Last week I wrote about some baby products that weren’t completely unnecessary; it was a completely unasked-for response to a post by Keith Wilcox at almightydad.com. I promised there would be a follow-up, and here it is! Positioners, protectors and leashes – oh, my! Keith’s Part Two can be found here.
Like last time, all these are “comfort” products. They’re not required to raise a healthy, happy child. Some (okay, one) I like, others I think are quite silly.
Unnecessary Baby Product #1: positioners
Keith says, “Why would someone buy a product to prevent something that nature prevents by itself?”
Sleeping positioners are probably one of the most obvious wastes of money around. The premise is that babies are supposed to sleep on their backs, and this will keep them from rolling over – therefore preventing CERTAIN DEATH!
You know what also works? A towel rolled up on both ends. Save your money.
Unnecessary Baby Product #2: baby bath tubs and seats
Keith says, “I would use my hands to hold my baby in the bath tub.”
I disagree with Keith on this one. We love our baby bath tub. Okay, granted, we could just hold the baby. Remember, these are comfort products though, so in the interest of making bath time easier, the tub we have is great. It’s not expensive and it lets the baby sit up on his own while we clean him. We use our baby bath tub for the same reason we put Ian in a high chair at dinner time – it’s just easier than holding him up!
Unnecessary Baby Product #3: shopping cart protectors
Keith says, “A lot of people will say it is necessary because of germs and bacteria on the cart. Has anybody ever heard of disinfectant wipes?”
Yeah, we’ve got one of these things, too – and if you could see me as I’m typing this, I’m rolling my eyes at the thought of it. We’re not germ-o-phobes, my wife and I. We didn’t buy the thing because of the “icky” shopping carts – THE HORROR!!! We don’t usually use it with shopping carts, actually. It’s easier just to keep Ian in the car seat and prop it up in the cart at his age. No, we use the Floppy – seriously, that’s the name of it – when going out to restaurants. It’s got two purposes: first, it’s far more comfortable for him than sitting on a hard wooden chair. More importantly, it helps him fit better. He’s too small! He slides around in the chair, so using the Floppy is a great way to get him sitting up correctly.
On the downside, they’re a pain to clean after such an outing.
Unnecessary Baby Product #4: baby shoes
Keith says, “I always knew all I needed for them was some nice warm socks, but I went in for the shoes instead for style reasons.”
My family (primarily my mother-in-law) has spent more money on shoes for my daughter in her first four years than I’ve spent on shoes for myself in the past decade. Honestly, I don’t get it. Until they’re walking, shoes are pointless – and even then, it’s better for their feet to walk barefoot. Soft-soled shoes are fine for walking kids when you’re not home, but shoes for a 2-month-old?
Unnecessary Baby Product #5: the leash
Keith says, “It is not actually a baby product but it is nevertheless humiliating enough to warrant mention.”
It’s really very simple, and I couldn’t agree with Keith more: your child is NOT A DOG. Get that ridiculous leash off him! Consider this: in the Middle East, young kids are given machine guns and live ammunition. In America, we tie our kids up with a leash because we’re afraid li’l Suzie might wander into The Gap while we’re not looking. Hey parents! Why aren’t you looking? What’s wrong with telling the kid to hold your hand while you’re in the mall? If she’s young enough to need a leash, she’s young enough to be told to hold your hand. Put down the cell phone and the ice cream cone and hold your child’s hand. She’s not a dog. Don’t tie her up.
Unnecessary Baby Product #6: baby einstein anything
Keith says, “They’re stupid and unnecessary.”
I could have pulled any line for a quote from Keith’s assessment of the Baby Einstein products, but I think “stupid and unnecessary” sums it up pretty well – as far as the videos are concerned anyway. We actually have a Baby Einstein exersaucer that has served us well, but aside from the logo on the side of it, there’s no difference between it and any other exersaucer.
The Baby Einstein videos though… wow. Some of the most insipid, acid-trippy stuff can be found on these videos. There’s a Baby Einstein YouTube channel that is worth checking out before you drop a dollar on the DVDs. Insipid is nothing new with programming for kids, though. What really stands out with Baby Einstein is that research is showing that it’s really not that good for kids.
And the Baby Einstein CDs? They’re just collections of classical music! Go to a Walmart and buy a couple of those $1.99 CDs full of classical music if that’s what you want, because the Baby Einstein discs are a ripoff. There’s one that’s packaged as Lullaby music. You know what my daughter used to fall asleep to? Lucky by Bif Naked and Maps by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Seriously, worked like a charm. Ian falls asleep now to Peter Gabriel and the soundtrack from The Godfather. You don’t need special $20 Baby Einstein music CDs to get your kids to fall asleep.
Might there be another list coming up? Oh, you bet. A lot of products out there are just begging to be ridiculed. I haven’t even touched on Elmo toys or Barney videos yet. On the other hand, there are a lot of products that are fantastic and The Geek Dads @ Home Holiday Guide is coming up, too. We’ll cover all the best stuff for babies and kids!
The opinions expressed here are my own and don’t necessarily reflect those of my partner or other geek dads.