cs-buckles-20140211As you may know, Graco has voluntarily recalled the harness buckle on 3.7 million of its toddler convertible car seats and harnessed booster seats–not the entire seat, just the harness on its seats manufactured between 2009 and July 2013.

The reason? Graco determined that over time, food and dried liquids can make harness buckles tough to open. The harness can get stuck in the latched position. Some 80 parents complained that the harness became so difficult to open, they had to use excessive force to push the button to unlatch the harness. Some had to pull their child through the still-buckled harness, or cut the harness straps to remove their child from the seat.

Not being able to unlatch a harness promptly is a safety hazard. In an accident, you need to be able to remove your child quickly from his/her car seat.

The following Graco seats are affected by the recall:

Toddler Convertibles: 
–The Cozy Cline
–The Comfort Sport
–The Classic Ride 50
–My Ride 65
–My Ride 70
–My Ride 65 with Safety Surround
–Size4Me 70
–My Size 70
–Head Wise 70
–Smart Seat

Harness booster seats:
–the Nautilus 3-in-1
–the Nautilus Elite
–The Argos

To-Do Tactics:

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which did not participate in this recall, the recall effectiveness rate is only 30% once a product is in consumer’s hands. That is, only 30% of eligible consumers take the recommended action when a product has been recalled. Don’t be among the 70% who don’t respond to a recall.

The solution for this recall is to replace the old safety harness with a new one supplied by Graco.

If you registered your Graco car seat through Gracobaby.com, which is always recommended, you don’t have to do anything. You’ll automatically receive a replacement harness in the mail for you to install.

If you haven’t registered your Graco car seat, you can place your harness order on www.gracobaby.com. Or, call 800-345-4109 or consumerservices@gracobaby.com.

Graco says it’s safe to continue to use your car seat while you’re waiting for a new harness. The recall doesn’t impact the performance of the seat or its effectiveness as a child restraint. As a stop gap, they recommend cleaning the buckle. For more information and how-tos on how to clean the buckle and replace it when the new buckle arrives, visit http://www.pages02.net/newellrubbermaid/harness-buckles.

Is your new Graco harness on its way to you? Be a recall responder. A simple phone call or e-mail to Graco can make it happen and keep your child safer.

 

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royal babyGetting ready for a new baby is universal–and so is trying to save money while you’re at it. In fact, here’s the kind of gearing-up advice parents in Britain are receiving from baby products expert, Jonathan Griffiths, who is starting off Babyproductsmom.com (BPM) on the Monday before Thanksgiving here in the U.S. with a guest post. Does this money saving advice sound familiar?

High quality baby essentials for low prices (or free!)

By Jonathan Griffiths

Every parent knows that bringing up a healthy baby takes time, effort and investment. You need to have the funds available to buy everything you need to help raise your bundle of joy the safest and most educational environment possible. But don’t stress. These simple tips should help you save some money while still having high quality items at your disposal.

Feeding the hungry baby:

Many experiments and tests have been done to determine if it’s better to breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby, and breastfeeding is the best choice. Whichever method you choose, you can be sure there will be many products that claim “they are best” for expressing or storing milk for future feeds. A Lansinoh Manuel breast pump costs around $24.00 compared to an Avent Manuel breast pump that costs $36. Clearly you can see the difference in price. My first tip is don’t shop on brand names, you can get the exact same product for much cheaper.

Reusable or disposable diapers?

Diapers are essential for any baby, they prevent mess and make life just that little bit easier for you. Again, there is a noticeable difference in prices between the two. Here in England disposable diapers cost £8 more than reusable ones. It is proven reusable nappies can save you money in the long run, but aswell as this, they are much better for the enviroment and much easier for you as you do not need to buy diaper bags or disposal systems. With all products there is always going to be pros and cons, but the pros are firmly with the resuable diapers.

Getting things for free!

If you know parents with toddlers, why not ask them if there’s anything they no longer need? There’s no harm in asking around for essentials that are going free or for bargain prices.

