Has it truly been 30 years since Safety 1st debuted its Baby on Board sign? I remember, back in my B.C. (before child) days, when I noticed these signs proudly posted in mini vans as they jetted around town. OK, I wondered, why the need to announce your precious cargo? When I later became a mom myself, I realized why so many like-minded parents wanted to alert their fellow drivers to the importance of safe motoring. While today, car designs may have become more sleek and parents, even savvier, one thing remain the same: our children’s safety is always top of mind. That’s why we’re helping celebrate the 30th anniversary of Safety 1st’s Baby on Board with the unveiling of its Digital Baby on Board sign. In recognition of doing your part in helping to ensure children’s safety, Safety 1st is awarding one lucky fan with a pair of diamond earrings for agreeing to its Diamond Promise. Good luck, and safe travels!
Tomorrow marks my most favorite day of the year…after Christmas and my birthday, of course. The summer solstice promises to be a sunny and beautiful one. Naturally, that means plenty of time spent outdoors…and plenty of sunscreen. I’m not taking any chances with my kids, having gone through enough skin cancer treatments to keep me forever under a wide-brimmed hat and in long sleeves. They’ll be slathered in sunscreen from head to toe, whether they like it or not! Because we go through so much sunscreen over the course of the summer, I like to stock up on well-made products that go the distance, rather than settle for an inexpensive drugstore brand. Elemental Herbs All Good Kids Sunscreen is a high-quality product that deserves a closer look. The SPF 33 zinc oxide sunscreen touts a new-and-improved formula that now includes calendula and camomile for a calming effective, along with sunflower oil, which is rich in vitamin E. Did we mention that it’s hypoallergenic and PABA-free? Truly good-for-your skin protection, and it smells great, too.
In a Nutshell: Skin protection is all the rage. Make it a safe summer with your kids with a sunscreen that offers full coverage and the added bonus of great-smelling skin.
It’s hard to believe it, but Memorial Day weekend is already here. (After a seemingly endless winter, I wasn’t sure we were going to make it!). As the unofficial start to summer kicks off, that means plenty of sun, sand…and boo-boos. No matter where or how your family spends its days over the next few months, there’s bound to be a few bumps, cuts or scrapes and that means stocking up on bandages (Lord knows how many boxes we have stashed away on our medicine cabinet). How fitting then that Band-Aid would come out with Our Veteran Heroes bandages in time for the start of the summer season. Available in a stars & stripes motif, as well as an urban camouflage style, these specially designed bandages offer the same protection as regular bandages, while letting you show off your patriotic spirit. For each box purchased, Band-Aid will make a donation to Team Red, White & Blue, an organization that seeks to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to people in their community through physical and social activity. We’d call that a ‘feel-good’ purchase for sure.
In a Nutshell: Wear your pride on your sleeve…or wherever needed with these patriotic bandages that show you’re proud to be an American.
A show of hands: How many of you swaddle your baby? If you’re a new mom looking for a way to comfort your little one, you’ve probably heard about the benefits of swaddling (how it can help babies fall asleep and stay asleep). But what you may not know is that the more natural way for your baby to sleep isn’t with her arms at her side, but with her arms UP. Studies have shown that giving babies access to their arms and hands enables them to self-soothe, and may help prevent them from rolling onto their tummies. While we’ve seen quite a few swaddling blankets on the market, there wasn’t any particular product that supported this type of design…until now. Enter Love To…Swaddle UP from Love To Dream, a Australian-based company whose product is launching this spring in the States. We were recently given a sneak peek at the Love To Dream collection and meet Hana Krawchuk, the woman behind the brand. The Aussie mom of two and former fashion designer invented the swaddling line when she couldn’t find a product that enabled her own children to soothe themselves when swaddled. Her ingenious, one-zip design covers Baby’s hands, while giving plenty of room to move and access their cheeks, so they can comfort themselves during naptime. The breathable fabric enables little ones to rest comfortably without the risk of overheating: a big difference from the multilayer designs we’ve seen in other blankets. We also adore the one-zipper design that makes diaper changing less of a hassle. The Love To Swaddle UP product family includes Stage 1 for ages 0-4 months in three different styles (Original, Organic and Lite), along with the Swaddle UP 50/50 blanket for 4-8 months. This transitional product is ideal for older babies who are getting ready to move from a swaddling blanket to a more independent sleep sack, letting moms unzip one arm at a time. It’s a brilliant solution to help babies develop and grow at their own pace, while giving moms and dads a chance to enjoy the journey of new parenthood without the stress.
