Pfff. Not only the elections in the US are behind us, our own elections are too! Yesterday morning, after a bad night’s sleep I got up early, picked up our intern Hanae from the train station and went to the NH hotel in Naarden with a car full of baby products for D-day; the day of the jury. Every year again it is a huge organization, but oh so much fun to do! Once arrived, we presented all entries as good as possible with as many available hands as possible (thank you to Trix, Hanae and our drivers) on a couple of big tables. An hour later, the jury came in excited, apart from one or two, a whole bunch of new women like Yaelle, Marianne and Mira with their PR and Fashion agencies, Catelijne and Thea of the consumers magazines Ouders van nu (Today’s Parents) and Kinderen (Children) and sidekick Patricia van Liemt of Qmusic, as a mom and author. We were accompanied by Mieke from Veiligheid.nl (Safety) who pointed us at possible risks of products and by Janneke who critically looked at the designs and user-friendliness. And well, I am here to keep all and everyone on the right path and to emphasize that it is all about innovation, however beautiful the products may look, it’s all about innovation, innovation, innovation! The morning was reserved to look through every product, touch it and try it, the afternoon was reserved for requested demos of products that were in the category: ‘extra complicated’. After this ‘product speed dating’, it was time to compare products but also to fiercely discuss them. We closed the day late in the afternoon with 19 wonderful nominations divided into 6 categories. This afternoon the nominated are informed and from tomorrow on the nominations can be found on http://www.babyinnovationaward.nl. So I cannot spoil it for you. And after this it’s up to the moms and the Ouders van Nu jury day, as well as the online voters!
This Baby Mop Suit makes your baby help in the household! American Mike Parker saw a Chinese video and decided to make a product of this idea. For 40 dollars the ‘Baby Mop Suit’ is for sale on Betterhanpants.com. He states five reasons why you should buy this suit: 1. You teach your baby a strong labour ethos in an early stage. 2. You teach your baby not to spill any food. 3. Your baby gets a good workout, burns energy and makes its muscles stronger and he/she will sleep better. 4. You don’t have to clean the floor yourself. 5. You save money on cleaning agents. The reactions that Mike gets are very different; ‘Your product is offensive, what a ridiculous product’, ‘What ever happened to letting your baby just be a baby?’ ‘Do you do them in adult sizes for when my hubbie crawls back from the pub?’ ‘This just seems like a terrible idea, why not just sweep up a pile of trash on your floor and let your kid crawl through that!’ But also: ‘Come on people, it’s a cute idea. Nothing wrong with a little humour here. It is not harming your baby in any way.’ Lets keep it with a joke indeed, it’s perfectly suitable for funny but weird Halloween suits…
What’s the best moment for the first set of shoes for your child? When it really can set its first steps? Or right before that? If it was up to the child itself, there wouldn’t be any shoes at all, experts state. Because for good contact with the floor, walking on bare feet is the best for the development. That is why leather slippers are ideal because these suit the baby feet in the best possible way. The flexible leather forms well around the fragile baby feet, the rough sole of suede gives extra grip for the first steps on slippery floors. Baby Dutch is a supplier of baby slippers, and sells these funny iShoe baby slippers with a fabric design with all social media-icons on silver coloured leather.
Instead of all these plastic toys that aren’t really developed with a lot of fantasy, you can also offer your child something different. I used to love to work with crafts as a child and my children have spent quite some Wednesday afternoons playing with clays, cutting, drawing and painting till they got tired and rather spent some time on the computer. The crafts equipment was later stored in the closet and only came out once or twice when a project or poster needed to be made. I was immediately charmed by the new brand Paper Town. Not really for babies but lots of fun if your child grows a little older! These houses, playgrounds, gas stations, warehouses, cars and buses are inspired by the Polish city life, and are designed by Robert Czajka. Paper Town is available in 3 different sets, which you can combine. One set contains four plates of recycled cardboard with lively colour prints. Everything is punched into cardboard and easily pressed out and folded in each other. Glue or tools aren’t necessary, so it seems suitable for children who are not that creative too.
At the beginning of September, Stokke already provided us with a preview, but it had to remain a secret until the official introduction. And that moment has come! Stokke has just launched two new models of prams: the Stokke Crusi and the Stokke Scoot. Prior to their unveiling, Suzanne Zeedyk appeared at the press conference in Naarden. Zeedyk has been conducting scientific research for 25 years, and is currently studying the innate capability of babies to communicate with their parents from the very start of their lives. Babies are social creatures, and their brains will not develop sufficiently when they do not experience any interaction with others! Zeedyk therefore states that every designer of baby products should be aware of this. This fits perfectly to Stokke’s vision, which sets the interaction between babies and their parents in the center of attention (think of the Stokke Xplory!). The all new Stokke Crusi seems to be the most conventional of the two. We have been told that with this pram, unlike with most other prams, not the frame but the seat itself is in the center of attention. It is indeed quite large with its 80 cm in length, and on top of that it has a nice finish. The carriage can be used as a carry cot, a seat, a car seat and – with an optional sibling seat – as a duo pram, when you are blessed with two children in a short period of time. When using the last option however, the baby at the bottom is directly facing the other seat. This does not make complete sense to me, after hearing Zeedyk’s views…
Parents searching for a more ‘on the go’ model, might prefer the Stokke Scoot. This pram is compact, lightweight and easily foldable with just one hand. Because of the high position of its seat, which can also be turned around to face the other way, this pram also fits to a high table in a café or a restaurant. It seems to be the ideal companion for traveling, doing some shopping or in public transport.
