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Guavamitts Tiny Zoo

NEW! guavamitts make Mom *and* Baby look good! Photo Credit: http://www.guavakids.com

Infant fingernails: a seemingly impossible combination of soft and sharp.  You can “trim” them in an instant with a gentle maternal nibble, yet they can slice a tender cheek in the blink of an eye.

Socks on the hands always elicit the sad trombone, no matter how sweet the cherub.  Thanks to the brilliance and diligence of Lili and Linsey – the two Portland Oregon-area moms behind brand-new label guavakids – makeshift mitts are no longer a parent’s only preventative option.  Beautifully tailored, graphically vivid and exuberantly intentional “guavamitts” are a major infant glove upgrade with more than just protective value – they’re playful, stimulating, eco-friendly and smartly designed so you’ll actually *use* them.

Lili and Linsey took special care in sourcing materials and designing-in special details.  guavamitts boast a tailored look, snug closures, and mod patterns.  Fabric is a knitted bamboo/organic cotton blend that’s breathable, naturally antimicrobial, and sustainably harvested.  Each mitt reverses, sporting two visually stimulating patterns, and (like socks) they are wearable on either hand.

Guavamitts Neutral Pack

Neutral Pack: Cirque and Cobblestone | Photo Credit: guavakids.com

This is a product that holds up and even improves under closer scrutiny – we were duly impressed by the quality construction on this tiny scale, which clearly warrants the suggested retail price of $12/pair (or $20 for a two-pack).  A little extra care during laundry will keep guavamitts looking their best.  Fish them out after washing and air dry to help avoid shrinking or puckering.  A mesh baby laundry bag like this one from Munchkin is always a great option for keeping track of tiny items.

Eminently giftable, guavamitts (in 9 different patterns…18 counting the reverses) are a promising debut!  Launched in select stores just this month, interested readers can shop directly at guavakids.com starting September 21.

Smith+Noble Tranquility Shades

Photo Credit: SmithandNoble.com

Smith+Noble recently announced its newest light-blocking line of shades, aptly named “Tranquility.”  Behold the power of innovation: these shades got me blogging again!  If I had or was expecting a newborn, I’d easily forego four months of lattés to jump on these immediately!

Smith + Noble Tranquility shades solve pesky nursery “light leak” right within the window frame, with a sleek set of side tracks that hold blinds flush, eliminating the frustrating problem of light escaping out the sides, despite layer upon layer of light-blocking this-and-that.  Tranquility is currently offered in roller and cellular styles, with the latter offering additional insulation benefits – an eco-friendly choice in a particularly sunny window.  Custom sizing gets you a perfect fit, and the side tracks are held in place with stick-on magnetic strips, making them relatively easy to install, adjust, or remove for cleaning.

Folks needing an outside mount light-blocker are out of luck for the moment – for you, we continue to recommend the heavy-duty light-blocking curtain liners offered by folks like Pottery Barn.

Looking to outfit a nursery or child’s room?  A Cordless lift system is available (+$60/ea shade) and recommended.

Custom sizing means a custom price, but you should expect about $300 for a 3/4″ Blackout Cellular Tranquility Shade with standard options.  Smith+Noble runs frequent discounts (like 30% off on an order of 3 or more) so if you play your cards right, or maybe tackle two rooms at once, you can usually get a good deal.  At any rate, new parents know, and those expecting will soon discover: a good night’s sleep is priceless…

You can purchase Tranquility shades exclusively online at smithandnoble.com.

Oh no!  Not MeToo!

Phil Ted MeToo Chair Round Table

Photo Credit: Amazon.com

I’m going to try and tread lightly here, as one of my all-time favorite gear items is called out by the CPSC for safety concerns.  We used (and still use) Phil&Ted’s iconic MeToo clip-on chair in lieu of a high chair for both our children, both of whom are on the heavy side of the scale (75% and 110% at almost every weigh-in), and believe firmly in the strength of those beefy metal clips when tightly secured to the appropriate surface.

We’ve primarily used two in tandem, attached kitty corner on our built-in kitchen island, which is a solid inch and a half of sturdy maple.  Our kids could potentially kick the center of the island while in the chairs, but honestly, that’s not how they roll.  For us, the risk (and reality) was more that they would climb out of their seats, stand on the island, and swat at the pendant lights – whee!  (The arm straps on MeToo are weak sauce and a totally tough sell on top of a bib and broccoli.)