In a Nutshell: A swaddling line that doesn’t unravel, so new moms won’t come undone. The Love To Dream swaddling collection will be arriving in U.S. stores later this spring and are also available online.
When my niece was a baby, my sister kept tabs on her with what today can only be described as an antiquated baby monitor. The reception was scratchy; the sound quality, mostly static; and on occasion, we could pick up snippets of her next-door neighbor’s conversation. Sure, it gave us a few laughs, but this product was hardly a useful parenting tool. That was nearly two decades ago, and my niece is now a college sophomore. Like so much of the baby products world, it’s amazing how advanced certain categories may become, especially baby monitors. No longer only audio-based, these products offer video capabilities of the highest quality, many of which can be managed remotely: a huge plus for the parent anxious to keep a close eye on their little one. But, does all that technology come with a steep learning curve? We asked our dad tester and new parent Chris Hart to put the Ovia Video Monitor through its paces, and see if its usefulness outweighed its installation. After a brief and relatively painless set-up, he had the monitor up and running without issue. Recognizing this as a true plug-and-play machine, he loved the “idiot-proof” tags, indicating which plug goes into which device. “The controls are easy to operate, and the resolution is great,” praises Chris of the 4.3-inch LCD screen. “The sound is awesome; I loved being able to talk [to my daughter] from the other room.” He also gives the Ovia Video Monitor‘s camera points for picking up sound well, and that taking pictures and video were a snap. If he could change anything, Chris suggests a longer cord for the camera in case he wanted to mount it on the wall. On the positive, he likes that it’s lightweight and easy to travel with: a nice perk for a getaway with the family.
In a Nutshell: If you’re in the market for a hi-tech baby monitor, we’ve got one that’s easy to install and works like a charm.
There is no one who knows sleep deprivation like a new parent. Back in the day, when my girls were infants, I was lucky if I could manage 3-4 hours a night in those first few months. (And anyone who told me to “nap when they nap” never offered to do come do my laundry or wash my dishes either.) What I also heard a lot about was the key to getting your baby to sleep better and longer, and that was swaddling. I admit to trying to following the steps that the hospital nurse had demonstrated, but by the time when we were settled in at home, it turned out I was all thumbs and I gave up shortly thereafter. Lucky for us, our new dad tester, Chris Hart, the proud father of a month-old baby girl, was game to try out a new swaddling blanket that came our way. Unfazed by turning his daughter into a willing test subject, Chris unrolled the Bamboo Miracle Blanket and got right down to business. He praises the Miracle Blanket for being “super soft” and for having “great instructions”–a big plus if you consider yourself challenged in the baby gear assembly department. After Chris practiced with the Miracle Blanket a few times, Chris got the hang of it and describes the product as being “very easy to use.” Because this bamboo blanket is made from a breathable fabric knit, it’s ideal for warm climates (like Chris’ family who lives in Southern California), as well as cooler areas. Because his baby was just three weeks old when first swaddled in the Miracle Blanket, her little legs and feet kept popping out of the openings, but Chris thinks that may become a non-issue as she grows. “If your baby is very fussy or needs to swaddled well, the Miracle Blanket will be the go-to swaddle, hands down,” he reports. Hopefully, that translates into more shuteye…for everyone.
In a Nutshell: Sweet dreams are made of this. A swaddling blanket that makes Baby snug and secure.
(Note: The photo featured below was supplied by Miracle Blanket and is not of our tester’s baby. But from what we know, she is just as cute.)
