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Great new family products?
July 29, 2008 10:58 AM   Subscribe

Parents: what are your favorite newish tools of the trade? I'm helping to research a magazine article, trying to identify really great products new to the market in the past 18 months or so that make parents' lives easier. What recent discoveries have you made?

I've been working on this off and on for days and have a nice list going, stuff like nonchafing facial tissue, all-natural sanitizer, flash-drive ID tags ... but the perfectionist side of me is sure MeFiers can hip me to things I'm missing, especially since I'm not directly in the parenting trenches myself and I'm not sure how practical some of these things are. Toys, gear, media, clothes, health products, I think the field is wide open ... thanks for any suggestions, no matter how trivial they may seem!
posted by Camofrog to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
The only two items that have had a large and positive impact on our daughter are:

1. We had a previous version of the Fisher-Price Papsan swing, which was a god-send for the first few weeks of trying to get the whole house and family to rest. Nothing put our daughter, Sofia, to sleep as well as this. (Sorry, folks: we gave it to another new family for their son.)

2. Ribbies hair clips. Get them online, or at Target, like we do. No other hair bow or clip works so well and stays in place in our 18-month-old's curly hair.
posted by fijiwriter at 11:10 AM on July 29, 2008


Aerosol sunblock. It's less greasy so the kids complain a lot less when you put it on. Also it's less greasy on your hands. On the downside, I think you end up paying several times the price for the old-fashioned kind when measured by # of applications. But I guess that's older than 18 months probably.

How about BPA-free metal water bottles? Not really new either but in the last 18 month they've become really widely available. We use them all the time.

Oh, and hand-pumped flashlights. There's one particular cheap model that I see in tourist shops everywhere that my daughter has. It's actually a reasonable decent LED-based flashlight and as long as you don't mind the noise you get a lot of light without worrying about eating a lot of batteries. Good for camping.
posted by GuyZero at 11:19 AM on July 29, 2008


I don't have one but these are neat little bracelets for medical and contact info. I.D. ME.

Aerosol sunblock is very convenient. I find the spray pump sunblock is just as convenient, but less expensive.

I think sun protective clothing is awesome. Sunbusterskids.com

I like the waterproof sheets/blankets. They are blue and disposable. You can take them to the beach and on picnics. I line my trunk with one to prevent the beach sand from sticking everywhere. I know some parents put them under the kids car seats to protect back seats. I can't think of the brand. They are very handy. They are a lot less expensive than this nice one.

Not too new but I love twist up crayons. No more breakage!

Also this Kid Alert SLOW man. I put in my front driveway every time my little kids skateboard and ride their bikes in the front street.

Oh, and hand-pumped flashlights. There's one particular cheap model that I see in tourist shops everywhere that my daughter has. It's actually a reasonable decent LED-based flashlight and as long as you don't mind the noise you get a lot of light without worrying about eating a lot of batteries. Good for camping.

Yes! We just bought two of these for our kids. We took them with us on our last camping trip this Spring. They love winding them. They entertain.
posted by LoriFLA at 11:36 AM on July 29, 2008


N'thing everything above, also, I haven't bought it yet but I am going to get this diaperbag/seat combo. Also, since the big BPA scare it is easier and cheaper to get glass baby bottles.
posted by saucysault at 11:48 AM on July 29, 2008


Funny that everybody is loving the spray-on sunblock, since that was the example the assigning editor gave me for the kind of thing I'm looking for!
posted by Camofrog at 12:15 PM on July 29, 2008


Also, in the everything-old-is-new-again file, fish oil has made a big comeback. Except now it's in flavourless capsules or lemon-flavoured oil that can be mixed into orange juice. Omega fatty acids are apparently important in brain development so it's the hot new supplement de jour, at least among the parent I knew in Toronto. We've basically gone back to the days of giving kids a spoonful of cod liver oil with a high-tech twist.
posted by GuyZero at 12:30 PM on July 29, 2008


Funny that everybody is loving the spray-on sunblock

They also have sunblock that looks like stick of deodorant. You just rub it all over wherever and you don't get any on your hands. We sent that with our kids to camp. Plus it won't explode in their bags!
posted by GuyZero at 12:32 PM on July 29, 2008


Safetytat

Take Good Care of my Baby
posted by lysdexic at 2:42 PM on July 29, 2008


Maybe not to newish, but a digital camera was and is probably the best thing to have on hand. Not so much for the kid, but for 8 bazillion pictures parents take.
posted by ducktape at 4:08 PM on July 29, 2008


I don't have much that's constructive to add -- most of the kids' products we use are more of the tried-and-true variety -- but I just wanted to say the example products you linked to are somewhere between unnecessary and ridiculous. "Boogie Wipes" are more or less everyday baby wipes in new packaging, presumably with a higher price tag. Sanitizer is no more effective at preventing illness and infection than soap and water. Unless your kid has specific medical issues or life-threatening allergies, the ID tag seems like overkill. An article full of these kinds of products will read like so-much publicists' hype. Make sure you're featuring stuff that's actually worthwhile.
posted by libraryhead at 6:30 PM on July 29, 2008


I just thought of a couple things:

One truly new product (within the last couple years) for babies is G Diapers, which are flushable and ostensibly better for the environment. Alas, we didn't find them to work too well and they're considerably more expensive than disposables or cloth.

Strollers have also drastically improved in recent years, with Bugaboo and its many imitators coming out with solidly engineered vehicles that are a pleasure to drive vs. the rickety plastic junk from Graco and the like.
posted by libraryhead at 6:36 PM on July 29, 2008


Rechargeable batteries that don't lose their charge in storage. I use eneloop and vapex branded ones - they are great for toys that don't get played with that often.
posted by bystander at 8:05 PM on July 29, 2008


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