More quick buying advice from Jonathan Griffiths:

  1. Avoid buying expensive clothes; in a few weeks your baby will be too big to fit into them. (BPM: So true here in the U.S. as well!)
  2. If you are planning on having another baby in the future, buy neutral coloured clothing, so the next baby will have some clothes that are free. (BPM: Going neutral with colors is especially helpful when you’re decorating the nursery. These days, gray and white is a popular color combo. Girl moms can accent with pink, boy moms with blue, if they want to. Yellow is also a popular accent color for babies of either gender.) 
  3. Shop around; Many places will have some sort of sales on. (BPM: Check out my Wednesday post on Black Friday specials.)
  4. Plan ahead so you can take advantage of sales. (BPM: Yes! Now is a great time to shop for baby gear because retailers are clearing out their 2013 merchandise. They need room for the 2014 stuff. 2013 models can be just as good as 2014 baby gear.)
  5. Buy in bulk whenever you can. (BPM: Disposable diapers are excellent products to buy in bulk, especially when your baby reaches the upper sizes–size 4 and above. Babies spend more time in the upper sizes so if you buy an economy size box, you’re more likely to use them all before needing to move on to the next size.)
  6. Borrow items wherever possible. (BPM: Borrowed items can be a smart money-saving move in the U.S. too, but go new with some products, such as a crib and a car seat, because U.S. safety standards change often on these products. But for things like holiday outfits–definitely borrow them. They’re often in great shape because they have a short shelf life. The previous owner may have only worn it once before moving on because, well, that holiday came and went. To save cash on special baby clothes, second-hand is definitely the way to go. Just be sure it either is new or looks like new to you. And watch out for loose threads, which can get wound around a baby’s finger, buttons or appliqués (radar: choking hazards). 

Parents in the U.K.: Be sure to check out http://www.bumps-2-babies.com/ to save money on baby gear.

Babyproductsmom.com welcomes guest posts, especially from experts in other parts of the world and parents around the world or parents in the U.S. who’ve lived elsewhere.

A global perspective on baby products, saving money and parenting in general can be valuable!

 

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Bundoo.com offers a “curated” Marketplace

by admin on November 4, 2013

When yBundoo3ou’re gearing up for your new baby, wouldn’t it be great to buy products that have a pediatrician’s stamp of approval? That’s the gist of the Marketplace section at www.bundoo.com, a comprehensive online parenting community/site that launched in 2013.

Staffed by a team of pediatricians, including Lewis Warshauer, MD, MBA, the founder and CEO of IQ Health, LLC, the parent company of Bundoo, and two board-certified pediatricians, Sara Connolly, MD, FAAP and Kristie Rivers, MD, FAAP, Bundoo.com features, among other resources:

  • Ask Bundoo, a subscription service that allows members to ask parenting questions directly to Bundoo experts, including doctors, therapists, nutritionists and other qualified child health professionals; www.bundoo.com/ask
  • Researched and referenced articles on everything from pregnancy to preschool; www.bundoo.com/bundoo-a-z
  • A moderated community of parents, educators, and childcare specialists; www.bundoo.com/bundoo-community

But since this is a blog about helping new parents gear up, we’re going to focus on Bundoo.com’s Marketplace section; www.bundoo.com/marketplace. The Marketplace features hundreds of baby products, but what makes this shopping section different is that the products are “expertly curated” by pediatricians.  ”Pediatricians provide their feedback and recommendations,” says Meredith Nichols, Bundoo.com’s e-commerce manager. Before a product is listed for sale, it’s run past the doctor team for their feedback and safety check. Every product in Bundoo’s Marketplace is hand-selected and reviewed by internal staff. (You can find a complete list of the Bundoo.com team at www.bundoo.com/team.) You can also be assured that the site doesn’t list any recalled products for sale.

Whether you decide to buy your baby gear from Bundoo.com or not, it’s worth paying a visit to the Marketplace section to see if, say–the stroller or car seat you’re considering–made the cut.

The site, which is currently in Beta, also features product reviews from other parents with at-a-glance thumbs up/thumbs down icons. In general, though, put consumer reviews through your personal filter because what worked or didn’t work for one parent, may not necessarily work or not work for you, depending on your situation. With so much product and parent advice out there, I love the idea of Bundoo.com’s medical underpinnings and evidence-based-medicine approach, especially since our own pediatricians seem to be busier than ever these days.

Except for the Ask Bundoo subscription service, the site and its resources are free for members. The site isn’t charging yet for its subscription service. Once it’s out of Beta, you’ll be able to purchase questions and bundles.

 

 

 

 

 

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Don’t Feed Your Baby Secondhand Formula Either

by Sandra Gordon on October 21, 2013

You’ve probably heard the news, that breast milk is best, but not when you buy it online from other moms or receive it as a donation from other than a milk bank. Secondhand milk that’s sold or acquired this way could be contaminated with illness-causing bacteria or become contaminated during shipping, even from well-intentioned moms who just want to help another mom out. Plus, you don’t know what you’re buying. The breast milk cottage industry isn’t regulated. It might not be breast milk at all. It could be cow’s milk, infant formula or something else. Here’s a link to a summary of the Pediatrics study that started the donated breast-milk buzz: http://acsh.org/2013/10/breast-milk-purchased-online-possibly-dangerous-newborns/. If you can’t breast feed with your own milk, a milk bank is your best option because it pasteurizes the milk it sells to kill potentially dangerous organisms.

