The ABC Kids Expo is the 2nd largest juvenile product showcase in the world with showcases by more than 3,000 exhibitors. Walking the show floor feels like you are navigating miles of baby gear and as overwhelming as that may seem to some, to me it is my baby gear nerd heaven. Last month, I was able to spend three days in Louisville, KY looking at new, updated classic, innovative and sometimes strange baby gear. ABC gives me a chance to hear the stories behind a brand or a product and each detail of why that product is good for moms, dads and babies! I was so pleased with what I saw this year and wanted to share my favs:
Top 5 Big Ticket Items: There were so many great strollers and car seat updates this year that this list could be a lot longer. These are the 5 that brought the most innovation and combined that with great design.
1. Orbit Double Helix – There are a lot of reasons to like Orbit but the number one reason to be so excited about the Double Helix is that it is truly made for a growing family (or perfect if you are starting out with twins). The Helix can be purchased as an upgrade kit to their current stroller frame to create a double or purchased as a double stroller frame from the get-go (which also means you can easily convert back to a single when you no longer need a double). It includes the signature Orbit swivel making it easy to get baby in and out as well as a plethora of other features moms and dads will love (easy access shopping basket, cup-holders and iPad case).
2. Foonf convertible car seat by Clek – This seat is changing the game when it comes to convertible car seats. First, the seat which will hold a child up to 50 pounds rear-facing or 65 forward-facing, has a distinct design that includes crypton super fabrics that will repel water and stains. Secondly, with their React safety system including crumple zones (the stuff that makes race cars safe) they are able to reduce the force on a child in an accident by up to 40%. And lastly, using a rigid latch install system and creating a more narrow seat you are finally able to comfortably put three convertible seats in one row.
3. Mamas & Papas Mylo – The Mamas & Papas brand has been a hit in the UK since the early 80’s but it is just starting to make a big splash in the US and we are thankful they are here! Each product is designed and tested by moms and their goal is to bring style and simplicity to a parent’s every day life. With its plush fabric, leatherette handle, the easiest one hand push out there and a one handed fold, Mylo is a luxury stroller for any mom.
4. Quinny Yezz – I am generally never a fan of traditional umbrella strollers but Quinny has changed the game with the introduction of the Yezz. The Yezz has a super sleek design and 7 bright and modern color options. The best part is the entire stroller only weighs 11 pounds and folds up so compact you can easily navigate the city or the airport carrying the Yezz using its carry strap.
5. Nuna – This is cheating a little but the US introduction of the Nuna line of baby products made my list! Each of these items truly combines beautiful Dutch design with amazing function and there isn’t one detail missing. The Sena & Sena Mini play-yards have a truly simply one hand open and fold without weighing a ton. The Zazz is the revolutionary high-chair you always wished you had. There is no place for crumbs to hide, a hidden pneumatic lift so you can always have baby at the table and it converts into a designer chair that can hold up to 220 pounds. The Leaf is revolutionary motor-free seat with plus fabric and can hold up to 130 pounds! Each of the products from Nuna are ones that you can proudly display in your home without skimping on any function.
Top 5 Small (but mighty) Ticket Items: There are certainly NO shortage of small pieces of baby gear that are made to make life a little easier for parents or safer for babies. I saw a lot of new bottles, breast pumps, pacifiers, monitors, carriers and bathing accessories but these stood out to me as pieces of gear that could really make a difference for parents. 1. Chewbeads – The Chewbeads Perry Necklace is the latest in a line of beautiful silicone beads made for Mom and baby. This BPA and phthalates free necklace and sensory tool makes for a great shower gift. What new mom wouldn’t want to look great and have something that makes baby happy too?
2. Zen Swaddle – This swaddle by Nested Bean is the first on the market that is designed to mimic touch and calm babies. Based on an impressive amount of research, this swaddle has three lighted weighted pouches that mimic they way a mom holds baby. The luxury cotton fabric is machine washable and the swaddle works in 2 sizes by incorporating an inner pouch for use with younger babies. This is the swaddle that every veteran mom is going to wish she had!
3. Boon Fresh Changing Table – Boon is known for recreating, rethinking and modernizing baby gear and they have done it again with the Fresh changing table. This table has a contoured design and slip resistant base that is filled with a colorful foam, removable and wipeable pad. One of the nicest features is the (removable) overhead toy hook to keep baby distracted during changes. Watch for this to become available in February.
4. Tortle – Following the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations of Back to Sleep is critical but combining that with the amount of time that kids spend on the go and there is now an increased risk for flat head syndrome. Founded by a pediatrician and neonatologists, Tortle is a great machine washable beanie designed to be worn while a child is in a car seat, bouncy seat or swing and repositions the baby’s head from side to side as the beanie is moved. Multiples and premature infants are at a particular risk and this is a great tool that can prevent flat head syndrome.
5. Belly Armor – I walked away with one item that needs to be on every expecting mother’s list of things to buy for themselves and that is the Belly Armor Blanket. Although it isn’t yet known the effects of the everyday radiation (cell phone, iPad, laptop, etc) that a growing fetus is exposed to, the World Health Organization and the FDA have all agreed there is some negative effect and it could take years to fully understand what it is. Belly Armor’s line of products are lined with silver fibers that shield radiation with a 99% effectiveness. There is radiation around us everyday but if you are working or at home on your iPad you can snuggle up with your Belly Armor Blanket and know you are providing protection.
There were some other great products shown at ABC that I didn’t highlight here but will be testing and reviewing in the coming weeks and months so stay tuned!