The Baby Gear You Need

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Was "Britax" Santa's 9th Reindeer? We think so!

What better Christmas gift for a young family than that of safety and peace of mind?  Add in a sale and free shipping and you've got yourself a happy holiday!

Amazon is still having a sale of up to $110 off select Britax Convertible Car Seats, plus FREE Super Saver Shipping!  Ho ho ho!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

An Alternative to Bed Rails for Toddlers

It's December 1st and in our house, a new month usually brings a new change.  This month, it's time to convert the ol' convertable crib into a toddler bed for our 23 month old.  She's now able to climb out of her crib on her own, even with the mattress set on the lowest setting and the railing up. 

When we initially bought this crib, I liked the idea of being able to convert it into a toddler bed and then eventually use it as the head and foot boards for a full sized bed.  What I didn't realize was converting it into a toddler bed essentially meant removing the front railing and that's it.  That's still pretty high off the ground.  And this means that our little monkey, who still moves around in her sleep A LOT, will only be protected from falling out on three sides of her bed.  She definitely needs a fourth, safe side. 

So I started researching bed rails.  Most bed rails are longer than we would need, as they are meant for a twin or larger sized bed.  Also, many of them specify that you need a mattress and a box spring for them to work properly - and her crib doesn't have a box spring.  Another concern was that these types of bed rails come with the warning of the possibility of your child getting caught in between the bed rail and the mattress.  Although, I think at this stage, I can't imagine Ashley getting stuck in such a predicament, it's not out of the question.  See monkey reference above. 

What I found - and can't wait to try - is called Magic Bumpers.  Basically, they are 5" high foam blocks that you place under your child's fitted mattress sheet.  They are low enough to allow your child to easily climb in and out of bed, but high enough to prevent them from falling out of bed!  Plus, they are cheaper than traditional bed rails!  Score!  The only drawback I've found is that it says that deep pocketed fitted sheets may accommodate Magic Bumpers better than regular sheets, so new sheets may be in our future. 

We're going to try them out within the next few weeks and get back to you with my personal review!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Apple Pickin' and Leaf Peepin'

It's apple picking and leaf peeping time here in New England.  What better way to get out and about with Baby.  Check out some of my favorite ways to take you baby along on those fun Fall outdoor activities!
  • The LittleLife Freedom Child Carrier
Description: The LittleLife Freedom Child Carrier is a lightweight frame baby carrier that is superbly comfortable for both parent and child. The Freedom features an innovative and fully adjustable airflow back system. Because of this feature, air can circulate between the baby carrier and the wearer's back. There are large front pockets which offer plenty of storage for drinks, snacks and other essentials. Sun & Shower Canopy is included. Reflective piping increases visibility. Recommended for babies 6 months and up.

Why we like it: Airflow!!! Because of its unique design, the LittleLife Freedom makes carrying your child on your back a breeze. (Pun intended!) The Airflow harness and back panel are fully adjustable, which makes both the fit and the air circulation just right for each individual wearer. Comfortable, long hikes can finally be in your future! We also like the anatomically-shaped child seat, the soft face-protection pad, and the toy loops that allow you to connect your child's favorite toys right to the child carrier itself.

  • Bob Revolution Stroller
Description: The BOB Revolution Stroller is a sturdy and durable jogging stroller with a locking swivel front wheel to aid in control and maneuverability. It has a weight capacity of 70 pounds and features a protective sun canopy and storage basket. Shock absorbers make for a smooth ride and can be adjusted for the weight of your child! The BOB Revolution folds up quickly and easily.  This jogging stroller is suitable for children who are at least eight weeks old. Please note that babies who lack good head control must have additional head and neck support to ride safely and comfortably. For jogging or off-road use, it is recommended that children be at least eight months old.

Why we like it: The BOB Revolution jogging stroller can be used from infancy (with seat adaptor to accommodate infant car seats) to big kids (up to 70 pounds!). It is simple to use and pushes easily on all types of terrain -even snow! There is plenty of storage and it folds flat. Truly a 5-star stroller!