SamsGentleLikewise, if you use infant formula, buy it from reputable retailers. No matter how cheap infant formula is on eBay, Craig’s List, from online auctions or at a flea market, pass it up. Here’s an ad from Craig’s list I ran across today: “i have 15 cans of 12.4 oz powder gentlease formula,6-6packs of 8oz bottles of gentlease,an 2 boxes of powder packets of gentlease each packet makes a 4oz bottle. all for $150!!” That’s verbatim. There are at least 20 ads like this on my local section of Craig’s list.

Infant formula you get from other moms may seem okay. It may look perfectly sealed and have a distant expiration date. But counterfeit formula can be illegally relabeled to misrepresent its true content or quality, such as changing the “use by” date. It happens. Play it safe. Know what you’re getting and buy formula at mainstream retailers, such as CVS, Target, Sam’s Club, Walgreen’s, Kroger and Babies R Us. And don’t forget to buy the store brand, which must be nutritionally equivalent to name-brand formula, as per U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations. You’ll save up to 50 percent.

 

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4 Ways to Keep Your Baby’s Favorite Things Bacteria-Free

by Sandra Gordon on October 14, 2013

Hi Everyone: I’m traveling this week to the All Baby & Kids Trade Show in Las Vegas. While I’m getting the scoop on upcoming baby products trends, please enjoy this guest post by Chrissa Hardy.

A beautiful smiling baby wrapped in a furry green blanketPeople love babies because they are adorable mini-humans that need your full support in order to grow into well-adjusted, full-size adults. Unfortunately, their immune systems are not exactly well-oiled machines, and they tend to put everything in their mouths. This means that you need to keep their favorite items and everyday necessities clean and bacteria-free. Here are four tips on how to do that.

1. Know what’s safe to borrow.

Not every item for your baby needs to be purchased new. You can save a great deal of money by borrowing slightly used items from friends and family who have had children of their own. Baby carriers, baby clothes, and high chairs can all be a burden on your budget, so get hand-me-downs and just make sure you wash and clean them first.

Clothes and the baby carrier can be thrown in the wash (check for specific washing instructions) – and most high chairs come with detachable trays that can be loaded into the dishwasher. The chair itself should be disinfected and wiped down with antibacterial wipes. These wipes are a great choice as they are nontoxic, plant-based and biodegradable. Plus, if you like their whole line of cleaning products, make sure you use a Giggle coupon code when you order. Peace of mind doesn’t often come cheap, so stock up!

2. Know what’s safer to buy.

Not everything should be borrowed. For your child’s safety, there are some items that simply must be purchased new. Cribs and strollers need to be up-to-code in terms of safety, so you don’t want to risk getting a loaner crib that could endanger your baby. Toys are another big concern. Used toys have the potential to carry bed bugs and bacteria within the fabric, which could be passed to your child.

3. Know what and how to clean.

Not everything can be thrown in the washing machine, and not everything needs to be disinfected by hand. Small plastic toys (that do not require batteries) can go in the dishwasher. Toys with batteries can be cleaned on the exterior with soap and water and then wiped down using a bleach solution. Larger plastic toys can be cleaned the same way as small battery-operated plastic toys. Any fabric item should be thrown in the wash. Make sure everything that you clean is cleaned consistently, once a month would work, and immediately following any illnesses your child has, or after playdates with other children.

4. Know when to relax.

While you should be regularly cleaning your baby’s things, there’s no need to go overboard. It’s easy to worry about the unknown, and all of the scary potential illnesses your baby could be exposed to, but obsessing about it isn’t going to get you anywhere. Do the best you can, with the time you have allotted. And try to enjoy all of those special moments with your baby in between cleaning tasks. Your baby will be a full-sized adult before you know it!

