S.P. system increases safety by 40 percent in a side-impact collision.

Car Seat/Stroller Compatibility

I’m a big fan of teaming your baby’s infant car seat with a basic stroller frame, such as the Baby Trend Snap N Go Universal Infant Car Seat Carrier Stroller. But that’s car seat shopping strategy #2, which I’ll cover in another post because…the Nuna Pipa, the Aton 2 and Aton Q aren’t compatible with the Snap N Go. The official word from both Cybex and Nuna is that they haven’t tested their car seats with the Snap N Go, according to the ASTM travel system safety standards.

But the Aton 2 is compatible with all Cybex strollers. You can also use it as a travel system (car seat + stroller) using Maxi-Cosi adapters with these strollers: Baby Jogger City Mini, Baby Jogger City Mini Double, Baby Jogger City Select, Quinny Buzz and the Quinny Moodd and Stokke Xplory. The Aton Q is compatiable with all Cybex strollers, including Cybex’s Priam (pricey) stroller frame. The GB Asana35 is compatible with the GB Zuzu. Together, the two retail for around $430, which is a good buy for a load-legged car seat and stroller.

A Cybex stroller 

The Nuna Pipa is compatible with 16 strollers, including the Pepp, Mixx and IVVI Nuna strollers. For the Nuna Pepp, you have to buy an adaptor for the Nuna Pipa (sold separately). The adaptor comes with the Nuna Mixx and the IVVI. Nuna has also partnered with Stokke. Its Stokke Pipa by Nuna car seat can be used with any Stokke stroller without an adaptor.

Bottom line: If there be a downside to buying an infant car seat with a load leg it’s that you’re locked into a fairly high-end stroller (over $180 and up) from the get-go if you want to transform an infant car seat into your baby’s first stroller, which is a good idea. Overall, there are lots of safe car seats on the market. If you decide to go the load-leg route and opt for a Cybex Aton 2, Aton Q (or Cloud Q when it’s available in the U.S.), the Nuna Pipa or the GB Asana35, which are all premium seats ($249.99 on up), and a compatible stroller, put it all on your baby registry. If you’re paying the tab yourself, watch for a sale and consider it a good investment in your baby’s safety.

Shopping for a car seat with a load leg? Here are your Amazon options

Product List Price
Goodbaby GB Asana35AP Infant Car Seat Sterling N/A
Cybex Aton 2 Infant Car Seat - Autumn Gold $299.95
Cybex Aton Q Infant Car Seat - Ocean N/A
Sandra Gordon
baby gear author, speaker, blogger and curator at Babyproductsmom
I'm a mom of two daughters and the author of "Save Dollars on Diapers"; "Save a Bundle: 50+ Ways to Save Big on Baby Gear", and the 8th, 9th and 10th editions of "Consumer Reports Best Baby Products." Babyproductsmom.com may contain affiliate links to products I would buy for myself from Amazon, Diapers.com and others. Your click-throughs don't cost you anything though. Still, they make this site possible. Thank you for your support! Also, keep in mind that the information in this blog isn't a substitute for medical advice. Copyright Sandra Gordon Writing Resources LLC.

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Decoding Your Baby’s Cough

by Sandra Gordon on January 14, 2016

DABn7ni8UO4When your baby has a cough, it’s hard to know what to do. Should you call the doctor? Give her medicine? Do nothing?

The inside story: “A cough is the body’s way of clearing and protecting the airways from irritating mucous and other secretions,” says Charles Shubin, M.D. It serves a valuable purpose. Yet coughing can also clue you in to the nature of your child’s illness.

What does your baby’s cough mean? Use this doc-approved guide to figure out what’s worrisome and what’s not based on your baby’s sound effects.

COUGH CLUES: A distinctive, shrill, dry, seal-like bark, which frequently starts in the middle of the night. “The sound is unlike any cough you’ve ever heard before,” says pediatrician Mark Widome, M.D., author of Ask Dr. Mark.
Other symptoms: Your child’s illness follows a circadian rhythm: better during the day, worse at night. She may have a slight fever. In severe cases, your child may develop stridor, a harsh, high-pitched sound every time she inhales—similar to the noise kids make after a long crying jag.
Likely culprit: CROUP, a contagious wintertime viral infection that causes the throat and windpipe to swell and narrow. It typically affects kids between 6 months and 3 years.
Dr. Mom/Dad to-do tactics/croup:
–Sit with your child in a steamy bathroom for five minutes; the humidity will help move mucus from her lungs and calm her cough.

–After that, bundle her up in warm pajamas, such as a sleep sack and “take her out into the cool night air for a few minutes or open the freezer in the kitchen and have your child breathe in the frigid air,” says pediatrician Bonnie Kvistad, M.D. The combination of steam then cool air can help reduce airway inflammation.

–At bedtime, run a cool-mist humidifier in the room; the cold, moist air may reduce airway swelling as well. Call your doctor right away if your baby is less than 2 to 3 months old, her cough worsens or she’s having trouble breathing. She may need medicine to reduce inflammation. Otherwise, croup often runs its course in three to four days.

COUGH CLUES: A wet or dry, hacking cough without wheezing or fast breathing, day or night.
Other symptoms: Sneezing, a runny nose, watery eyes, and a mild fever (usually less than 101.5 degrees F).
Likely culprit: COMMON COLD, a viral infection of the nose, sinuses, throat, and large airways of the lungs. Coughing usually lasts the entire length of the cold (about seven to ten days) but can linger twice as long, with mild improvement each day.
Dr. Mom/Dad to-do tactics/cold:
–Keep your baby’s nasal passages as clear as possible; congestion and postnasal drip worsen his cough. Use a cool-mist humidifier in the nursery to help moisten airways to reduce the coughing caused by post-nasal drip.

–Blow your baby’s nose for him with nasal saline drops and a nasal aspirator. Or, better yet, use the Nose Frida Snot Sucker, which you’ll place against your baby’s nose (not inside the nostril) to suction a runny nose. (It’s easier to clean and use than a traditional nasal aspirator.)

–Children’s Tylenol or Ibuprofen can keep him comfortable if he has a fever. Be sure to check with your doctor for the exact right dose. To administer just the right amount, the Pacidose can help. Developed by Agnes Scoville, MD, the Pacidose has a soft nipple just like a pacifier that attaches to a standard, pharmacy-calibrated oral syringe for precise measurement.

–If your child’s cough and stuffy nose persist for more than 10 days without improving, see your pediatrician. Your baby could have asthma, allergies or even enlarged adenoids, which inhibit breathing. Older kids could have sinusitis (a bacterial infection that’s often brought on by a cold).