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Kissing Hand

I have to be honest.  I have not read this book.  I have only read excerpts from it and reviews that other parents have written.  But I can also honestly say, this is the book for me!  I clearly remember not wanting to leave my mom when it was time to go to school.  And now, as my oldest sets off on his new adventure of starting nursery school next week, perhaps it is I who will have the hardest time letting go.  Either way, The Kissing Hand is a sweet and reassuring book for children (and their parents?!) apprehensive about the start of school.  I know for myself, I will be ordering this book pronto! 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Who are we, anyway?!

My husband, Jim, came up with the idea for Best-Baby-Gear in 2008.  Our son was a year old and we'd already been through the rigamarole of researching, registering, and trying out countless makes and models of baby gear.  Our friends were beginning to start their families too and we felt that the insight we'd gained from our experience (both trial and error) could help others save their own time and money.

Jim started researching website design and development and I began the task of expanding our research of the already hundreds of baby products we'd previously tested out ourselves.  I interviewed friends, read books, researched online reviews and began to formulate what has become today's Best-Baby-Gear website.  Our site went "live" on the web in 2009 and we plan on continuing it for years to come. 

As are most things in life, our site is a work in progress, as we are constantly growing - expanding our buying guides, reviews, and products we promote.  You may ask why we only highlight four or five products under each category when we've actually reviewed dozens of similar baby products? strives to sift through the hundreds of baby gear products and only promote the handful that stand out at the top.  We feel that this saves you the hassle of reading through reviews of products that don't make the grade. 

Jim and I are committed to doing the best for our family.  And we hope that by showing you the best baby gear, we will be bringing the best to your family too.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Britax Car Seat Sale at Amazon Just Got Better!

Now, select Britax convertible car seats are on sale at Amazon for up to $110 off, plus FREE SHIPPING! 

As we all know, Britax car seats are among the best in the biz, but they are pricey.  Hurry on over to Amazon to save! 

Click here for more information.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Britax Car Seats on Sale!

Britax car seats are on sale at Amazon!  Check out these great deals of up to $70 off, plus FREE SHIPPING!!! 

Click here for more information!

Britax Roundabout Convertible Car Seat Cover Set, Onyx Britax Decathlon Convertible Car Seat Huntington Britax Marathon - Deco Squares

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Green Stroller

Green, as in eco-friendly that is!  I'm talking about the UPPAbaby Vista Stroller. 

This stroller is as versatile as they come!  This stroller comes with a bassinet for infants and transforms into a regular full size stroller for older babies and toddlers.  It also has optional adaptors available to fit Graco, Peg Perego, and Chicco infant seats.  The Vista is a roomy stroller, yet lightweight and easy to maneuver.  It also has a telescoping handlebar, making it the perfect height for even tall parents to push with ease.     

As an environmentally conscious company, UPPAbaby has created an eco-friendly stroller.  The bassinet is made of organic materials and the carrier is fully lined with a soft and cozy blend of organic cotton and soybean fiber.  This all-natural material is a wholesome alternative to synthetic fabrics which keeps Baby warm and dry.  In addition, soybean protein fiber contains anti-bacterial agents to help keep your child clean and healthy.  All this, and great for tall people?  We're sold!

A 5 Star Double Stroller

As a parent of two young kids, a double stroller is a must in our house.  We use a double umbrella stroller for quick trips, but for anything more substantial, we use our Kolcraft Contours Double Stroller.  I can't tell you how much I - and our kids - love it!

The Kolcraft Contours Options Tandem Plus Stroller (wow, that's a mouthful!) has many different seating options.  Both seats can swivel to face forwards or backwards, creating a total of seven different seating options!  Both children can face forward (as shown in the picture), face the parent, face each other, or sit back to back.  The back seat can even be removed completely to create a single stroller with an abundance of storage in the back.  The infant car seat attachment accommodates most brands.  Completely adjustable sun canopies keep the sun off of both seats.