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Health Insurance Shopping Tips

by Sandra Gordon on September 30, 2013

If you don’t get health insurance through your employer, your spouse’s employer, or a parent if you’re 26 or younger, you can start enrolling yourself and your baby in health insurance offered through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a.k.a. “Obamacare” on October 1, 2013. Even though coverage under Obamacare doesn’t start until January 1, 2014, now’s the time to start shopping. “Health care reform is awesome. It’s the first federal oversight of a completely non-federally regulated industry in 100 years,” says Katherine Woodfield, an insurance expert and author of Don’t Buy THAT Health Insurance: Become an Educated Health Care Consumer. New insurance marketplaces or “exchanges” will be available in every state. “The ACA is going to give self-employed people access to a lot more plans,” Woodfield says. And small companies will be forced to offer their employees health insurance or pay a penalty. Shopping for health insurance is going to be like walking into a giant shoe store, Woodfield says. She offers these quick tips for simplifying the health care shopping process:

  1. Focus on health plans with the highest deductible. Obamacare will offer four plan types: Bronze (60 percent of health care costs covered, with the lowest premium), followed by Silver (70 percent covered), Gold (80 percent) and Platinum (90 percent of costs covered, with the highest premium). To save money, Woodfield suggests choosing health plans in the Bronze plan category. “As consumers, we often think that if we pay more for insurance, more stuff will be covered,” Woodfield says. “It rarely works that way. Usually you just pay more.” Here’s why: Plans with lower deductibles typically cost more in terms of a monthly premium. That’s money that automatically goes right out of your pocket. If you’re otherwise healthy, however, you may not necessarily use your health insurance enough to justify paying a hefty premium, especially given that all well-child care and preventive visits, such as mammograms are immunizations are free. Under Obamacare, there’s no copay or deductible for them. And even if you’re not as healthy as you’d like to be, all Obamacare plans have a $6,350 out-of-pocket annual maximum for an individual or $12,700 for a family, with the exception of the Platinum plan, which has an out-of-pocket annual maximum of $4,000 for an individual and $8,000 for a family.Instead of buying the highest premium plan, think less is more. Woodfield suggests putting what you’d otherwise pay in a monthly premium into a health savings account or personal savings account, then pay for health care as you go, just like you do for groceries or gas. With a lower-premium plan, you’ll still be covered for major medical expenses, with a cap of $12,700.
  2. Choose a health plan with providers you currently use. In other words, don’t pay more for a health insurance plan with a wider network of doctors you don’t need yet. “I’ve heard people say, if I get cancer, I want to be able to go to such and such a hospital,’” Woodfield says. That’s not a good use of your health care dollars. “You don’t need to buy insurance for a disease you don’t have, for providers you haven’t even contacted yet,” Woodfield says.
  3. Be prepared to shop around. Policy prices can vary greatly among insurers for essentially the same coverage. Don’t assume that a low price automatically means lesser coverage, or that all carriers within a plan type offer the same coverage.

There’s a lot to know about the ACA, so be sure to visit www.healthcare.gov. Consumer Reports also has a really helpful website, www.HealthLawHelper.org. Check out Woodfield’s site, too: http://healthcare-insurance-education.com.

 

 

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What products helped you survive new babydom?

by Sandra Gordon on September 27, 2013

GoogarooAttention baby-gear gurus: What products helped you survive life with a new baby? If you have just the thing(s), pin them.

Googaro, a subscription box service that delivers the highest-quality, full-size products for children 0-3 years of age, is launching a contest on Pinterest allowing followers to help determine the best products for new and expecting parents to be included in a special edition New Mom Survival Box. Entrants can submit products for consideration for a chance to win a free month subscription of Googaro. The contest runs September 25 through October 27.

To enter, simply follow Googaro on Pinterest and create a board called “Googaro New Mom Survival Box.” Then, pin images of the products you couldn’t live without as a new mom, with the hashtag #Googaro. The special edition box will be curated by Googaro from the Pinterest boards and will be available for purchase from December 2013 through February 2014.

What’s Googaro? Every month Googaro subscribers receive a box filled with new and exciting high-end toys, books, snacks and household products that are tailored to a child’s age and gender, with the occasional surprise thrown in for mom and dad. Beginning in December 2013, for a limited time, Googaro will create a mom-sourced box that contains the must-have items for new and expecting parents.

“It’s so important that each Googaro box contains the most beneficial products for a baby, and everything we include is recommended by moms and are tested and tried by friends and family,” said Meghna Prasad, Co-Founder and CEO of Googaro. “Pinterest allows us to hear what worked for a much larger group of highly qualified experts ­ moms and dads across the country! We’re excited to find out what parents swear by when raising a child so we can curate the perfect box that allows moms and dads to focus their energy on enjoying parenthood rather than researching products.”