Shopping for a humidifier?


Checkout these bestselling humidifiers on Amazon



COUGH CLUES:
Dry, hacking coughing fits—as many as 25 coughs in a single breath. When your child inhales sharply to catch her breath, she makes a high-pitched whooping sound.
Other symptoms: Before the cough starts, your child has a week of cold-like symptoms but no fever. In infants, the illness can be severe and cause mucus to bubble from the nostrils. It can also lead to convulsions and make a baby stop breathing if she gets tired.
Likely culprit: WHOOPING COUGH (also known as pertussis), a highly contagious bacterial infection of the throat, windpipe and lungs. Babies routinely get their pertussis shots 2, 4, and 6 months and additional booster at 15 months and again between 4 and 6 years. Children who haven’t received their full immunizations are most vulnerable. Adults can carry the virus and unwittingly pass it onto infants.
Dr. Mom/Dad to-do tactics/whooping cough:
–See the pediatrician if your child’s cough worsens instead of getting better after a week. Babies usually need to be hospitalized to control the cough and have mucus suctioned from their throat.

The illness is treated with antibiotics, though the cough can last for many weeks or even months. “Whooping cough is very contagious so children who are not fully immunized who have been in contact with somebody with whooping cough should see their pediatrician. They may be given prophylactic antibiotics,” Dr. Kvistad says.

COUGH CLUES: A wheezy, crackly, persistent cough after your child eats. Coughing episodes typically worsen when she’s lying down.
Other symptoms: She may feel a burning sensation or may vomit or belch when swallowing. A baby might be fussy or have been labeled as colicky. Toddlers may develop wheezing and picky eating habits.
Likely culprit: GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), caused by a weak or immature band of muscle between the esophagus and stomach that allows acid to flow back up. Sometimes the irritating juices can enter the lungs, causing a chronic cough.
Dr. Mom/Dad to-do tactics/GERD:
–See your pediatrician if your child’s wheezy cough lasts longer than two weeks. He may recommend keeping your baby upright for at least 30 minutes after feedings and elevating the head of her mattress while she sleeps. Prescription medicine can also control GERD symptoms.

COUGH CLUES: A phlegmy or wheezy cough that’s often accompanied by fast, shallow, or difficult breathing.
Other symptoms: Your child starts out with cold symptoms, such as sneezing or a stuffy or runny nose, that last about a week, and may develop a fever up to 103 degrees F. He’s lethargic and makes a wheezing sound when he exhales.
Likely culprit: BRONCHIOLITIS, an infection of the tiny lower airways in the lungs called bronchioles. It’s usually caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
Not to be confused with bronchitis (a frequent upper-respiratory infection in older kids and adults), bronchiolitis is common among babies and toddlers. “RSV is different than the common cold, but it’s not pneumonia.
Almost all kids will get a bout of it by age 2,” says Paul Checchia, M.D., an RSV specialist. RSV typically runs its course in five to seven days. But kids can get RSV year after year because the body doesn’t build immunity to the virus. The virus can stay alive on surfaces for hours. “You can’t put your child in a bubble so the best you can do to avoid infection is wash your hands often,” Dr. Checchia says. If soap and water isn’t available, hand sanitizer will do.
Dr. Mom/Dad to-do tactics/bronchiolitis:
–Call your pediatrician right away if your little one seems to be struggling to breathe or is too irritable to eat or drink. Infants with bronchiolitis sometimes need to be hospitalized to receive oxygen treatment.

–If your child’s symptoms are mild (a wheezy cough without breathing trouble), blow his nose for him with a Nose Frida Snot Sucker.

–Put a cool-mist humidifier in his room to help loosen mucus in his lungs, and make sure he drinks plenty of fluids (for infants–that means breast milk or formula).

COUGH CLUES: A persistent cough that’s often whistling or wheezy, lasts longer than ten days, and worsens at night or after your child exercises or is exposed to pollen, cold air, animal dander, dust mites, or smoke.
Other symptoms: Your child is wheezing or has labored, rapid breathing.
Likely culprit: ASTHMA, a chronic condition in which small airways in the lungs swell, narrow, become clogged with mucous, and spasm, making breathing difficult. Common asthma triggers include environmental irritants, viral infections, and exercise. “Children with asthma, in essence, have sensitive lungs,” says Dr. Widome. In mind asthma cases, a chronic cough may be the only symptom, Dr. Widome says.
Dr. Mom/Dad to-do tactics/asthma:
–See your doctor and mention any family history of allergy, asthma, or eczema, which can increase your child’s likelihood of the disease.

COUGH CLUES: A mildly hoarse, throaty cough that comes in frequent spells and can be either wet or dry.
Other symptoms: Your child feels listless; older children may complain that their throat is scratchy and sore, their head hurts, and the muscles in their back and legs ache. He may also have a runny nose, fever, and nausea.
Likely culprit: FLU, a viral respiratory illness that’s most common from November through April.
Dr. Mom/Dad to-do tactics/flu:
–Call your doctor if your child has a fever above 101.5 degrees F, is throwing up, has diarrhea, or is uninterested in eating or drinking (your doctor will recommend steps to prevent dehydration).

–Give your child plenty of fluids, and use a humidifier to congestion in his airways.

–To ward off future bouts of the flu, ask your pediatrician about getting your child an annual flu shot; it’s recommend for children 6 months of age and older.

Hot News: High Tech Temp Takers

Fever Frida Fever Frida

A recent study underscores that rectal thermometers remain the gold standard for measuring your baby’s body temperature, especially for infant 3 months of age or younger, which is an important vital sign. A fever is 100.4 degrees F or higher. But if taking a rectal temp isn’t in your job description, the latest thermometers, such as the Temp Traq, Infanttech SmartTemp and Fever Frida–make taking your baby’s temperature whole a lot easier because they’re wearable.

How wearable thermometers work: They contain a sensor that continuously monitors your baby’s body temperature for 24 hours . They’re powered by a flexible battery and use wireless 4.0 Bluetooth technology to communicate with your mobile device through a free app (such as the Temp Traq app, the Infanttech SmartTemp app or the FeverFrida iThermometer app). If your baby’s temperature rises above a pre-determined level, you get high-temp alerts on your smart phone (iPhone or Android)

Using a wearable thermometer is easy.

Here’s the gist:

1. Press the start button on your phone to activate the thermometer and connect it to its corresponding free app.

2. To apply a wearable thermometer, stick the flexible patch thermometer under your baby’s arm. It’s similar to a Bandaid. It will monitor your baby’s temperature every 10 seconds for 24 hours.