The Kolcraft Contours Options Tandem Plus Stroller has so many wonderful options, the list just goes on and on.  Our favorite feature, however, is the ability to revolve both seats to almost any position imaginable, including removing the back seat!  

Kolcraft Contours Options Tandem Stroller, Ruby 

What's your favorite double stroller and why?

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Tale of Two Sitties - Britax Marathon vs. Britax Roundabout

Sorry for the play on words there (cites - sitties) I just couldn't resist...

Anyway, when it comes to choosing the #1 top-quality convertible car seat, the jury is still out.  I'm constantly torn between the Britax Marathon and the Britax Roundabout.  They are both incredibly safe and comfortable car seats, each with their own features that make them both my top pick for convertible car seats.  Here's the lowdown:

The Marathon:

The Britax Marathon Convertible Car Seat accommodates children rear facing from 5-35 pounds and forward facing from at least one year old and 20 pounds, up to 65 pounds.  It features a 5-point harness with 4 harness height adjustments to ensure a correct fit for each stage of your child's growth.  The Britax Marathon Convertible Baby Car Seat offers Side Impact Protection and is made in the USA with U.S. and global components.
Why we like it:  Britax is the Cadillac of car seats.  This company consistently makes products offering superior comfort and safety.  The Britax Marathon Convertible Car Seat can be used for babies as small as 5 pounds all the way up to a 65 pound child!  It has one of the highest weight ratings among convertible car seats, meaning it will last you longer before needing to purchase a booster car seat, especially if you have a bigger child.  It boasts "tangle-free" harness straps that easily adjust to your child's height.  Most importantly, the Britax Marathon Convertible Car Seat meets or exceeds all U.S. safety standards.  The Britax company states: "All Britax products undergo the most rigorous testing in our industry at five Britax testing facilities worldwide."  This car seat provides Side Impact Protection and features premium push-button LATCH connectors for easy and tight installations.  The Britax Marathon Convertible Car Seat also has this nifty feature that keeps the harness straps to the sides while you place your child in the seat.  It comes in a variety of colors and patterns with washable covers.  This is undoubtedly a 5-star car seat! 

The Roundabout

The Britax Roundabout Convertible Car Seat can be used rear facing for babies from 5-33 pounds and forward facing for children from one year old and 20-40 pounds.  It features a 5-point harness with tangle-free polyester straps that are easily adjusted.  This car seat offers Side Impact Protection and is highly rated for overall safety.

Why we like it: No, we're not being paid by Britax to market their products.  We simply chose another Britax car seat out of
unbiased research and the Britax Roundabout Convertible Car Seat makes the grade!  This seat is a bit smaller in size than its sister seat the Marathon and is perfect for compact cars.  We appreciate the tangle-free feature of the 5-point harness (if you've ever struggled with twisted straps in a car seat, you'll like this feature as well!) and easy height adjustments.  The LATCH connectors make for an easy installation into your car both rear and forward facing.  The Britax Roundabout Convertible Baby Car Seat also has this nifty feature that keeps the harness straps to the sides while you place your child in the seat.  No more sitting on the belts!  This model comes in a variety of colors and patterns with washable covers. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Comfy Front Pack for Hot Days

It's June and it's HOT!  So how do you carry your baby in his front pack, so you're both comfortable?  First, you have to start with the right front pack. 

My top pick for these hot summer days is the Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier Air.  This baby carrier is light enough so the two of you don't burn up in each other's body heat thanks to the soft and breathable mesh material of which it's made up.  The Bjorn Air has the same features you've grown to know and love with the traditional Baby Bjorn, such as the ability to completely open the front, allowing you to easily remove your sleeping baby.  This one also folds up into a pouch for easy storage -- it'll easily fit in your diaper bag! 

And how about sun coverage?  Although I haven't come across a product that is designed to go along with front carriers to block your little one from the sun, I always uses a light towel or burp cloth and draped it over my baby's head.  Of course a hat serves the same purpose and looks a lot cuter, but being sun-paranoid as I am, I tried to cover little arms and legs too.  Do any of you have sun coverage ideas?  I've always found I get the best ideas from other parents! 