Three, six and twelve-month subscriptions are available at googaro.com for newborns to toddlers age 3. A three-month subscription retails for $35/month, a six-month subscription retails for $32/month (with one month free), and a 12-month subscription retails for $32/month (with one month free). Join by November 26 to receive a New Mom Survival box in time for the holidays. Estimated retail price of the crowdsourced box will be in the $35-$50 range, depending on items selected.

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Name Your Baby Products Prices on Greentoe.com

by Sandra Gordon on September 23, 2013

greentoeIf you’re in the market for a car seat, stroller, baby monitor or a high chair, etc, check out Greentoe.com.  Greentoe.com allows you to negociate with baby product retailers, with Greentoe as the go-between, and name your price on baby products, within reason. Greentoe.com shoppers save an average of about 20 percent off retail. All offers include taxes (if they apply in your state to online shopping) and shipping. I wrote about Greentoe.com for Consumer Reports ShopSmart. Here’s a link to the post: http://www.shopsmartmag.org/2013/09/a-new-way-to-haggleonline-.html. As you’ll see from my ShopSmart post, certain guidelines apply to using the site, so be sure to do what I suggest; that is, to be reasonable with the price you name and try to get in green or orange on the price gauge.

Baby products are just one of five product categories that Greentoe.com specializes in. To sign up, visit www.greentoe.com.

Oh, and one more thing: To get $20 off your first purchase, put “coupon20″ in the coupon code box.  Happy haggling!

 

 

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Check Out the Guardian Angel Shockproof Outlet Cover

by Sandra Gordon on July 12, 2013

Safety_outlet_coverSponsored Post

What is it about electrical outlets and toddlers? I’ll never forget the day my then 2-year-old daughter, Rebecca, stuck a knife from our utensil drawer in an electrical outlet in our kitchen. Fortunately, I was able to get to Rebecca before anything bad happened. I was right there; I had looked away for just a second. Still, I was shocked that Rebecca’s toddler fingers were nimble enough to remove the plastic outlet cover–like the one picture, right–we used back then to shield her from the outlet. And how did she get hold of the knife? That classic childproofing near-catastrophy taught me a big lesson–that toddlers may not be able to tell you what they’re thinking, but they’re always looking for ways to learn about the world—and they’re fast, too.

After I started writing about child safety, I got a call one day from a parent who told me his toddler nearly choked on a plastic outlet cover—the same one I used too. As it turns out, not only can these simple covers draw toddlers to outlets and produce a potentially dangerous electrical shock if they mess with them, they’re a choking hazard. There’s got to be a better way to limit the risk of injury to small children from household electric outlets.

Enter the Guardian Angel Shockproof Outlet. This “smart” outlet cover has a sensor that turns off the electricity if something that inappropriately conducts electricity, like a table knife, gets too close to it. The outlet cover is easy to install. You simply unscrew the regular outlet face plates in your home and replace them with the Guardian Angel Shockproof Outlets. For more information about this ingenious outlet cover, which is “currently” seeking Kickstarter funding, and to see a video demonstration, visit
http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/guardian-angel-shockproof-outlet/.

 

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It’s road-trip season and if you’ve got a baby and a car, you’ll want to do everything you can to protect your child from injury in the event of a crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crashes are the leading killer of kids ages 1 to 12 years old.

At a recent baby products trade show, one car seat manufacturer’s rep told me that one of the biggest car seat mistakes new parents make is turning around a rear-facing convertible car seat too soon (a convertible car seat is the next-stage car seat after an infant car seat, which most babies outgrow by 9 to 12 months). “Parents say things like, ‘I have a big boy and I want to see him,’” the rep said. Sound familiar?

Ideally, you’ll should keep your child rear facing in his convertible car seat until age 2, while following the manufacturer’s height and weight recommendations. Height and weight limits are posted on the side or back of your child’s car seat.Crashes are violent things. In a frontal collision, which is the most common type of car crash, children will be thrust forward. Kids who ride in rear-facing seats have the maximum protection for the head, neck and spine. The shell of the seat behind them will offer support and help keep them from hitting the interior of the car, which is a leading cause of injury in a crash, according to Kristy Arbogast, Ph.D., the Engineering Core Director at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Seat strategy: Keep your under-age-2 child turned around. You won’t be able to see your child’s face. (Don’t attach a mirror to the back seat so you can see your child either. It can become projectile in a crash.) But at least you’ll know you child is riding as safely as possible.

Visit www.safercar.gov for helpful tips on car seat installation. Visit www.safercar.gov for helpful tips on car seat installation.

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