M&B Awards Blog: A few Testing Gems

Just ahead of the 2010 Mother & Baby Awards Shortlist announcement, there have been few products mentioned by testers as having been absolute gems. It will be interesting to find out if they also turn out to be winners…

What products you’ve tried or bought that have most surprised you?

“One of the products I’ve been testing is the 37° sleeping sack, Natalie O’Dwyer said. “This is a most amazing product! When it arrived it was packaged up beautifully, and had been sent with a matching vest. My son is a very poor sleeper, and we have struggled to find anything he can sleep in as he is either too hot too cold, or tangles himself up in covers. Not with this product however! It is incredibly soft, even after washing it, and I love the gender-neutral colour and patterns. It’s a perfect fit, and the poppers are nice and strong on the shoulders. It’s really thick without being too hot for the baby, I don’t worry about him being cold in the night now.

The first night he went to bed in it, we had our bath and massage, and dressed him in the vest and sleep sac. He had a feed from me for about 10mins and started to drift off. It’s usually at this point we have the trouble as the minute we put him down in the cot and try to put his covers over him he wakes up screaming! Because he was already under his covers being in the sleep sac, he didn’t even wake when I put him down. To my amazement I didn’t hear from him until 7am the next day! Usually he wakes up 3-4 times a night! He sleeps in it every night now, and I will be buying another so I can wash one and wear one.”

37°  is a company that was created from the need to solve the problem of temperature regulation for newborns. Using smart textiles, 37° developed a new range of clothing to help maintain and regulate a baby’s body temperature by storing heat within the fibres, and then releasing it back when required. Tiny microcapsules are integrated into the fibres of the material and are completely safe. These microcapsules sense a fluctuation in temperature and absorb excess heat from the body, thus cooling it. They store this heat until a fluctuation downwards is sensed, and then the heat is slowly released. This continues. The fabric also holds an Oeko-Tex standard 100 certificate which tests for harmful substances.

37° products were testing in both the Best Newborn Sleep Aid (0-3mths) and Best Safety Product categories

The Gro clock was tested by Terri-Anne Old in the Best Nursery Product category.

“I have to say, I was extremely dubious about. I thought this would never work on my early riser, 3-year-old, son but, blow me down, we are having some progress and success thanks to the fantabulous gro clock. We Love it!

After trialling it in my bedroom (to test how bright the lights are etc.), we enthusiastically read the story and did the demo on the clock, all the time thinking…he ain’t buying this!

Bedtime came and we set the clock to sleep mode, Jack was relatively impressed, said goodnight to the sun and told us how he will get up when he sees the sun in the morning. Normally the boys are awake and up and about anytime from 5:30, so shock horror, when I discover its 8am before Jack is whispering into my ear “mummy why hasn’t the sun come up?”

Woops…what’s gone wrong I think! Oh yea, I set it for 7pm to wake up not 7am! Sorry Jack!

After the 1st hiccup, we got it right. It’s not perfect, they still wake up early but it encourages Jack to stay in bed a little longer and if not in bed at least he waits ‘til he sees the sun before he comes into my bedroom to tell me I’ve got to get up!”

“I had great fun with the Munchkin travel booster seat.” related Angela Whenman with certain irony:

“The first mum in my tester group gave it back to me with the buckles crossed and wedged together. With a bit of ‘persuasion’ my husband managed to un-wedge them and I left him to try it out at the in-laws later that day on my 14mth old son.

Later on, I arrived back just as feeding time was over to a very unhappy child and a lunch covered dad/floor. The instructions had been left at the previous mum, so my husband with his engineer head on, decided the shoulder strap, ‘because of the way it  was stitched’, he said,  was clearly designed as a leg strap to stop the child kicking the table – a genius idea he thought – so rather than buckling two ends together under the chair, lunchtime was tantamount to medieval punishment with the poor boy’s legs strapped down!”

Karen Rockcliffe tested Best Toddler Toy (24mths+) products with her son and friends.

“I could not get Night Night Timmy out of the box quick enough. My son has been cuddling it most of the day, sharing his dummy and putting Timmy to sleep… then arrived Billy Winky!

My son did not know what to do with himself! He laid on it, cuddled it,  rode on it around like a horse then he realised he had left Timmy on his own and is now walking around with them both! Hands full!!

I’m wasn’t  sure how I was going to get them off him to pass on to my friends to test. Fairies coming in the night I thought !!”