Today marks our third snowfall of the season, and it’s not even Christmas! The very thought of getting through winter while traversing our local, windy roads with kids in tow gives me the shivers. Keeping them safe is my job as a parent, so I want to be sure I make the right decisions, and that includes keeping them buckled up in the right safety seats. Because my 9-year-old is on the petite side, she still rides on a booster seat, as does her 5-year-old sister. As you can imagine, being “almost double digits” means not wanting to feel like a little kid. But that doesn’t mean forgoing what’s important, like your life. Fortunately, some booster seat manufacturers recognize this desire for style, while still maintaining security in their new product designs. As its name suggests, the Safety 1st Incognito Kid Positioning Seat lets passenger ride inconspicuously, thanks to its sleek style and under-the-radar design. Because it ensures proper seat-belt positioning, you won’t have any slouchers in your car. It’s available in black, dark grey, grey and tan, and can accommodate kids 60-120 lbs. and up to 60 inches. And if you’re all about celebrating the cool factor, then check out the new line tokidoki for clek. It’s a standard size booster seat, and comes in three Japanese anime patterns that ooze cool factor: Travel, Rebel and All Over. This is one booster seat that seems to proclaim, “I’m here: alive and well.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
In a Nutshell: Don’t skimp on safety this holiday season. With these super-cool booster seats, your big kid can travel in style the whole year through.
This Sunday marks the end of Daylight Savings Time, and not a moment too soon. I don’t know about you, but Halloween has left me a bit pooped out. (Show of hands: How many of your kids could barely make it to the bus stop this morning?) That extra hour of sleep will surely come in handy this weekend, especially after we all crash from the post trick-or-treating sugar high. As you find yourselves turning on the lights a bit earlier, consider stocking up on Cree LED bulbs. These energy-efficient light bulbs are long-lasting, shatter-proof and don’t contain any mercury (a big plus for households with young kids). And if you happen to be dining by candlelight this weekend, be sure to check out Yankee Candle’s Thanksgiving Dinner Collection. Available in three limited-edition fragrances–Turkey With Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce and Sweet Potato Pie–these make ideal hostess gifts and complement any Thanksgiving dinner table. And did we mention they’re calorie-free? Now you’ll have to excuse me while I go polish a few more Milky Ways.
In a Nutshell: Don’t forget to turn back your clocks this Sunday, November 3rd; switch on some energy-efficient lights and sit down to a candlelight dinner with some Thanksgiving-inspired scents.
I continue to be amazed by design innovation in baby products. Not unlike the technology advances in smartphones, tablets and other devices, the look becomes sleeker, the products credit-card thin. Following in these footsteps is the latest in high chair design, Mima moon chair (distributed by Muak Baby) is getting lots of early buzz. We got wind of the product that everyone will be talking about at next month’s ABC Expo, and think it will quickly join the ranks of must-have baby gear. It’s one of those items that you can begin using right away: first as a newborn lounger (with a support pillow), next as a high chair for 6 months and up and then as a booster seat (simply by removing the upper seat). The ultra-thin design is a plus for kitchens where space is precious, while its stylish appearance meshes with contemporary decor. All the other bells and whistles are part of the package, including height adjustment via the push of a button, multiple reclining positions and a five-point safety harness. Moon is one seat worth savoring, for the baby years and beyond. It will be available in the U.S. in November.
In a Nutshell: Blast off, baby. Here’s the latest and greatest in high chair design that new moms (and babies) will be over the moon for.
Summer doesn’t officially begin until Friday, and we’re already off to a buggy start. I can play connect the dots on my 9-year-old’s upper arm, and my 5-year-old has a welt the size of a half-dollar. And that’s only from playing outside one afternoon. Since I definitely get a little kooky when the bugs come out in full force, I do my best to protect my girls from these pesky critters. Because many of the leading brands I’ve tried haven’t quite lived up to the hype, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to try something new. And I’m really glad I did. Fairy Tales Bug Bandit is my go-to weapon in the battle of the bugs. This pesticide- and DEET-free natural bug repellent that smells good as it works. Scented with rosemary oil, citronella, lemongrass and other natural ingredients, it’s a great combination of outdoor elements and fresh-from-the-garden fragrances. One whiff of this spray, and I was instantly transported to a summer night on the porch, fireflies buzzing about (and not a bite in sight). Both my daughters were willing test participants, so I dosed them with plenty of spray before heading out to play. I’m happy to report that no new nips have been taken out of their tender skin. And that makes for a welcome start to a happy, scratch-free summer.
In a Nutshell: Give bugs the brush-off with a natural insect repellent that gets the job done. Perfect for camp days, beach days and anytime the kids are outdoors.