Doing groceries with your baby, how do you do it? Walking with your stroller and a shopping cart, pushing both at the same time? Or do you put your baby in the messy-looking seat of the shopping cart? And something else I often see: babies in a car seat that is put on top of the seat of the shopping cart. Whenever I see this, I cannot help to point out to the parents that this is a very unstable and dangerous situation. There has been an accident once where the car seat with the baby fell on the ground and the baby died.
Doing groceries is not my favourite thing to do. In my home life we do that once a week at most, even when my children were babies. Then there was always someone at home to take care of our babies. If I forgot something anyways, then I would manage just fine with my stroller. However, I needed to be careful not to buy groceries that were too big and wouldn’t fit in the little shopping basket of the stroller. For every mother who does like to do groceries with her baby, the Pippi Carrier from Kleine Dreumes is a very useful discovery. A very smart set of tubes that can easily be transformed into a stable frame that fits every shopping cart whenever you need it! On top of this frame you can secure the car seat safely with safety belts. When the groceries and your child are safe and sound back in the car, you can store the Pippi in the bag that is included.
Did you know that potty training nowadays starts at a much later age than about 40 years ago? Nowadays children go potty at an average age of 2.5 years, while in the past this was already the case on an age of 18 months. This has to do with more tolerant parents, among other things, but also with the longer use of disposable diapers, according to experts. These diapers are so absorbing that children don’t even notice anymore that they wet their pants. Good business for the manufacturers of disposable diapers! Perhaps this ‘intelligent potty’ can help with getting your child potty trained faster. It’s a potty that makes the sound of flowing water when you’re peeing, so your child is more motivated to pee everything out. And when your child is done, there is a positive reinforcement by means of a message from mom or dad! On a potty like this, it should be easy to get your child potty trained faster. By the way, I do not fit in the target group. No matter what I suggested, my children just skipped the entire potty phase. They didn’t want to go potty, but just on the toilet for ‘big people’ instead!
I was pleasantly surprised when I found furniture of Beaneasy on the Kind und Jugend-trade fair in Cologne a couple of years ago. Finally something completely new in the furniture industry! The designer wondered why all furniture was so rectangular and angular, and he got inspired by furniture with round edges, resembling an unborn baby in the womb.
This year I got surprised again. Among the enormous baby and children furniture collection in the set white high gloss oak, with some rare natural wood or whitewash room, I found the designs of the young designers team of GloriaLavi. Since their start last year, they want to convince the market and so the parents that nice furniture designs is possible from birth on. From their drawing table their first designs arose: a rocking crib (Lavi Dreamer), a crib on wheels (Lavi Cruiser) and a crib that you can attach to the big bed (Lavi Buddy). Keywords of their design: aesthetic, functional, modern, timeless and environmental friendly. No mass production, but rather small editions. Made by German craftsmen and of an excellent quality.
Is a baby intercom necessary? On www.sciencepalooza.nl when you click on the header ‘Big momma is watching you’, pedagogue Peter Hoffenaar introduces a study that was done in the United States, in which parents were projected as a group of women who rather trust a flashing light than their own nurture instincts. I couldn’t resist making a comment on this:
‘Smartphones, second screens, one-year-olds playing with an iPad and watching YouTube-clips. You cannot imagine a modern family without the new media. In times like these, a baby intercom should just be seen as a significant tool to ease your mind. Nothing more and nothing less, and there shouldn’t be too big of a fuss about it. For babies needing some extra care, a baby intercom with a movement monitor can be a great invention. The ‘thank you’ notes of parents sent to suppliers are proof of this. Regularly we get the question of a supplier why everyone is making a fuss about it in the Netherlands. As if these types of baby intercoms would make parents lazy or overprotective. A baby intercom will never replace the nurturing eye of the parent. That parents are caring and insecure has always been the case. In the past, mothers, grandmothers and aunts were the one to turn to with questions. Now parents search for answers on the Internet. It is also a matter of good verbal instructions, as well as online. But please let parents decide for themselves what is good and what is not for their own children. They are mature enough for that.’
So now you know how I feel about this subject. I only used the baby intercom now and then myself, most of the time when I was visiting the neighbours for a minute. There was always noise on and sometimes I even heard sounds from another house and yes, I trusted my own gut feeling. But back then, all baby intercoms worked the same way and current technologies didn’t exist yet… That is why I like to see this innovation: The BabyPing! A wireless baby intercom where you can hear and see the baby, using today’s already existing technology: the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. This new Wi-Fi baby intercom is easy to install and to use. There is no need for a computer, everything can be done directly from the iOS device and the free app. Via a full screen you can watch the baby (even at night) and something else very useful: you can make pictures with it and safe them!
Recently I received this press release: It is better for toddlers under the age of two, to not watch TV. (Source: Gazet van Antwerpen) On request of the Belgium minister of health and wellbeing, scientists and experts concluded this from a study. Of course we already knew, but now it is scientifically funded. The tips are supplied to caretakers, schools and families, but also to the international news. Fathers and mothers do good by keeping their kids and toddlers away from the TV, iPad or computer and to let them play, jump and experience adventures, preferably in fresh air! This is not a problem in summer, but this brings a lot of mud and grumpiness during the rainy seasons, let alone all the dirty clothes that need to be washed. The new sand suit of Hopsan is a revelation (I received this by chance on the same day). It is made of 100% strong cotton, it breathes, is moisture repellent as well as moisturizing, and offers protection against sand, wind and rain. A nice detail: there are useful loops attached to the suit where you can attach your scoop and rake on. Once at home with your little sandman or woman: strip the suit, bump out and hang it out till the next time!