3. Stay in range. You’ll need to stay within 40 feet of your baby to receive and review data on your phone or iPad.

4. Share your data if you want to with the pediatrician. TempTraq, Fever Frida and Infanttech SmartTemp wearable thermometers allow you to e-mail your baby’s body temperature trending data to your pediatrician.

More to Know:

Accuracy is an issue with any thermometer.

–Temp Traq has been vetted by researcher at Akron Children’s Hospital. Each TempTraq thermometer is single use and disposable. It’s a one-shot deal. TempTraq is FDA approved as a medical device.
–Infanttech’s SmartTemp thermometer has a battery with a three-year life; no charging is required. The adhesive patches that hold the SmartTemp thermometer in place are disposable. 10 adhesive package come in the complete package and they’re not sold separately, to date.
–Fever Frida is endorsed by Boston Children’s Hospital. The thermometer comes with five adhesive bandages. Additional Fever Frida adhesive patches are available.

Pros: With a wearable thermometer, there’s no need to wake your baby up to take her temperature.
Cons: These wearable wireless devices may possibly expose your baby to radiofrequency (RF) energy. Right now, RF energy is presumed to be safe. Still, before buying any wireless wearable product for your baby, the possible risks should be on your radar. Here’s some suggested, required reading. Read this too, from Consumer Reports.


Just FYI--Besting Selling Infant Thermometers on Amazon


 

For more on how to take your baby’s temperature and what to do if your baby has a fever, check out this info and video from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

What this helpful? Lemme me by leaving a comment on Babyproducts Mom Facebook page.

By Sandra Gordon, copyright 2016 Baby Products Mom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sandra Gordon
baby gear author, speaker, blogger and curator at Babyproductsmom
I'm a mom of two daughters and the author of "Save Dollars on Diapers"; "Save a Bundle: 50+ Ways to Save Big on Baby Gear", and the 8th, 9th and 10th editions of "Consumer Reports Best Baby Products." Babyproductsmom.com may contain affiliate links to products I would buy for myself from Amazon, Diapers.com and others. Your click-throughs don't cost you anything though. Still, they make this site possible. Thank you for your support! Also, keep in mind that the information in this blog isn't a substitute for medical advice. Copyright Sandra Gordon Writing Resources LLC.

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The Buzz on Wearable Baby Monitors

by Sandra Gordon on January 8, 2016

Roughly 3,500 children under age 1 die suddenly and unexpectedly in the U.S. each year from unknown causes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The latest generation of baby monitors promise to help reverse this trend.

For Stephanie Sjogren, a 32-year-old medical billing and coding specialist from Bristol, Connecticut, those statistics recently hit close to home. When her son, Andrew, was just eight weeks old, he stopped breathing while he was sleeping. Sjogren found out because the baby monitor Andrew was wearing, woke her up.

Waank. Waank. Waank. At first, Sjogren, who had been sleeping in bed next to her son’s bassinet, wondered what the strange sound was. Was the monitor malfunctioning?

DABnZ8ItHs4In the dark, she could make out that Andrew’s tiny arm was oddly bent. When Sjogren picked Andrew up, he arched and didn’t make any noise. “I turned on the light and noticed that he had formula all over him, including in his nose,” she says. Baby Andrew’s pediatrician had put him on a special, thick formula for preemies designed to promote weight gain. Andrew had had a feeding before bedtime.

In a second, Sjogren realized what was happening: Andrew was suffocating on regurgitated formula.

“In what felt like hours but was probably only seconds, I ran for the nasal aspirator and sucked the formula out of his nose,” she says. Then, Andrew let out an eerie cry, “like he was terrified and relieved at the same time,” his mother says, “like I was rescuing him from drowning.”

Close Call 

When Sjogren recounted the incident to Andrew’s pediatrician, he explained that infants aren’t inherent mouth breathers. If their nose is clogged, they don’t know to breathe through their mouth. The good news is that Andrew survived and he’s doing great. He’s now 10 months old and has outgrown his reflux issues. Whew! But he still wears his monitor every night. “You just never know,” his mother says.

The Next Big (Little) Thing

Baby monitors can be an extra set of eyes and ears that allow you to keep tabs on your sleeping baby. Wearable monitors—body sensors that track heart rate, oxygen level and movement—take infant and toddler surveillance to a new level. They allow you to detect a baby’s stealth distress signals—those that you can’t always see or hear, especially in the dark.

Thinking about buying a wearable baby monitor? Here’s a rundown of what’s available and how wearable baby monitors work.

The Owlet

What is the Owlet?

The Owlet Smart Sock is a little foot sock babies can wear while sleeping. You slip it on your baby’s foot at nap and bedtime. The monitor will sound if your baby’s heart rate or oxygen level fall below a predetermined threshold.

Owlet smart sock Owlet smart sock

How the Owlet Works

The Owlet Smart Sock uses pulse oximetry to check heart rate and oxygen saturation of the blood. It’s the wireless version of the same technology used in hospital NICUs. Pulse oximetry is used in hospitals to measure how well oxygen is being sent to parts of your body furthest from your heart, such as the arms and legs.

The gist: The Owlet monitor shines a light on your baby’s skin. It estimates the amount of blood flow and oxygen saturation based on how much light is transmitted to the sock’s sensor. It uses low-emission Bluetooth technology to communicate that information to a nearby base station.

The base station will sound an alarm if your baby’s heart rate or oxygen saturation level appear to be out of range for whatever reason. It will also emit a red light. On the other hand, if things are okay, the base station light will give you the green light.

App Option

The Owlet also includes an optional free app that allows you to track your baby’s heart rate and oxygen saturation from your iPhone. The app communicates with the base station through Bluetooth. You can use the Owlet without the app. You don’t need WiFi for the device to work. Still, the app is convenient. The app allows you to get vitals in real time.

Pros:

  • Peace of mind. “The Owlet helps you become less paranoid,” Sjogren says. “You don’t have to be such a crazy person, waking up every five minute to check on your baby.”

  • The Owlet comes with a one-year warranty and a 100-day satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not satisfied within the first 100 days, you can get your money back, no questions asked.

Cons:

  • You have to charge the Owlet every day, which is one more thing to do.
  • You need an iPhone to use the app. The Owlet doesn’t work with Android phones.
  • The base station must be plugged it (it isn’t wireless). That means there are cords. Don’t put the base station in your baby’s crib.
  • “It’s for night time monitoring only,” Sjogren says. If your baby moves around a lot, the Owlet isn’t accurate, says Sjogren, based on her experience.

More to Know

Sizes: The Owlet Smart Sock comes in three sizes and fits babies from birth to 18 months (or less) depending on your baby’s size.