Happy Summer!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful, loving, and hardworking Dads out there!  I hope you're having a great day!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Something You Don't Need...

Preparing for the arrival of a new baby can be overwhelming.  Between LaMaze classes, heartburn, nesting, and researching baby gear, this can easily become a time of stress and discomfort.  Don't let that happen to you!  When it comes to the stuff you'll need for Baby, start with the basics, then work your way out.  (It's like the proper order in which to use your silverware...think Jack at Rose's table on the Titanic.  Oh how easily I can get off topic!) 

So back to the baby.  Once you've got your car seat (first priority), your crib or bassinet (more on my thoughts on that in a later post), and possibly a stroller, you can start to expand your baby gear repertoire.  When I was pregnant, I went a bit overboard and bought way too much "stuff" and wasted a lot of time and money.  And now that we have kids, we have neither time nor money, so I'm here to help you now!

Here's my first post on what not to buy: anything that you have to pay for that helps prop your baby up for tummytime.  I bought a cute little lily pad-shaped blanket, with a miniature pillow that the baby was supposed to lay on and play with his toys.  Unfortunately, he spent much more time either simply on the floor or blanket, both of which we already had!  Oh, and don't waste your money on any blankets either, you'll get more than you could ever need at your baby shower!  If your baby hates tummytime, as many babies do, you can help him by simply rolling a small towel and propping it under his chest and draping his arms over it.  Then choose some exciting, bold-colored toys or a mirror for him to play with and look at while he develops head and muscle control. 

It's really that simple.  Don't get sucked into buying every cute baby item you see.  I know it's hard to pass up the cuteness, but in the long run, you'll thank me. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sex and the City Stroller Revived!

With all the hype about the new "Sex and the City 2" movie, I couldn't help but write about the Bugaboo Frog stroller.  You remember it from the original HBO episodes, the one Miranda stylishly pushed around New York City!?  Shortly after thousands of moms saw the Frog in "Sex and the City", it became immensely popular.  Well, it still is - and for good reason. 

The Bugaboo Frog is a different-looking, different-acting stroller that leaves other "regular" strollers in the dust!  It turns on a dime and is a breeze to push, even through bumpy terrain (like the streets of NYC?!).  The Frog converts to face forwards, backwards, and acts as a bassinet for babies.  The seat reclines and the stroller accommodates many different brands of infant car seats to convert into a complete travel system, including Peg Perego and Graco.  All this and it only weighs about 20 pounds!  Get it - like a frog changes from a tadpole into a polliwog into a frog?  (sigh)  Not my first choice of names for a high-end, classy stroller, but whatever works, right?

Anyway, if you're a stylish mom, or just a City wanna-be, the Bugaboo Frog may just be the stroller for you.

Bugaboo Frog Stroller - Red

Thursday, June 3, 2010

How Many Car Seats Do I Need?

How many car seats do I need for just one baby?!  Ahh, a common question among new parents.  Since there are numerous different types of car seats - infant car seats, convertible car seats, combination car seats, booster car seats, etc. - each catering to a different weight, length, size, shape, and age of baby, it's very confusing at first to determine what you'll need and how many to buy. 

I recommend starting out with one basic infant car seat and two bases.  The infant car seat is portable, which means you can take the whole shebang - car seat and baby - out of the car and into your stroller or shopping cart or house without having to disturb - or God forbid, wake up - your sleeping baby!  I liked having two bases however, because we kept one base in my car and one base in my husband's car.  That way, we could use either car without having to re-install the car seat itself.  This saved us a lot of time and hassle.  (Installing a car seat isn't difficult, but it is kind of a pain, especially when you have a million other things you need to be doing and your baby is crying...) 

