Sunday, October 17, 2010

Part II: Really? You think people need that?

If you were reading this blog a year ago, you likely know I wrote about the winners and losers we uncovered last year at the ABC Kids' Expo, a buying show for juvenile products retailers. This annual show gives me a chance to meet with our suppliers face-to-face, and it enables me to examine products in-person that I'm considering stocking at our stores. I come across some real gems at ABC this year, but I also come across some real duds.

Before I get to the good stuff, I will post a disclaimer. The information contained in this blog post is based soley on my opinion. My. Opinion. You may disagree with me, perhaps you use and love a product that's listed here, I understand -- the heart wants what the heart wants. I'm okay, and you're okay. We're all okay. Okay?

  1. I'm all for babywearing, it provides parents with a great way to connect with their little ones, and it's a practical way to tote children around, however, I don't get this. What if your child wants to sit down? What if your child wants to sleep??? I can't quite figure out what 'need' this particular product fulfills.
  2. A one-size-fits-all sleeper? While I appreciate that it's USA-made, and I understand that babies can outgrow their clothing quickly, this is just waaaay too fussy for me. If you want to get more mileage out of your baby's sleepers, buy a size larger than you need, and fold over the arms and legs to fit.
  3. You know when you go to the mall, and you forget where you parked your car, so you beep it and follow the honk? Now you can do that with your child too. I understand the panicked feeling when you lose sight of a young child, but the simple solution to that problem is to keep them within arms' reach at all times. I have four kids, it is possible.
  4. Color me stupid, but I'm going to ask the obvious question: Where do Skittles fit into this scheme? Feeding kids a healthy diet can be tricky, requiring a balance of cunning and compromise, but does it really need a chart complete with stickers?
  5. Gosh, I wonder how differently my life would have turned out if my mother cared enough to dress both herself and I in clothing that kept me in a constant state of overstimulation. Man, I probably missed out on so much in those first six months that I was stuck looking at pastel ducks. I'd probably be running the country by now. Damn you, mother, damn you to hell!
  6. I don't care what you're doing, and how inconvenient blowing your nose may seem, but this would never, ever be okay. Do us all a favor and use a hankerchief, please?
  7. Although it's billed as "The life-saving device that every parent needs", the manufacturer of this product should revise the aforementioned suggestion to read "The life-saving device that every parent needs, unless they live in a bungalow or higher than 50 feet from the ground." As horrifying as the idea of a housefire is, I'm not sure we all need a tethered bag to lower our child to safety.
  8. Do you really want your child wearing this? Before you write me off as a cold, heartless bitch, to my credit, in ten years of parenting, I've never had a reason to ice a child's entire head. Have you?
  9. Don't kid yourself, danger lurks everywhere. Everywhere! Forget radiation-proof clothing, I'm going to start wearing full body armor from now on, I'm not going to take any chances!
  10. Now, you can be 'with' your baby, even when you're away from your baby. Of course, I get the point of having a baby monitor in the house, but I can't understand why you'd need to monitor your baby when you're outside of the house. If you hear your baby cry over your cellphone while you're at a business meeting, just what are you supposed to do about it anyway?

This is only a sampling of some of the questionable products I saw, I am actually exercising considerable restraint tonight (plus I just can't be bothered to document each and every one of them). There was an alarm you slip inside your baby's diaper that checks for pee and poop every eight seconds, there were educational legwarmers (learning through osmosis?), there was a motorized platform you attach to a stroller so that you are propelled forward while pushing the stroller (walking is for losers, apparently), and the list goes on.

While it's great to have tools that make parenting easier, I have to wonder at what point 'enough is enough'. Of course, when someone finally invents a cloth diaper that turns poop into gold, I will be all over it... maybe next year, stay tuned!


  1. These products are ridiculous...completely unnecessary lol...great commentary I LOVE the sarcasm you bring to the whole thing, without being malicious....I rolled my eyes at all of these new state of the art apparent must haves...*shakes head*

  2. No creepy hands this year? That is really too bad. At least you were able to poke fun at some things - mind you, none were as good as those creepy hands :)

  3. Susie, I can not stop laughing as I read this. I also cant help but think, Now why did I think of any of this? I could be making millions!! LOL My personal fave is the belly armour. As I sit here 6 months pregnant and type this my unborn baby could be in danger. With so much information at our fingertips should people's ideas not be getting better each year? How did we ever survive our childhood?? And how do you keep a straight face when visiting these booths?? ;)

  4. Wow! I can't believe some products that are developed. I promise to never make my child wear a full ice cap for a bump on his head ;) Okay now I want a post on all the new products you LOVED!

  5. Hee! Seriously? An alarm that checks for poop or pee every eight seconds?!? Why not ten, or five? Why not wait an entire *gasp!* MINUTE between checks?

    Ridiculous. As are most of those.

    The one-size sleeper looks just plain annoying to adjust and uncomfortable for the baby to wear. However, I CAN see the merit in the "eating a rainbow" concept. My somewhat picky toddler might like that...

  6. ha, ha, ha... susie, these are a riot. and i ALWAYS love your perspective on stuff. though i have to say... my favourite is your disclaimer. you are fabulous... a great mama, a fantastic friend, an awesome entrepreneur, and a great overall woman. i love your insights. thank you for sharing and for making me laugh out loud today.

    sending belly laughs from me (and little plum... totally unprotected inside my belly) all the way from colombia.