Safety testing:  According to Owlet’s co-founder, Jordan Monroe, the device has been tested on 3,000 babies in 3,000 homes in conjunction with physicians at the Mayo Clinic (made possible with a $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health). “We’ve monitored over 2 million heart beats,” Monroe says. Their mission: To see if wireless pulse oximetry can help solve problems for consumers. The Owlet is currently undergoing clinical accuracy testing for FDA approval as a wireless medical device (to be sold to hospitals).

Data dump: If you buy an Owlet, you’re being cyber stalked (in a nice way). “We’re tracking information on everyone who uses the Owlet for research,” Monroe says, including autism and sleep deficiencies. “You can opt out. Otherwise, you’re in.”

The Owlet Smart Sock has
not yet been cleared by the FDA as a medical device. The upshot? It’s not a substitute for a hospital pulse oximeter, if your doctor recommends one. Also, the Owlet doesn’t profess to help prevent SIDS.

Baby Vida heart and oxygen monitor

Baby Vida2 Baby Vida

What is the Baby Vida monitor?

 Similar to the Owlet, the Baby Vida is a foot cuff that uses pulse oximetry to measure your baby’s heart rate and oxygen saturation levels. It transmits that information via Bluetooth low-emission technology to your smart phone (iPhone or Android).

Unlike the Owlet though, the Baby Vida must be used with your smart phone or tablet computer. In other words, your smart phone or tablet is the base station.

To use it, you’ll need to:

  1. Place the Baby Vida sensor on your baby’s heel with the support strap.
  2. Slide the support sock over your baby’s foot, to hold the monitor in place.
  3. Download the free app and follow the instructions with your monitor.

How the Baby Vida Works

Tiny sensors in the heel cuff wirelessly monitor your baby’s heart rate and oxygen level, using light/pulse oximetry. If the levels of either fall below a predetermined range, the monitor sounds an alarm on your smart phone. There’s no light or alarm in your baby’s room. The device in the sock has a battery that lasts for up to 17 hours before it needs to be charged. It takes 2.5 hours to fully charge.

Pros:

It’s portable. You can use the monitor in your car when you’re driving. It has a dual purpose. “You can use it as a way to not forget your child,” Evans says. When you’re 60 feet from your car/baby, you’ll get an alarm.

You don’t need a WiFi connection to use the monitor. It works with 3G and 4G.

Cons:

The device doesn’t work outside of a 60-foot radius. Your smart phone has to be within 60 feet of your baby for this product to work, most likely in the same room.

More to Know

Sizes: The Baby Vida pulse ox sock fits babies from birth to 1 year.

Clinical testing: “We hired a lab that compared this pulse oximetry monitor against hospital-grade monitors,” says Jeff Evans, who co-founded Baby Vida with his wife, Mollie. “It’s equivalent to a hospital-grade monitor, but it’s not a medical device.”

Like the Owlet, the Baby Vida monitor is not a medical device. It’s intended for “healthy” infants only, those with an average oxygen level of 94 percent or above. It doesn’t profess to help prevent SIDS.

MonBaby Smart Button

MonBaby Smart Button MonBaby Smart Button

What is the MonBaby Smart Button?

The MonBaby smart button is a wearable movement detector monitor that’s designed to tell you when your baby rolls over onto her stomach when she’s sleeping. It will also sound an alarm if your baby stops breathing for 15 seconds or more. You track your baby’s breathing and body position through your iPhone or Android phone in real time.

How it Works

The MonBaby Smart Button snaps onto your baby’s clothing. The sensor in the Button uses a MEMs 14bit accelerometer to track your baby’s movements 6.25 times per second. This information is transmitted to your iPhone through the MonBaby app using Bluetooth Low Energy technology.

Pros: The MonBaby Smart Button is powered by a 3V coin-cell battery that doesn’t require charging. It should last you for two months (nightly monitoring only).

It attaches to any type of clothing, in the chest area.

Cons: The device gets lots of positive and negative comments on Amazon. Be sure to read up before buying any wearable baby monitor.

More to Know

Radar: Choking hazard? The company says MonBaby Smart Button passes the choking tube test. The inner enclosure measures 1.3 inches, which means it’s too large to fit through a choking tube, which is 1.25 inches in diameter. If you’re still worried about choking, you can setup an alarm for a spike in activity, which could signal that your baby is playing with the smart button.

MonBaby has a 40 to 60-foot range. The company recommends placing your smart phone and the MonBaby button in the same or adjacent rooms.

MonBaby isn’t a medical device. Like the Owlet and Baby Vida monitors, it’s not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, including SIDS. 

Snuza Hero

And

Snuza Go!

Snuza Hero Snuza Hero

What is the Snuza Hero?

It’s baby monitor is a wearable device that attaches to your baby’s diaper at the belly to monitor abdominal movement. If no movement is detected after 15 seconds, the monitor will vibrate, a rouse warning. If movement doesn’t resume in 5 more seconds, a loud alarm will sound.

What is the Snuza Go!?

The Snuza Go! is a clip-on baby monitor that also attaches to your baby’s diaper. It also monitors abdominal movement with this slight difference: If no movement is detected after 20 seconds, the Snuza Go! will emit an audible alarm. It will also alert you if your movements are very weak or fall to less than eight movements per minute.

How the Snuza Hero and Snuza Go! Work

The main difference between the Snuza Hero and the Snuza Go! is that the Hero has a vibration/rouse warning feature.

With both the Snuza Hero and Snuza Go, the device’s colored flexible tip, which contains a movement sensor, must maintain constant contact with your baby’s tummy. For the Snuza Hero or Snuza Go! to work, your baby’s diaper must fit snugly.

Both Snuza wearable monitors are powered by CR2 batteries, which are available on Amazon and in most stores where batteries are sold.

Pros: The Snuza Go! is light, weighing just one ounce.

Cons: Neither the Snuza Hero and Snuza Go! are geared for travel. Movement, such as being pushed in a stroller, makes the monitors inaccurate. Reserve them for when your baby is sleeping and staying put.

More to Know

The next generation Snuza, the Snuza Pico, which also attaches to a baby’s diaper, will track temperature and movement from your iPhone or tablet. It will be available in June 2016.


Wearable Baby Monitors at Amazon

 

Product Brand List Price
Baby Vida Oxygen Monitor, White Baby Vida $149.99
Baby Monitor for Breathing and Movement (White) MonBaby $169.00
Snuza Hero SE baby movement monitor. Snuza $129.99
Snuza Portable Baby Movement Monitor Snuza $99.00


Safety Experts Sound Off

Wearable baby monitors promise to give new parents like you peace of mind. Still, the safety data behind these wearable devices is very much in its infancy.

