Shopping for the best baby products can be daunting for even experienced parents, so make sure that the products you select were built with safety in mind, look for the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) certification seal. The JPMA sponsors Baby Safety Month each September to help educate parents about the safe use and selection of products.
Each year, the JPMA sponsors an annual “Show Off” Product Competition. The criteria includes innovation, marketability, trend-setting potential, appeal and usefulness. Here are some of the top winners from more than 130 entries:
• Diaper changes in the car are handier than ever with the Backseat Baby Changer, by Kidkusion Inc., which provides a seat-leveling wedge and waterproof “cushie mat.” Wipes clean with baby wipes. $15.99.
• The Tommee Tippee Easiflow Cup, by Mayborn USA Inc., is a nonspill drinking cup designed to work with a child’s tongue and jaw muscles. No-slip handles. $4.99.
• BearView Infant Mirror, by See Me Smile Products, allows a driver to see an infant riding in a rear-facing carseat. The teddy bear mirror also attaches to a crib. $24.95. Sold in specialty stores.
• Provide a clean eating surface for your child anywhere you go with the TinyDiner Portable Placemat, by Kiddapotamus & Company. The reusable place mat is made of FDA approved materials. $11.95.
• The idea behind Tot-Co Toilet Trainer is that the realistic design helps children potty-train faster. The toilet trainer’s seat fits over a full-sized toilet seat. Back in its own unit, Tot-Co features a tissue dispenser, a recessed tank top for wet wipes and a handle that makes a realistic flushing sound. Splashguard for boys included. $39.95. Sold in specialty stores.
• Cosco's Summit High Back Booster provides proper restraint, exceeding upper weight limit for boosters. Multiple position headrest allows for longer use, combined with a multiple position crotch belt for a more secure fit. Flip-down armrests and slide-out cup holder. Weight: 22 to 40 pounds with harness; 30 to 100 pounds as a booster. $99.99. Sold in department stores.
• Set off for a power walk with an aluminum stroller by Simo (USA) Inc., Bertini to M5 Shuttle. The stroller features a four-wheel steering system, single-hand release backrest, 12-inch racing-style removable wheels, small hand pump, adjustable handlebar and footrest with cover. $320. Sold in baby department stores.
• Perhaps one of the most practical winners is the First Years' Take & Toss Spill-Proff Cup. Although disposable, the cups are durable enough for repeated use – making them the perfect traveling companion. Easy-sip spout lids are spill-proof and valve-free for easy cleaning. $2.99 to $3.99. Sold in department stores.
Other Safety Standouts
In addition to the JPMA selections, here are a few more safety products you might like to check out:
• The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends placing healthy infants on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS. Help your baby sleep correctly with the First Years' Air Flow Back Sleeper, which holds infants in position without blocking the circulation of air or causing heat buildup. $9.99. Sold in department stores. www.thefirstyears.com.
• Keep an eye on your infant riding in a rear-facing carseat with the First Years' Backseat Baby Mirror, an adjustable, large-surface mirror that installs easily and without hardware. Made of washable, soft, cotton terry with sturdy straps, it attaches to the rear seat of most vehicles. Comes with storage pockets. $12.99. Sold in department stores.
• Childproof your electrical plugs the easy way with the No Tug Plug™ safety plate from Innovative Safety Technologies. This easy-to-install system locks cords into the outlet by encasing the plug in a plastic shield that doesn’t allow plugs to be removed from the wall. Note: the system is only compatible with center-screw outlets. $19.95 for a four-pack; $29.95 for an eight-pack; $5.95 shipping and handling. Call 1-877-656-1848 to order or visit No Tug Plug
• Herbie Hydrant might be the best superhero your child ever has. A safety device, the red-and-blue hydrant with a smiling clock-face is designed to help bring your child to safety during a fire or other emergency. When lifted from its base, Herbie’s flashlight shines, an alarm bellows and strobe lights flash. The compact unit has a digital timer to gauge how long a child has been exposed to smoke. There’s also a storage compartment to hold medical records. This is not a toy and the alarm is shrill. $49.95. Get Herbie Inc. 888-580-SAFE (7233) or visit Herbie Hydrant
Learn More: Using any product safely is often a matter of common sense. Click here for 5 Key Product Safety Precautions.
• The JPMA publishes a free 16-page safety brochure with information about carseats, high chairs, strollers and other baby essentials.
• The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Make sure items in your home, especially secondhand items, haven’t been recalled. The CPSC Web site offers a searchable list by product type and manufacturer plus detailed information on how to get fix kits or a completely new item.
Mimi Slawoff is a writer and mother of three who has been reviewing parenting and children’s products for more than 10 years.