Noteworthy Products for National Baby Safety Month!

September was national baby safety month which is appropriate to mention because as our little one grows, we are consistently looking for the latest in safe, practical products. At eight weeks, my infant is primarily eating, sleeping, smiling and needing diaper changes.  As he starts to discover the world around him we have discovered quite a few products worth discussing to help us (and baby L) navigate these milestones as well as those that are yet to come.  The most common products that all new parents frequently utilize include  car seats, portable cribs, swaddles, baby monitors, and baby carriers.

In no particular order, here are a few choice items that we have found to be effective, practical and useful for our baby safety needs:

Car seat: Fit2 Infant & Toddler Car Seat – We used the Chicco Keyfit car seat for our first child who was born back in 2010.  We loved the brand then and we love it now.  The Fit2 is a great option for a primary infant car seat as is can be used long after the infant stage is over.  The 2-in-1 rear-facing Fit2® clicks in and out of a stay-in-car base and can be used for infants as small as 4 lbs.  As your baby grows, the Fit2 can convert to accommodate toddlers up to 35 lbs. and 35″.  We certain feel confident in the safety components of this seat for our infant as well.  The base was simple to install and the seat itself is lightweight (as far as portable infant seats go) and can be put in/taken out of the car with such ease.  A more in depth review will be coming soon.

Travel Crib/PlayardFastAsleep Full-Size Travel Playard – Given that baby ‘L’ was our third, when it came to a travel crib/playard, we were looking for something safe, and simple that would be efficient, practical and easy to set up or store as needed. Once again, it was Chicco for the win. The FastAsleep Full-Size Travel Playard is everything we were looking for and more. Simple to assemble with a quick snap open motion, this playard is lightweight and is safely equipped for diaper changes, infant napping or playing and traveling with ease (as it comes with a convenient carry bag). Detailed product review to come!

Bedime Swaddle:

Swaddle UP – Any new parent can attest to the fact that sleep deprivation is one of the most difficult aspects of infancy.  As a parent, sleep deprivation can be debilitating and potentially dangerous for your little one as exhaustion leads to poor judgement and poor sleep practice choices.  Parents are taught how to use swaddle blankets to wrap their infants in order to ‘mimic the womb’ bringing a sense of comfort and security to their baby.  But there are several dangers in using a traditional swaddle blanket such as miseducation or entanglement.  The Swaddle UP, by Love to Dream, not only addresses this head on, but also allows baby to sleep in a more familiar position, with his hands up allowing the ability to self soothe as well.  The Swaddle UP has patented ‘wing tips’ that allow babies to have their hands in an upward positing, which allows then to suck on their hands, or touch their faces, much like they did in the womb.  It allows you to swaddle your baby without the hazards of using a loose swaddle blanket and with the arms up positioning, the baby is less likely to roll over.  It is made with a single layer of breathable fabric which also can potentially reduce the risk of overheating.  I’ll admit, I had my doubts about the necessity of this item, but it really does work.  The best part of the Swaddle Up for me was the fact that I could safely unzip it from either end and being able to unzip my little one from the feet up means that I can change his diaper if needed without fully waking him up. Perfect from birth, the Swaddle UP is a safe and effective option for safe, soothing sleep.

Zipadee-Zip – As featured on Shark Tank, another option for a blanket-less swaddle is the Zipadee-Zip by Sleeping Baby.  This ‘sleep sack’ is cut to fit loose throughout the legs and body in order to prevent hip dysplasia. The Zipadee-Zip is a great option for babies with hip dysplasia who wear a brace for sleeping. The wideness of the cut allows plenty of room for hip dysplasia braces, without the need to size up.  The Zipadee-Zip also gives your baby enough room to push up, roll over and easily wiggle around. It is perfect for the fall/winter months as it effectively keeps cold air out.

Infant Video Monitor: Summer Infant Baby Pixel 5-inch LCD Touchscreen Color Video Monitor – With so many options for monitoring your little one, we found that the most reassuring option was a video monitor that allows you to keep a close eye on your baby even if you are in a different part of your home.  The Baby Pixel Color Video monitor gives us a greater level of security, due to it’s brilliant, high definition picture quality, amazing night vision, and the camera’s ability to zoom in if desired.  We also love the ‘SleepZone’ virtual boundary tat can easily be set as desired and will alert us if the baby is trying to get out of his crib (or in our current case, if his siblings are trying to get to close while he is sleeping).  You can also talk to your little one through the talk back option on the monitor, which is great when you want to reassure baby that you’re close by.  See full review of this product here: http://momconfessionals.com/review-summer-infant-baby-pixel-color-video-monitor/

 Infant Movement monitor: Snuza Hero – Any parent will admit that they worry about their baby.  Although he is our third child, both my husband and I found ourselves going to check on our little one when he slept, or while we were in the car on longer drives.  There was even a time early on when I pulled over while driving alone with the baby just to ensure that he was ok.  Parents often worry that their babies are breathing when they sleep soundly, especially at night.  That is why when I heard that there are now monitors to detect and address baby’s movements, I was very curious to check one out.