Wearable baby monitors must pass safety standards related to phthalates, lead and small parts (choking hazards) in accordance with Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Otherwise, they’re not strictly regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the FDA or the FTC. In other words, they’re not on anybody’s radar.

Before purchasing a wearable baby monitor, here are the top issues to consider.

 

DABnMxiZKLU

Issue 1: “Electrosmog”

Because many wearable baby monitors use Bluetooth technology, they rely on radio-frequency (RF) energy, a form of electromagnetic radiation, to function. Although the RF energy wireless devices give off is weak and presumed to be safe (it’s not the same radiation used in an X-ray), increasing evidence suggests that it may pose health hazards, especially if it’s emitted close to your body.

Consider: The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), classified the RF energy wireless electronic devices, such as cell phones, emit as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” 

Environmental health experts are concerned about the “electrosmog” from all wireless devices, especially those that very young children wear for hours at a time.

“There’s no way a wearable baby monitor is good idea, barring a seriously ill infant that’s in an incubator,” says Devra Davis, Ph.D., founder and president of the nonprofit Environmental Health Trust. The non-profit organization educates individuals, health professionals and communities about controllable environmental health risks and policy changes needed to reduce those risks.

“Any exposure to radiofrequency radiation from a newborn baby is very dangerous,” adds David O. Carpenter, M.D., director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University of Albany. “Exposure to radiofrequency radiation falls off with distance. The farther an RF-energy-emitting device, such as your cell phone, is from your body, the better. But if you put a monitor right on babies, they’re going to get the full whammy of whatever intensity of radiofrequency radiation is used,” he says.

Is the evidence overwhelmingly strong for the risk of radiofrequency radiation? “No, I wouldn’t go to the point of saying that absolutely no parent should consider a wearable baby monitor,” Dr. Carpenter says.

“I do think, however, that every parent who is even thinking about it should be very aware of the risks that are documented and even of the risks that aren’t as well documented, but that appear to be likely. For a normal newborn or young child, I think the risks significantly outweigh the benefits,” he says.

For more info about the possible risks of RF energy for children, check out my Parents piece, “How Wireless Devices Can Be Dangerous for Your Family” and this from Consumer Reports.

Issue #2: False Sense of Security?

Another possible pitfall of a wearable baby monitor is that you’ll rely on it too much.

All wearable baby monitors claim not to reduce the risk of SIDS. It’s a good thing.

“The use of wearable devices is not recommended by First Candle or the American Academy of Pediatrics in regard to SIDS/Sudden Unexpected Infant Death prevention (SUID), even with these new-fangled models,” says Laura Reno, a spokesperson for First Candle. “They cannot and will not give parents time to react, respond or intervene with a true SIDS case.”

“What they can give parents is a false sense of security thinking their baby is safe, causing a decrease in vigilance in regard to lifesaving safe sleep messages,” Reno says.

A wearable baby monitor might even make you even more neurotic, if say—you get an alarm if your baby flips to her tummy while she’s sleeping. “Flipping for the first time is scary,” Reno says. “But it’s a necessary part of a baby’s normal development. First Candle recommends that once a baby can roll in both directions, or continuously flips to their tummy for sleep, it’s okay to let them do so. Parents need to rest too, and if they’re continually jumping up and down to flip the baby over, no one is going to get any rest!”

“From First Candle’s perspective (as far as SIDS and SUID goes), they are not necessary and therefore not a good investment,” Reno add. “And in my personal opinion, they can potentially be a nuisance!” (False alarms can also be a problem.)

Still, it’s tough to argue about the pitfalls of wearable monitors if they could possibly save even one baby’s life. “It’s crazy to think what would have happened if I hadn’t had the Owlet,” Sjogren says, who bought the device because it uses the same technology Andrew experienced in the NICU, albeit the wired version. “In my case, a regular baby monitor wouldn’t have helped.”

safe sleep environmentMore Baby Snooze News You Can Always Use

In a recent study in the Journal of Perinatology, over half the 121 parents surveyed still don’t follow safe sleep recommendations for babies. Whether or not you use a wearable monitor, a regular monitor or no monitor at all, practice safe sleep habits:

–Always place your baby on his/her back to sleep.
–Bed sharing is a major no-no. “Sharing a bed, couch or chair with your baby is dangerous. Accidents can and do happen,” Reno says. Always place your baby in his/her crib, play yard or bassinet to sleep.–Offer a pacifier at nap time and bed time during your baby’s first year.
–Keep in mind that bare is best. Don’t put anything in your baby’s crib (bassinet or play yard) except for a tight-fitting crib sheet and your baby. Go ahead and dress your baby in a wearable blanket to keep your baby warm and from her legs from going through the slats.

For more info about safe sleep, visit the CPSC’s Crib Information Center.

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By Sandra Gordon, copyright 2016 Baby Products Mom

 

Sandra Gordon
baby gear author, speaker, blogger and curator at Babyproductsmom
I'm a mom of two daughters and the author of "Save Dollars on Diapers"; "Save a Bundle: 50+ Ways to Save Big on Baby Gear", and the 8th, 9th and 10th editions of "Consumer Reports Best Baby Products." Babyproductsmom.com may contain affiliate links to products I would buy for myself from Amazon, Diapers.com and others. Your click-throughs don't cost you anything though. Still, they make this site possible. Thank you for your support! Also, keep in mind that the information in this blog isn't a substitute for medical advice. Copyright Sandra Gordon Writing Resources LLC.

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5 Ways to Deck Out Your Baby

by Sandra Gordon on December 1, 2015

DABj0DPbw7AWhile you’re decking the halls for the holidays, why not get your baby in on the action? This time of year, you’ll find plenty of seasonal, limited edition baby items to help get everyone in the spirit. Here’s a round-up of five holiday favorites, which make great gifts too.

Holiday pacifiers. MAM’s seasonal pacifiers are available from November through January. Like all Mam pacifiers, they feature an orthodontically correct nipple design that helps babies sooth themselves while maintaininHolidayg proper jaw and tooth alignment. MAM pacifiers also feature an easily graspible front knob, a curved shield for a comfortable fit and a patented anti-slip soft silicone nipple. The brand’s pacis are BPA-free, PVC-free, lead-free and compliant with the latest safety standards.

Other types of holiday pacis available include the Nuk snowman, Tommee Tippee limited edition gingerbread men, Ulubulu Santa pacifiersChanukah pacifiers, and more. Coordinate the pacifier with a holiday pacifer clip to complete the look.