  7. Hilarious! And ditto on a post about the products you LOVED... Or would that be too much of a spoiler? :)

  8. Yah, I have no desire for any of these products... and I am an easy sell! Thanks for the entertainment. If you ever want company for the ABC, let me know. I would love to see all those new products in person (for the fun of it).

  9. seriously, this. is. swesome.

    basically everyone is creating products so babies dont even really need parents!!!

    are these inventors of these products all the losers of dragons den/shark tank??!

  10. I'm all for poking fun at not quite as useful as some products. There's a lot of "extras" being produced as useful.

    But I got to say for number 3, if you've never had a child with autism, you probably don't need an alarm. But with a 50lb 4" child who can run with the wind, but at the same time manage to hide behind every rack in mere milliseconds, there is a reason to get these.

    So some are "niche" products, and some are fulling a crack that just ain't there!

  11. Ok the bag with a tether I could see as maybe a good idea if you live in a low-rise building and perhaps you are worried about such things...

    But the snot-rag-on-your-wrist idea? That's just disgusting. Seriously.

    Great post, as always ;)

  12. I would have to agree with your feelings on these products as well. I had to really laugh when I seen the carrier that the child stands on. I can only imagine the dirty looks i would get!

  13. Some of these things look (and sound) like jokes. Reminds me of the baby helmet I heard about recently so that the baby doesn't hit their head learning to crawl/walk/etc!
    Keep up the good work! :)
    julie @

  14. wow, crazy what parents can be convinced they need!! I guess it's a mass market of people who want the best for their kids and can be fooled into buying all kinds of crap to do that!!


  15. Love it! I have seen several of these item's on 'half off' sites

  16. Love it! Can't believe they let some of those into the show. How embarassing.

  17. Those are some interesting things. I really would love to meet the people who came up with them. The snotrag is just disgusting.
    I think I'll stick with my wrap instead of that standing thing, that just looks uncomfortable.
    Great blog once again.

  18. All I have to say is innnnnteresting! LOL

    People that come up with most of those ideas are too paranoid IMO.

    I can see that first thing you posted a good idea in busy places or a kids concert as the child could see clearly, but not to carry them around everywhere.

    And I would love to see a post about what you loved at the expo!

  19. I can't believe those products actually exist! LOL I was sitting her laughing my butt off! I love your writing style too btw. That's often how I sound when describing things I think are utterly ridiculous.

  20. Your writings always make me laugh, Susie!
    Did you overhear others at the show talking about the ridiculousness of these products, too? It must have been a bit of a wake up call for the "inventors". On the other hand... there are probably people out there who are excited about the idea of a wrist-rubber for snot!

  21. LOL! Gotta love the things that get invented for the baby world :) I think my fav is the body armour - seriously people??

  22. OK, that sniffle wrist thingy made me gag. Seriously, I'm gagging just thinking about! That is just beyond the pale.

    The radiation belly protector? I know some people who would have bought that. Talk about preying on fear and hysteria.

  23. Wow, those are crazy products. The child carrier is just ridiculous!

    I will say, the fire safety baby contraption did prompt a "How would we get out if our apartment was on fire" discussion between my husband and I, so it was beneficial for us :) Husband's plan: lower ourselves using bedsheets (with the baby in the beco) from our 2nd floor balcony onto the ground. My plan: scale over the side of the balcony (without the baby), and gently uh.. toss/pass baby over the balcony. Hopefully we never need to use either plan!

  24. I can't believe there is a market for these products. Especially the belly armour! Kind of brings to mind tin foil hats...

  25. Thank you for this blog! I've been holding on, my anticipation growing! You make me howl and I am buying ALL of those amazing products! Where would I be in this world without your guidance?

  26. I always enjoy your posts and especially enjoy getting recommendations on how to spend all that extra dough I have laying around ;)

  27. Oh boy! I can see how all of these products started as a good idea (a solution to a problem), but they mostly turned out rather ridiculous. Whatever happened to making do with what you have?

    And the visually stimulating clothing made me dizzy just looking at them. Can't imagine wearing one!!

  28. Susie - I absolutely need the gizmo that checks my baby's pee and poo every eight seconds. How would I survive without it. I mean, the loud noise that comes out of baby when they poo (when they are little) and the thought of checking on baby every so often (I mean every hour or two) is too much for me. I NEED something that checks every eight seconds, otherwise the diaper may get used and I don't know what I would do then.


  29. Those Tutortog clothes make my brain hurt... I can only imagine what it does to my baby!

    I'm pretty impressed that someone feels the need for a pee/poop sensor. Talk about micromanaging your child's life :P

  30. Oh wow!!! Those were brutal. The piggy back bar, really people, really!!! And the nose blower wrist warmer... come on!!! I'd like to know what products you thought might be useful.

  31. OMG Thanks for the laugh Susie! But, seriously, isn't every mother's house already cluttered the way mine is? I don't have the space for ANY more of this stuff!!! The worst is when well-meaning people give these things to you as a gift.... Belly armour?!? COME ON!!!

  32. HILARIOUS! I can't believe nobody has invented my idea of a jolly jumper that attaches to a rolling pole (think IV units in a hospital) so that you can walk / bounce with your baby. Maybe next year!

  33. Sniffle Buddies are NEVER for blowing your nose, but some allergy-prone children and folks with special needs do benefit in ways not listed in your posting. It would be kind and responsible of you to read the literature before supplying negativity based on false information.