I’m actually comforted and pleased that Phil&Ted’s isn’t responding immediately with a worldwide recall – this to me indicates they believe the issue is not one of product integrity or basic design, but perhaps more one of user error.  They are issuing rubber pads or boots to make it safer – not to fix a fundamental design flaw.  Not exactly what the CPSC ordered, but as an owner, it seems logical – the rubber pads ours came with finally came unglued after their 50th trip through the dishwasher (and clothes dryer).  It’s not unlike the recent brake fix on our Bugaboo Bee.  Or the hinge covers issued for our Maclaren Twin Techno (for your precious fingertips).

In my humble opinion, keeping things safe with MeToo is a matter of physics and attention to detail – you have to assess the weight of your child, the curvature and heft of the furniture you’re attaching the chair to (round ones are tough, yet pictured in official photo at right), and use the clamps properly, tightening until you can tighten no more, and then tightening one last time.  I shudder to think any children actually did have their fingers amputated as they hit the floor from an improper installation and extra case of the wiggles, but I suppose it must have happened?  Or perhaps we’re at a point now where we if we dream it, we really CAN do it?

Anyway.  At our house, we’re hanging out in our MeToo’s until the kids are tall enough for our rickety backless bar stools.  It really is a best-in-class solution, from the hefty clips right down to folding fully flat for travel (even won a Cribsie nod recently in the Mealtime category).  But I’ve included the entire CPSC release below, urge you to come to your own conclusions, and promise to keep you posted on any developments.

…………………… official release follows ………………………

NEWS from CPSC
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Office of Information and Public Affairs
Washington, DC 20207

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 6, 2011
Release #11-218

CPSC Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

CPSC Alert: Consumers Urged To Stop Using phil&teds USA Clip-on Chairs Due To Serious Dangers Posed To Children

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns consumers that some “metoo” clip-on table top chairs, imported by phil&teds USA Inc., of Fort Collins, Colo. put young children at risk of serious injury due to multiple safety hazards. CPSC is urging consumers to stop using some metoo clip-on chairs immediately.

The product is an infant/toddler chair with a nylon fabric seat and a metal frame that clamps onto tables using two metal vise clamps. The upper part of each clamp rests on the table top and has either a rubber clamp pad on its underside or a rubber boot covering it. The chair is sold in three fabric colors – red, black and navy.

The clip-on chairs affected by this warning do not have plastic spacers between the table clamps and the front horizontal metal bar. The clip-on chairs that have plastic spacers between the table clamps and the front horizontal metal bar are under evaluation.

The company has refused to agree to a national recall of their hazardous product that is acceptable to CPSC. The company has offered a repair kit consisting of rubber boots to place on the upper clamp grips of the chairs. Consumers should be aware that CPSC has not approved a repair kit for this product, despite the firm’s prior statement that it was conducting a recall “in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.”

CPSC is urging consumers to stop using the affected metoo chairs at this time in order to prevent the risk of injury to children.

The affected metoo chairs pose serious fall and amputation hazards to children placed in them. Children can suffer impact and head injuries when the chair detaches from the table and falls with them in it. CPSC staff is aware of numerous incidents involving the affected metoo chairs.

CPSC staff has determined that the clamps can detach from a variety of different table surfaces. Additionally, the chairs can detach when children move around or use their feet to push against other objects. Staff also determined that the lack of adequate space between the horizontal metal bar at the front of the chair and the clamps can cause children’s fingers to be severely pinched, lacerated, crushed or amputated if caught between the bar and the clamp when the chair detaches.

In addition to hazards with the affected clip-on chairs, the product packaging and instructions provide conflicting information. The product’s packaging and marketing information show the product being used in ways that may lead to the chair detaching from the table. However, the product’s instructions do not adequately warn against this type of use.

Tens of thousands of the affected metoo chairs may have been distributed since May 2006 for about $50 through philandteds.com, Amazon.com, Buy Buy Baby, Target, Toys R Us, other online retailers and a variety of independent juvenile specialty stores.

To see this safety alert on CPSC’s web site, including pictures of the products involved, please go to: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml11/11218.html

Here’s something you won’t see on the chi chi baby gear blogs…

We recently had to get out of dodge quickly after our dishwasher caught fire and filled the house with smoke.  It was my first time flying with both toddlers, and I tried to pack light, but was not going to get caught with my pants down!  I am a professional.  Which meant, while hastily salvaging a half dozen belongings from our basement that didn’t smell like burnt plastic and electrical soot, I grabbed my giant carabiner and said a prayer.