As you may know, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends offering your baby a pacifer at naptime and bedtime during your baby’s first year, to help reduce the risk of SIDS.

Outfits. It’s easy to outfit your baby for the season from head to toe. There’s a wide selection of holiday dresses, sweaterssuspender sets, body suits, onesies, smocked holiday one-piece “longalls” like this one and  socks out there from which to choose.

Some infant, toddler and kids’ holiday outfits can be pricey though, like this 100% Dupioni silk little girl’s holiday dress ($159). Your baby may only wear holiday clothes once before outgrowing them. So don’t blow your budget on these tempting one-hit wonders. For many baby products, I don’t recommend buying secondhand. But fancy holiday clothes are an exception. Check out what your local secondhand shop has to offer or scout around online at Thredup. Thredup’s baby and toddler clothes must pass their rigorous inspection to be sold on the site.

When shopping for secondhand baby and toddler clothes everywhere else though, be sure to give them the eagle eye. Before buying, reject anything with scratchy seams (uncomfortable), loose threads, which can wrap around your baby’s finger, or buttons or appliques (radar: choking hazards).

Bottles. Dr. Brown’s offers an 8-ounce holiday bottle that features its patented two-piece internal venting system, to reduce the chances of colic and ear infections. Trivia note: There’s actually a Dr. Brown, as in Dr. Craig Brown, a pediatrician who came up with the general design of this unique bottle, which uses positive pressure so babies don’t have to suck as hard.

Just fyi–the latest Dr. Brown’s bottle gives you the option of using the venting system or not. It might be appropriate for older babies who are past the colic stage.

Sippy cups. From Munchkin’s Snowman toddler cup to Zak Design’s spouted Elf on a Shelf toddler cup, holiday toddler cups can help your baby gradually get the hang of drinking from a cup while sipping in holiday style. BTW, to help prevent tooth decay, the American holiday bigsDental Association recommends encouraging your baby to drink from a sippy cup by his first birthday.

Bibs. Whether your cutie is having an afternoon snack or diving into mealtime madness, a holiday bib can make any feast with your baby more festive and help your baby’s outfit escape the merry mess.

Was this helpful or at least mildly entertaining? Leave me a comment on Facebook. And sign up for my newsletter to get my posts and other updates delivered right to your inbox.

By Sandra Gordon, copyright 2015 Baby Products Mom

Sandra Gordon
baby gear author, speaker, blogger and curator at Babyproductsmom
I'm a mom of two daughters and the author of "Save Dollars on Diapers"; "Save a Bundle: 50+ Ways to Save Big on Baby Gear", and the 8th, 9th and 10th editions of "Consumer Reports Best Baby Products." Babyproductsmom.com may contain affiliate links to products I would buy for myself from Amazon, Diapers.com and others. Your click-throughs don't cost you anything though. Still, they make this site possible. Thank you for your support! Also, keep in mind that the information in this blog isn't a substitute for medical advice. Copyright Sandra Gordon Writing Resources LLC.

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When you’ve got a new baby or one on the way, it’s easy to give your parents and in-laws “memorable” gifts that will do more than just touch their hearts. Here are four gift ideas that can set the stage for a lifetime of connection.

  1. Grandparent’s journal: Memories for My Grandchild: A Keepsake to RememberGrandparents book

My grandmother died at 95 almost two years ago and I’m so tickled that she kept a 3 X 5 inch spiral-bounded notebook about stuff that happened, starting in 1969. Her jottings were mostly about current events in the world and in our family. In 2007, for example, she wrote: “Sandy was on TV in April 27 the second time to discuss her latest book.” I didn’t think Gram knew much about my professional life, or that she was actually keeping track! So cute.
I love that Gram had the urge to keep an event timeline. But what I would have really loved is for her to actually share more of her own thoughts and feelings in those pages about all she experienced over her almost ten decades. That would have been the ultimate legacy. I’d love for my mother to capture her life in writing and photos for my daughters too.

Fortunately, today’s family heirloom/scrapbooks make it easy for your parents to do just that and share their lives with your kiddos so they can bond across the generations.

Memories for My Grandchild: A Keepsake to Remember,” is just one example of a journal for your mom, dad, mother-in-law and father-in-law to write down their life story for your baby to enjoy some day and get to know Grandma and Grandpa on a whole new level. In the book, there are questions for Grandma/Grandpa to answer at their leisure related to all aspects of their lives, including their love life, parenthood and, of course, grandparenthood. There’s plenty of room for photos too and other keepsakes. There’s also a companion journal specifically for Grandfathers: From Your Grandfather: A Gift of Memory for My Grandchild.

Print2. Tinybeans free baby journal app

This online journal/digital baby book in an app allows you to celebrate parenthood and share your baby’s everyday and milestone moments privately with your family and friends.

How Tiny Beans works:

  1. You decide who gets to see your photos (with captions, if you’d like) and send everyone an invitation.
  2. Once your parents, family members and friends accept your invitation to connect, they’ll receive an e-mail each time you post baby photos. After clicking on the link they’re sent, they’ll be taken to the Tinybeans Website, where they can see the photos you upload and comment.

On Tinybeans, you can also create slide shows, edit your photos, add funny stickers and make printed keepsake books. All told, Tinybeans is like a private Instagram and an electronic archive of your baby’s life all in one.

Photo_Book_Cover_1 Tinybeans photo book

To embellish your baby’s photos, Tinybeans features Mess-Ups and Moments cards, which are captions you can embed in your photos. If your baby happens to get a hold of a Magic marker and go crazy on your freshly-painted kitchen, for example, there’s a “graffiti artist in the making” card for that sort of photo. Tinybeans is a free app with a premium upgrade available, which allows you to upload 20 photos at a time and record 30-second videos. But only a small percentage of Tinybeans’ 800,000 plus users pay for it. In other words, the free app gets the job done just fine.

3. Grandparents Brag Book—to make sharing baby photos a cinch

Brag books make it easy for Grandma and Grandpa to show off your baby to family and friends. Even if your parents have a smart phone, it’s still nice to have actual photos handy. Brag books typically hold 20 to 40 4 X 6 or 3 X 5 photos. There’s a grab book for every style—from cutesy to sophisticated.