The Snuza Hero is certainly a product worth discussing.  This portable baby movement monitor sets out to detect your infant’s abdominal movements (which typically occur when baby is breathing).  Not only will it alert you if the abdominal movement rate is <8, but it will vibrate, just enough to stimulate movement 15 seconds after abdominal movement stops AND it will alarm to alert parents that abdominal movement has ceased after 20 seconds.

Ready to use right out of the box, the Suza Hero is compact, lightweight and very easy to use.  All we had to do was clip the monitor snugly on the front of our son’s diaper and press the on/off button located on the bottom, left of the monitor and it was ready to go.  The purple tip of the monitor is the sensor that remains in contact with the baby’s abdomen to detect movement and is made of a soft, pliable, plastic to ensure comfort while in place.  We even tested the monitor out while our son was wearing a onesie and the it never lost contact.  I am happy to report that the Snuza Hero is very reassuring to us while our son is napping and we are no longer getting up just to check on him multiple times a night.  I have also attempted to see if the Sunza Hero would work while my baby was in his car seat on a long drive and although it required some maneuvering (I had to push the monitor to the side a bit because of the car seat belt attachment),  it still appeared to monitor accurately (as evident by the flashing green light that remained present and visible under his grey pants).  We love the ease and portability of this movement monitor and find it to be perfect for infants and babies who have not yet been able to roll themselves over, or those that are on their backs for rest or travel. (MSRP: $109.99)

Baby Carriers:

Wearing your baby is something I highly recommend, especially when you want to keep your little one close or if have other children to chase after.  With so many carrying options to choose from, I feel the easiest options for me are both a baby sling and a soft structured carrier.  I am an avid baby wearer and have been since I had my first son in 2010.  I am very familiar with soft structured carriers but had heard wonderful stories about using slings and how beneficial they are when wearing baby from infancy. 

Baba Sling –When the Baba Sling was sent to me for review, I had reservations given my lack of knowledge and experience with a sling, but after some practice, I understood what the fuss was all about.  As an infant, the sling allowed my baby to be positioned in a familiar, comforting, lying-down position, something a soft structure carrier is unable to do.   The Baba Sling can be used from birth until approx. 2 years of age.  It promotes bonding by allowing you to keep your baby close to you while reinforcing the connection that you have with your child.  It also allows for discrete breastfeeding (though, I’ll admit that I am still trying to master that skill).  It is padded both for safety and comfort, supports the neck and head during those critical infant weeks and is adjustable to fit all different body types, making it easy to put on or take off. 

The Baba Sling has several safety features which should be noted.  It is constructed with a widened shoulder pad, making it comfortable to wear for longer amounts of time without hurting your back. There is a release buckle that also includes a smaller safety buckle underneath for extra support and safe baby-wearing.  The ‘hammock’ is wide enough to accommodate a child well into toddlerhood, and the sides are padded to help secure the correct fit/position.  If you’re curious about slings and baby-wearing, you can find several videos online that will help you to become comfortable with your Baba Sling. (MSRP: $85+).

Lillebaby Complete Airflow Carrier 6 in 1 – I have many different soft structured carriers but had yet to test out a Lillebaby baby carrier.  I must say I was pleasantly surprised with all that the Lillebaby Complete Airflow had to offer.  This carrier is wearable in 6 different ways, and can be utilized from birth, without an infant insert.  What was pretty fantastic about this particular model was that is was well constructed with a lightweight, breathable 3D mesh that allows for maximum airflow which is a key feature, especially during the hotter months.  The Lillebaby Complete Airflow also comes with a cushioned back for lumbar support while wearing your baby.  What is also nice is the hood that is attached to provide your little one privacy while nursing or taking a nap.  It safely provides an ergonomic seat for your baby, while providing proper head and neck support which is important in those early months.  The Lillebaby Complete Airflow Carrier is an excellent option for safe baby wearing in the early stages.

Of course these products only skim the surface on useful tools that are not only safe but practical for your little ones.  As we continue to (once again) navigate the many stages of infancy and toddlerhood, we will continue to provide you with any insights or opinions on products that prove to be safe and effective for you as a parent as well.

{ disclosure: I received products for the purpose of testing and review. No other compensation was exchanged. As always, all opinions expressed here are my very own.}