Once your baby outgrows the length/weight restrictions on his or her infant car seat, then it's time to move on to a convertible car seat.  Purchase seat #2.  Although a newborn baby can technically ride safely in a rear-facing convertible car seat from the beginning (assuming he or she is not a preemie), I like the convenience of the infant car seat so much, it's totally worth using it until your baby's at least one year old.  So, it's on to the convertible car seat.  This seat will last you longer...usually until your child is about four years old or at least 40 pounds.  We wound up buying one really nice, comfortable convertible car seat for our son to use in my car - and one, cheaper "travel car seat" to use in Dad's car or to take with us on vacation.  That way, if it was damaged at all in transit, no big deal. 

After the convertible car seat comes the real big-kid seat - the booster car seat!  Booster seats should be used from about the ages of 4 to 8, but it all depends on the model of your booster car seat and the height and weight of your child.  Depending on what kind you get, booster seats are relatively small and easy to install, so you could get by with just buying one. 

Yep, all-in-all, you'll probably average buying at least four car seats for your one child over the course of eight years.  It sounds crazy, but it's obviously in your child's best interest.  As alway, safety first!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What's with this LATCH system thing anyway?

Ah, the joys of learning baby gear lingo!  As you delve into the world of researching car seats, you will quickly come across the term "LATCH".  It's a term that's as casually used in the baby gear world as "OMG" is used in the texting teen world.  ...but maybe we're not ready for that yet. 

Anyway, LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children.  Basically, it's two small metal bars hidden between the backrest and cushion of your back seats that makes installing car seats a breeze.  Only cars made after September 2002 have them however, so if yours' is of the older variety, either skip this article or consider buying a new car!  My dad's car doesn't have the LATCH system and believe me, it's such a pain to install the car seats when we are visiting him.  It makes me appreciate those little metal bars in our car!  Instead of using your vehicle's seat belt, car seats attach to two anchor bars installed in the lower seatback.  The LATCH system will save you from having to thread the seatbelt through that impossibly small and never-ending tunnel that your hand and arm can't quite fit through to the other side.  True, you can safely and effectively install a car seat without the LATCH system, but I always feel my car seats aren't quite as snug to the seat as when using the LATCH.  There always seems to be a bit more wiggle room in the car seat when I've threaded the seatbelt through myself. 

So when you're searching for a new car seat, you will undoubtedly come across this LATCH term.  Don't worry about making sure the car seat you're considering has it - they all do.  It's just a matter of if your car has it - and as long as your car was made post-September 2002, it does too. 

I hope this helps!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Time to Shop for an Infant Car Seat!

So, you're having a baby!  Congratulations!  You are about to embark upon the most exciting, miraculous, exhausting, and nerve-wracking time of your life...and take it from me, it's all worth it!  Your baby will quickly become the center of your universe; so don't use up precious time and sleep on hours upon hours of researching the hundreds of thousands of different types of baby gear.  Let me do the initial researching for you.  I'll highlight the baby gear I think is the best-of-the-best, then you can decide which product works best for you and your family. 

To start off, I recommend your first purchase should be an infant car seat.  It's the one absolute essential piece of baby gear you need...seeing as how most hospitals won't let you leave without one!

Today, I'll focus on the Graco Snugride 32 Infant Car Seat.  This is my number one pick for infant car seats.  It's safe for babies up to 32 pounds and 32 inches, whereas many others only accommodate babies up to 20 pounds or so.  Graco is a well-known and respected name in the baby gear business.  This is helpful to know for many reasons.  One: Graco can be trusted.  Their products are tested for safety and the Snugride 32 meets or exceeds all U.S. safety standards.  Two: when it comes time to buy a stroller, even if you wind up with a stroller of another brand, your Snugride will most likely fit into, making it a "travel system stroller."  Uh, I'll explain travel system strollers in another post.  Did I mention there's a lot of lingo to learn when shopping for baby gear?  I digress.  Anyway, the Snugride comes in a bunch of different colors and is, most importantly - in my family anyway - very affordable.  You will not be sacrificing safety, style, or ease-of-use by purchasing this reasonably priced car seat.