Photo_Book_Cover_24. A framed picture of your parents—to show them that though you’ve taken a deep dive into babydom, they’re still on your radar

This is a surprise gift you can give to your parents and in-laws anytime they visit your home. “If you really want to score points with your mother-in-law, put a photo of her with your kids somewhere in your house,” says Linda Della Donna, 63, grandmother of Hunter, 2, and Zoey, 1, who babysits for them weekly. Confession: After interviewing Ms. Della Donna, I realized that amidst all the photos of the kids, I didn’t even have a photo of my own parents in my own house. How could that be? Soon after, unbidden, my mother sent me a framed photo of her and my dad. Apparently, she had noticed! A photo collage, such as the Umbra Hangit Photo Display, is also a fun way to display multiple family photos. It’s personalized inexpensive wall art that’s invaluable.

Was this helpful? Leave me a comment on Facebook. And sign up for my newsletter to get my posts and other updates delivered right to your inbox.

By Sandra Gordon, copyright 2015 Baby Products Mom

 

Sandra Gordon
baby gear author, speaker, blogger and curator at Babyproductsmom
I'm a mom of two daughters and the author of "Save Dollars on Diapers"; "Save a Bundle: 50+ Ways to Save Big on Baby Gear", and the 8th, 9th and 10th editions of "Consumer Reports Best Baby Products." Babyproductsmom.com may contain affiliate links to products I would buy for myself from Amazon, Diapers.com and others. Your click-throughs don't cost you anything though. Still, they make this site possible. Thank you for your support! Also, keep in mind that the information in this blog isn't a substitute for medical advice. Copyright Sandra Gordon Writing Resources LLC.

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Top Toys for Your Holiday Shopping List

by Sandra Gordon on November 26, 2015

 

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Even if your baby isn’t quite old enough to appreciate the holidays, she’s not too young for gifts she’ll truly “get,” which are toys, of course.

As I mentioned in a previous post, toys aren’t just fun. They’re learning power tools for your child’s brain–even if the toys are not marketed as “educational.”

The inside story: When you choose toys and activities that track with your child’s age and stage, you’re speaking his language and helping him develop cognitive, emotional, social and physical skills he can build on–just by playing. In fact, every time your baby plays with a toy—zzzt, zzzt–brain connections are made. Inside your child’s brain when he’s playing is like a Christmas tree, with thousands of sparkling lights going off.

Which toys should you buy for your baby? Read on for a game plan for the holiday season—with help from Parents magazine, Dr. Toy and my own research.

Top Toys to Buy This Holiday Season

Here are toys Parents magazine toy testers selected this year for babies from birth to 12 months:

Birth to 12 Months:

Fisher-Price Dance & Move BeatBo

Yookidoo Gymotion Robo Playland

Playskool Fold ‘n Go Busy Elephant

Estella Baby Security Blanket

Skip-Hop Explore & More Rocking Owl Stacker

Chewbeads Baby Gramercy Stroller Toy

Tiny Love Rock & Ball

Little Tikes Lil’ Ocean Explorers 1-in-1 Adventure Course

For a complete list for kids of all ages, check out “Best Toys of 2015”.

DABi9OV6fawMore Great Contender Toys 

For more ideas, Dr. Toy also announced her 100 Best Children’s Products of 2015. Interestingly, none of her toys for babies overlapped with Parents’ toy list, which means toy shoppers like you and me have an even longer vetted toy list to choose from.

Here’s Dr. Toy’s Best Toys for babies and toddlers:

Puzzingo Kids Learning Puzzles; it’s a free download, for kids 18 months to 5 years

Craft-tastic Yarn Tree Kit; 8 months to 12 years

Mon Premier Bebe Calin Christmas Tales; a doll for kids ages 1.5 to 3 years

Luca and Company IVI 3D Play Rugs, for ages 0 to 7

Music Together Hey Diddle, Diddle singalong song book, for ages 1 to 8 years

Music Together Mr. Rabbit, singalong song book, for ages 1 to 8 years

Music Together Two Little Blackbirds, singalong song book, for ages 1 to 8 years

Oribel PortaPlay Convertible Activity Center, for 5 months to 5 years

Tubby Table Toys, for kids ages 1.5 to 4 years

Whistlefritz Spanish for Kids: The Ultimate Collection, for ages 1 to 7 years

I’m also a fan of toys by HABA, such as this simple ball track, for children 12 months to 5 years, which teaches cause and effect (who knew?) and helps develop fine motor skills. A representative from the Germany company told me HABA toys are “substance, not sizzle,” and that good toys are “investments.” I couldn’t agree more!

Green Toys are on my shopping list, too. They’re made in the US from recycled milk cartons–100 percent post-consumer food-safe recycled plastic that contains no BPA, PVC, phthalates or external coatings. You can clean them in the dishwasher and toss them in the recycle bin when you’re done. Vehicles are their core line, such as this ferry, train, fire truck and seacopter. Each Green Toy comes in a 100 percent corrugated box printed with soy inks.

DABejtjE1xQ1Up the Fun Factor

Of course, toys can’t get all the credit. You’re a key player in the process because babies and toddlers are attention junkies. They crave the one-on-one interaction and the security playing with you and other caregivers provides.

So, just so say no to “phubbing”—snubbing your baby with your phone by texting or answering e-mails when you’re supposed to be playing together. Everyone knows the feeling: You’re with your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend or colleagues and they’re on their phone when you’re trying to get their attention. Wah!

All kids can be can be surprisingly fickle with toys. Even with the most engaging toy, their interest can vanish faster than a dollop of whipped cream on a cup of hot chocolate. To keep toys in play longer, try these tactics:

Buy according to your child’s age. Take the manufacturer’s recommended age range on the toy package seriously. “Don’t buy up,” Hartshorn says. “Buying a toy that’s months older than your child’s age won’t make him smarter. Instead, he won’t get out of it what he’s supposed to or be able to play with it easily.” In addition to play value, age grading can alert you to a possible choking hazard, the presence of small parts, and other dangers. Try not to buy toys with small parts for a child older than 3 if you have a baby in the house. Your baby will find a way to get it.

For kids age 3 and up: Look beyond the logo. Some of the season’s most popular toys tie in with TV, book, or movie characters. But—good news–these toys aren’t on your baby’s radar yet. “When your kids are really young, you can stay away from licensed characters and go with more inexpensive toys,” Hartshorn says. But once your baby hits age 3 or so, there’s no getting away from them. “They get their favorites soon enough,” says Hartshorn.

When you get to that stage, even if a licensed character toy tops your child’s holiday or birthday list, ask yourself a key question: “If I took Elmo (or whoever your child’s fave character) off this package, what do I have?”

“If a toy has nothing to offer beyond the character, don’t buy it,” says Richard Gottlieb, a toy-industry expert in New York City. Toys with low play value are destined to get ditched extra early. A better bet for older kids: Select toys that require creativity. “Building blocksnontoxic art supplies, educational video games, musical instruments, and sports equipment last longer with kids than toys that have limited uses,” says Jed Baker, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of No More Meltdowns.

