The importance of eye contact with babies

babytrendwatcher  oogcontact baby riemersmaDr. Suzanne Zeedyk has been doing 25 years of scientific research and studies about the innate ability of babies to communicate with parents from the very beginning. A science that designers of baby products should know before they develop baby products, says Zeedyk. Zeedyk is fascinated by the emotional development of a child’s very first years and how this affects the long term. It is about the emotional security, confidence and trust in others and relationships. To directly link this to prams and buggy’s: ‘Neuroscience of strollers and buggy’s, how buggy’s shape brains and how this leads to the science of designing for baby’s’, said Zeedyk. Us humans are evolutionary products and we descended from the apes, she says. When wearing a baby as a parent your hands are tied, causing designers and manufacturers to come up with ways to carry and transporting your baby whilst keeping your hands free. Think of the slings, cradle boards thought of by the Indians and later baby carriers, strollers and buggies were introduced. These are all solutions for evolutionary problems.

Infants are naturally social beings, she says, and therefore are capable to communicate from the moment that they are born. A newborn baby succeeds 10 minutes after being born in impersonating a father or mother’s facial impression. Babies also have the ability to imitate hand movements. Babies feel comfortable when they are being communicated with. Oxytocin is produced, a hormone which stimulates confidence and trust. They communicate by eye contact, touching and voice. If there is too little communication with the baby, an increase in cortisol, a stress hormone, is shown. Carrying a baby is more than just moving from A to B! The brain of a baby grows at an explosive rate between zero and three years, but later decreases to a slower rate. In these first years, brain connections are made on an extremely high rate. This first phase is crucial for a child’s development and we need designers of prams, strollers and carriers to keep this in mind, states Zeedyk. Studies show that you cannot start early enough with communicating back and forth. In a particular study, a women daily reads the book ‘Cat in the Hat ” out loud. After birth, the baby recognized the sound and rhythm of the storytelling, measurable by the babies sucking speed on an electric nipple. Other studies show images in which the mother frequently talks to her baby and her baby reacts and communicates back, until the mother stops talking and denies any form of communication. The baby is trying to communicate with its mother, but when that fails, it turns its head away in disappointment. According to Zeedyk, you are able to see after only 16 months that a lack of communication leads to language delay. At the age of three you can even see whether the child will become aggressive or not. This lecture was an eye opener for me! And it’s good to know that eye contact and communication with your baby, especially in the initial phase of his or her life, whether you wear your baby in a baby carrier or transport him or her in a stroller, buggy or car seat, is very important!

This blog has previously been published in our tradejournal BabyWereld and on the consumersite BabyStuf.nl but as it is of great importance, I republish this on my babytrendwatcherblog.

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Jeremy Scott designs buggy, stroller and carseat for Cybex

cybex jeremyscott babytrendwatcher (2)It is known that manufacturers like to work with designers. Think of Maclaren Philippe Starck, Bugaboo Bas Koster, Missoni and Viktor & Rolf, Quinny with Henrik Vibskov. This ensures attention in the media and is a positive aspect for the branding of a manufacturer and designer. I have just returned from a trip to London and was able to witness the launch of a completely new cooperation between Cybex and great fashion designer Jeremy Scott. I travelled in the company of fashion editors to Shoreditch; a tiny artistic place in London with a booming nightlife. Scott likes to design outfits for popstars like Lady Gaga and Robbie Williams with courage and a bit of humor. He was the one who designed the Adidas sneaker-line with ‘wings’ on them. Scott loves challenges and the moment CEO Martin Pos from Cybex arrived there was no doubt. ‘I love the idea of doing something completely unexpected, like designing a baby stroller. Plus I have so many friends who are young mothers and knowing how they struggle to find something that they feel is cool. It felt like a natural fit to me to design something that I could give as a gift to my friends.’

For the Cybex Callisto 3-in-1 stroller, buggy with feet pouch and diaper-bag, Onyx buggy, Aton 3 carseat and carrybag Go Baby Carrier, Scott has designed using the theme ‘Food Fight’, since giving food to children often ends up in a fight, he said. And so, these babyhardwares are designed with patterns of cartoony pizza-slices, French fries, popcorn, hotdogs, hamburgers and bottles of lemonade. The presentation took place in the Shoreditch Studios, which for the occasion was cybex jeremy scott babytrendwatchertransformed into the colorful world of Scott. During the informal and animated after-party we were allowed to ask questions and take pictures without any problems. I admit, I have to get used to these types of prints, but the longer I look at it, the more fun it becomes. In my opinion, Scott should have taken his designs to the next level, something like a unique diaper bag or sun-cap. If there is anything else to learn from this presentation is it that we shouldn’t take life too seriously, you should enjoy it and there is nothing wrong with going crazy and letting loose once in a while!

Oilily multicolour buggy

oilily_blue_2oilily_yellow_11oilily_red_3The Dutch fashion brand Oilily has made a new start and focuses on the baby market too, with the introduction of the Oilily multicolour combibuggy. At the trade fair Kind + Jugend, we saw the first prototypes; a buggy and stroller in one. As we are used to of Oilily, this buggy jumps out with its colours and designs. What I find special is that the frame has the same colour of the covering: red, blue and yellow. I am curious when it will be possible to print a design on the frame! Also in terms of technique this stroller stands out with a completely new folding mechanism. With matching accessories like the caring bag, sunscreen and feet bag, the Oilily picture gets complete.

Mima snowwhite collection

mima-snowwhitecollection-klein1Ooh, what a beautiful picture is this new Snowwhite collection by Mima. It is a completion to the successful Flair collection that consists of the models Xari, Kobi and the Buggy Bo. The black frames of the strollers are beautifully combined with the white seats and sunscreens in leather look. You certainly don’t mind being spotted on the streets with one of these. Parents can choose matching fabrics in black, stone grey, pink or light blue. The luxurious Flair feet bag and diaper bag too will be available in the new snow-white colour. Obviously, the first reactions on trade fairs were very enthusiastic about this collection!

Ready-set- go buggy

quinny-yezz_greencurve_sunThe designers of this Quinny Yezz buggy have clearly been inspired by kite surfers, skaters and skydivers. The frame is made of IXEF fiberglass composite and therefore it is ultra-lightweight, it weighs no more than 5 kilograms. The buggy looks cool with its skate wheels of PU rubber, is easily maneuverable, and, despite its light weight, still stable. For the Ripstop seat, the connections and fastenings, the designers have taken their inspiration from skydivers and kite surfers. Also take note of the folding mechanism: the buggy quickly foldable and stand in its folded mode, which can be handy with a baby or infant on your arm! When folded, you can easily carry the buggy over your shoulder with its strap, which makes this Quinny Yezz a real ready-set-go buggy for active parents. Also nice to know: this buggy is entirely ‘Made in Holland’.