Beckie Lambert asks, “Why are children’s toys such a challenge for us parents!?  Not the toy itself mind, but the incredibly annoying length that every company seems to take in order to make it impossible for us to get them out of the packaging!

You’ve spent 10 minutes turning twisty turny wires in all directions, then used all the strength you have to pull them out of the teeniest hole that has tied the toy to the box, only to find that you then need to find that essential toy tool, a Phillips screwdriver!  All of this with the audience of an impatient toddler (or two!) – the things we put ourselves through to make them happy!  Thank goodness birthdays and Christmas only come once a year!”

However, she went on to echo Karen’s dilemma about passing toys round with other testers:

“It was love at first sight with my toddler and the Fisher Price Little People Animal Sounds Farm! So much so that we had to take all the animals to the park with us, to the shops, into the cot at night and even have them in the bath!

Toy testing is absolutely great, he has had so much fun, I would totally recommend taking part in the Mother & Baby awards to anyone thinking about trying it out next year!  The only down side for me was having to rotate them to other testers, I’ve become the evil Mum that keeps taking away his new favourite toy!! He still asks for them at bedtime in his saddest-little-sorry-for-himself voice.”

Julie Brett loved the Dusky Moon Dream Tubes from Hippychick.

“Gone are the days of the ugly metal bedguard that only covers a portion of the bed. The Dream Tubes are a fitted sheet with 2 tunnels down either side for inflatable tubes to be put in. The child is secure from both sides the whole way down. It’s so easy to set up and the perfect gift for a frequent traveller. I will be recommending this to ALL of my family and friends.

The only problem is…..Why did I never think of this?!?!?”

Finally, Rebecca Morrocco who tested Travel Products gave a run down of her favourites:

“The Rayshade from Summer Infant seemed fabulous – although it arrived too late for our trip to Spain (and therefore some sun!).  It’s a black, thin sheath that covers any style of pram/buggy hood to offer extra protection against the sun for the buggy occupant.  This would have been invaluable for the last 5 summers – we holiday abroad simply to get a decent summer and this shade did a great job of covering my 2 and 3/4yr old recently in Scotland.

Likewise the My Carry Potty is an inspired idea.  We have used it nearly daily since it arrived, out and about.  I started potty training the day it arrived (by pleasing coincidence) and Amaia took to it straight away as ‘her’ potty.  We don’t use a potty in the house, as she is taller than average and they aren’t so comfy as a soft seat on a toilet, but she likes using the Carry Potty.  I’ve also had lots of positive comments on it whenever it’s been out in a public toilet – other mums are really impressed and have a good look!  Even my 5.5 yr old is happy to use it when she’s been caught short.

Likewise, the improved Potette Plus is a godsend as a toddler toilet seat.  Because we also tested the Carry Potty, we prefer to use that as a potty so in my toilet bag I also carry the Pottete Plus and it’s a solid and comfy toilet seat to use.  Amaia likes to hold onto the side handles and they feel comforting to her, so she doesn’t feel that she’ll fall into the toilet.  This leaves me able to wipe her as needed without also having to support her on a large adult seat.

The Easy View Mirror is the same that I had when both girls were first-born and in rear-facing seats and I loved it.  I felt so much better knowing that I could see them and know if they were awake or asleep or what was bothering them if they made a noise while I was driving.  It was easy to fit to my car or my husband’s and small enough to be portable to take with us into another car if need be.”

3 thoughts on “M&B Awards Blog: A few Testing Gems

  1. Hi I tested the 37 degrees sleepsuits that year and were really impressed by such am amzing idea! I only wished they had been around when my 10 year son Joseph was little. He had a febrile convulsion 2 days before his 2nd birthday & I then became the most paranoid mother ever. Temperature check was a daily routine and nighttimes were crazy so I really think having this range of 37 degrees would have helped me have a few more hours sleep a night! I also totally agreed with the texture and soft feel of the sleepsuits so incredible I really wanted to snuggle them myself x

  2. Having tested bouncy chairs when my son was only a few weeks old the vibrate function was key but now he is 3months I LOVE the Beaba up/down bouncer chair – he is so much happier being up at the table with us for meals/drinks/any time of day – I can’t believe I used to have my daughter down by my ankles while we were at the table and think it was ok, this really has made a huge difference to us and to him – it isn’t cheap but I really do think it is worth it x

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