Rotate toys. If your baby/toddler/preschooler/older child get loads of toys this year, don’t let her have at them all at once. Instead, set aside some of the bounty for later. After that group has lost its luster, bring out the sequestered toys, and so on. Toy cycling helps constantly refresh your child’s interest. What’s old is new again.

Was this helpful? Leave me a comment on Facebook. And sign up for my newsletter to get my posts and other updates delivered right to your inbox.

By Sandra Gordon, copyright 2015 Baby Products Mom

 

 

 

Sandra Gordon
baby gear author, speaker, blogger and curator at Babyproductsmom
I'm a mom of two daughters and the author of "Save Dollars on Diapers"; "Save a Bundle: 50+ Ways to Save Big on Baby Gear", and the 8th, 9th and 10th editions of "Consumer Reports Best Baby Products." Babyproductsmom.com may contain affiliate links to products I would buy for myself from Amazon, Diapers.com and others. Your click-throughs don't cost you anything though. Still, they make this site possible. Thank you for your support! Also, keep in mind that the information in this blog isn't a substitute for medical advice. Copyright Sandra Gordon Writing Resources LLC.

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Now’s the time to save big on your little one

by Sandra Gordon on November 17, 2015

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Black Friday/Cyber Monday/holiday deal season in general is almost among us. But why wait? Some of the best baby gear deals of the year are already here.

Timing Trade Secret
Psst! After the ABC Kids Expo, which is an annual trade show for the baby products industry at the Las Vegas Convention Center that draws over 12,000 attendees from 65 countries every October, retailers and etailers clear out their 2015 inventory. They’re on a mission: To make room for the new 2016 stuff, which starts arriving in stores and in warehouses between November and February.

What does that mean for you? You got it: Sales!
What do retailers do with “last year’s” products? They try to sell them at great prices, of course. You can help them move their perfectly fabulous merch and get yourself great baby products at rock-bottom prices. So…while you’re making your holiday shopping list, leave room in your budget for baby gear, especially if you’re a first timer looking to get enough of the right stuff to feel prepared.

“But…that’s so last year!”
Hey, buying 2015 models isn’t so bad. Consider: Some baby products, such as car seats, don’t change that much from one year to the next except for a refresh on the “fashions,” which is baby-gear speak for the fabrics/colors. The products will seem new to you anyway and the differences are subtle. Last year, teal with in. This year, it’s turquoise. You get the idea.

DABdQbDaM8Q1Be a Shopportunist
To get in on this year’s end of season baby deals, do this:
–Scout for baby gear sales before/after the holidays by checking your local newspaper circulars and signing up at the Websites of your favorite baby stores.
–“Like” favorite brands and retailers on Facebook and follow them on Instagram and Twitter too—to get insider info, such as advance notices of upcoming promotions.
–Check the close-outs on WalmartWayfair (for great sales on quality baby furniture) and Amazon,

Amazon offers great prices in general because products are often sold there below the Minimum Advertised Price (MAP). MAP is an agreement between suppliers and retailers stipulating the lowest price a product can be advertised at, on a billboard, a Website or a magazine. Manufacturers and distributors who don’t want to sell their products below MAP don’t offer them on Amazon. Conversely, Amazon is typically the place manufacturers and distributors go when they want to really move a product. And there’s where you come in.

Baby Stuff to Buy Now on Amazon: Car Seats!
Car seat manufacturers love to change things up. In 2016, you’ll see car seats in colors such as “meadow” (green) and “canyon” (burnt orange) and denim. But that doesn’t mean 2015’s cool car seat colors aren’t fabulous. In fact, they’re awesome because they’re on sale.

Evenflo car seatHere are some great car seat deals happening on Amazon now:

Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat, $59.98, 70 percent off the list price. Lots of great deals available on Evenflo car seats in general.

Britax Parkway Belt Positioning booster seat, $84.49, 35 percent off the list price (an all-time low). This product isn’t discontinued yet, but it’s on its way out. If you’re in the market for a booster seat or know you will be soon, snag one now at a great price—or if you’re a risk taker, wait for prices to go even lower.

Graco Argos 65 3-in-1 Harness Booster, $136.30, 32 percent off list.

Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat, $139, 27 percent off list

The BOB Motion Travel System with BOB B-safe infant car seat, $337.99, 35 percent off the list price. It’s at its lowest price of the year now.

Check out Camelcamelcamel.com
If you’re a big Amazon shopper, use the free site to track prices on Amazon products and decide when to buy. You can see the highest and lowest price of a product in relation to where it is right now for the past six months. CamelCamelCamel also lets you set price alerts for when the price falls below a certain threshold. If something sells for $100, for example, you can set a price alert that will let you know when the price that product falls below $75. It’s a helpful site if you’re targeting certain products, especially big ticket baby products like a car seat and a stroller.

More fave baby savings destinations:

Petunia Pickle Bottom
Now’s a great time to grab a great deal on a Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag. On Black Friday, if you spend $75, you’ll get a free gift with purchase. This year, they’re collaborating with Aden and Anais. The free gift will be a single silky swaddle, from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. For surprise deals the rest of the year, be to drop in at Petuniaoutlet.com and leave them your e-mail or like them on Facebook and Instagram so you can be notified of their surprise outlet sales. Petunia Pickle Bottom’s online outlet store is only open for one week two to three times per year. The sale features diaper bags in discontinued prints.

The sale section of Chiccoshop
You’ll find some of the best deals of the year now on Chicco’s high quality car seats, strollers, play yards and other products.

Bottom Line?
Don’t spend all your moola on holiday gifts. Get in on the baby gear sales bonanza by keeping your eyes peeled for great deals like these between now and early January.

Was this helpful? Leave me a comment on Facebook. And sign up for my newsletter to get my posts and other updates delivered right to your inbox.

By Sandra Gordon, copyright 2015 Baby Products Mom

Sandra Gordon
baby gear author, speaker, blogger and curator at Babyproductsmom
I'm a mom of two daughters and the author of "Save Dollars on Diapers"; "Save a Bundle: 50+ Ways to Save Big on Baby Gear", and the 8th, 9th and 10th editions of "Consumer Reports Best Baby Products." Babyproductsmom.com may contain affiliate links to products I would buy for myself from Amazon, Diapers.com and others. Your click-throughs don't cost you anything though. Still, they make this site possible. Thank you for your support! Also, keep in mind that the information in this blog isn't a substitute for medical advice. Copyright Sandra Gordon Writing Resources LLC.

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