I wish someone had taken our picture at the airport.  I had Z’s car seat over one shoulder, Z himself in the Bugaboo Bee, diaper bag stuffed in the stroller basket, Sister H walking, and another backpack with the crucial DVD player and snacks hanging off the back with the carabiner.  Without Z in the seat, the whole thing tipped backward.  But with everyone in place, it was a thing of beauty.

We somehow made it through security, after which Z decided he’d stay shoeless.  So shoes (thanks to their little ankle loops) were added to the carabiner.  Ten minutes later, a hoodie came off.  Looped onto our friend with the shoes.  Down the gangway, time to gate check the stroller and board the plane – quick and easy, since the carabiner kept stray items in check.  And no little shoes lost on the plane – added Sister’s to the mix and kept ’em all together, no worries.   Changing planes, same deal – don’t want to carry it?  Just clip it on.

Fancy strollers and diaper bags sell “valet clips” – but really, don’t you just need a giant carabiner – or two?  I think I got mine at the Fred Meyer checkout as an impulse buy in place of mints.  Dare I suggest this as an offbeat baby shower gift?  They should cost about $8 a piece, and you want at least 7″ x 3″ to fit around most stroller tubing.

Someday perhaps you’ll take up rock climbing.  But in the meantime, you’ll just rock.

Gross – Bed Bugs!  This is thankfully an epidemic that shunned Portland as a potential winter get-a-way, but we keep hearing horror stories on the subject out of NYC.  A reader pointed us to a great green bed bug eliminator – Sleep Tite Bed Bug Spray from Fairy Tales Hair Care (makers of the popular Rosemary Repel lice treatment line).

Fairy Tales Hair Care Sleep Tite Bed Bug Spray

Photo Credit: fairytaleshaircare.com

According to Fairy Tales, 1 spray is 97% effective in killing a live bed bug in seconds!  Spray nightly for 2 weeks and then twice a week to control further outbreaks from newly hatched eggs; until you are confident they are gone.

Available in a 32 oz bottle ($19.95) and 1 gallon refill ($59.95) from Fairy Tales Hair Care.  New Yorkers, share this link with your favorite eco-baby boutiques so you can get it locally!  Sleep tight…

In the weeks leading up to her 3rd birthday, our daughter became suddenly and fiercely attached to the idea of riding a scooter.  We were a bit skeptical (it was wintertime, after all, which would put the scooting mostly indoors), but she persisted, driving us to spend many late nights on-line, researching wheeled possibilities for the toddler set.

We ultimately settled on KickboardUSA’s Mini Kick scooter, and after two months’ scooting (indoor AND out) cannot recommend it enough.  Mini Kick is specifically designed for beginning riders – it’s low to the ground and features 3 wheels (2 in front!) for greater stability, yet maintains a decent turning radius for navigating the living room furniture.  It has a smooth, quiet glide, and is light enough for our 3 year old to lift and maneuver off the ground when necessary.

Scooting on Mini Kick seems completely intuitive to the child – our daughter has essentially taught herself how to scoot, steer and brake while we sat back and marveled.  The only bummer is the flexible plastic footing – while totally functional and key to this beautiful concept, it doesn’t support the weight of an adult, so we can’t get in on the fun.

Mini Kick costs $79.99 through KickboardUSA.com and comes in an array of candy colors – we got orange, though I’m sure our daughter would have preferred hot pink.

Petit Collage Giraffe Growth Chart

Photo Credit: bloumebaby.com

What a great idea for a growth chart.  Your little one may actually grow faster as she cranes her neck for a view while you mark her height on this whimsical reflective giraffe.

Made in the U.S. out of light, shatterproof mirrored acrylic, and available at bloumebaby.com for $80.



    • JHeff: I have read a good number of comments about most users of the boba not really ever using the foot rests. Looking at the videos I've seen, the back on
    • Mama GaGa: Oh, boo! Thanks for the manufacturing update - I will make note in the post. Cheers - MG
    • Cathy: I know this is a couple years old but I ran across this post and was so excited when you said the Boba was made in America - a big selling point for m

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