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Posts Tagged ‘Phil & Ted’s

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 a great one for the “wish they had that years ago” list: Guava Family’s ingenious inflatable GoCrib.

GoCrib is basically the “fast and light” version of a pack n’play – similar to Phil N’Ted’s Traveller, but with strong inflatable technology born from kiteboarding! (You’re getting excited now, aren’t you?  It really is cool.)

Guava Family GoCrib

Photo Credit: guavafamily.com

Here’s the deal: Kiteboarding kites have a rigid-inflatable leading edge that gives them a lightweight, yet solid frame when setup, but allows them to pack down into a small backpack when not in use. This is the key: Big and rigid when in use, small and compact when not.  GoCrib has no hinges and no mechanisms – it’s safe for tiny fingers, and simple to set up.

GoCrib has all of the features that a portable crib should: Strong and Safe. Light and Ultra-Portable. Fast and Easy. Fun and Inviting.  It’s great for camping, air travel, beach days, grandma’s house, the backyard, the front porch…  Packed away, it weighs just 10 lbs, including the pump, and you get your hands back!  How great is that?

You can get GoCrib directly from Guava Family online, for $249.99 with free shipping.

We are jonesing to carry it in our OpenSky store – perhaps if we launch a successful Comments campaign?  Petition Guava Family below on our behalf!

Here’s an update – dare we say, product review – for Phil N’Teds Wriggle Wrapper: “The perfect solution for sitting, feeding & sleeping on the go!”

A while back, we posted about the beautiful unfulfilled promise of the Wriggle Wrapper, which had sat gathering moss while our little babies rolled gleefully along, stopping only to nosh in the infinitely superior Phil N’Teds MeToo.  After several noble attempts at proper use, we felt wasteful and downright ashamed at having gotten suckered into another $50 of gear we didn’t need.

Then – the baby turned 1, the toddler hit 2.5, and we all took off to co-op preschool together, working parent shift (with tag-a-long) one day a week.

The first few times, I just struggled & juggled with the baby – swapping deftly between the Ergo, a Pack N’Play (not popular), and furtive sideway glances to keep Mr. Increasingly Mobile in my sights.  This wasn’t working, so I deployed the MeToo – but with much more at stake (glue sticks – how delicious!) the little guy grew even more determined, finding a way out of MeToo’s safety straps and onto the table.

As it turns out, toddlers are pretty good at sounding the alarm – not out of concern of precious baby’s health or welfare, but because glue is “mine” and they’re not sharing.  Yet another rescue pop into the Ergo.

Phil & Teds Wriggle WrapperLater, physically exhausted and emotionally bereft, it hit me like a ton of mossy rocks: Wriggle Wrapper.  The perfect solution for sitting…on the go. (Their words.)  It would bind baby’s wiggly little bottom to a tiny preschool chair.  As though the chair were wearing the Ergo.  Sort of.  Well, at this point, anyone or anything else wearing the baby is welcome, and my back thanks you.

I brought Wriggle Wrapper to Co-op my very next shift and it worked like a dream.  The WW’s extra-wide velcro-buckle waistbelt/short is genius for sitting securely, since it immobilizes the hips – baby has no leverage to wiggle his legs into standing position.  Best of all, baby seems to love it.  I think the secure hold might actually feel comforting – like he feels wrapped, not bound.

The other parents were impressed – what’s that?  That’s brilliant! For the first time, I finished shift with energy to spare.  I’m a fan of baby-wearing, and still wore my 23-pounder for a good two hours out of five, but the Wriggle Wrapper gave me *my* mobility at key moments in the Co-op day.  I felt like Supermom.  No…I felt…normal!

So I’m updating the review, and giving WW high marks – at least for sitting and feeding!  Sleeping…remains to be seen.  But I’ve got to find a way to test it.  Because the $49.99 just got paid off (good luck hiring a nanny for that for five hours) – and now I’m curious.

Phil & Teds Wriggle Wrapper

Photo Credit: Amazon.com

A month ago, while scouring the web for a toddler booster seat, we came across an infant porta-seat proposition so tantalizingly brilliant, that we immediately slapped it into the cart and checked out, booster still in limbo.

The Phil N’Teds Wriggle Wrapper: “The perfect solution for sitting, feeding & sleeping on the go!”

Too late for our also-wriggly toddler, but just in time for a series of family dinners with our active and well-tempered seven month old, the Wriggle Wrapper (WW) seemed like a cinch to keep stashed in the Forester, along with our Ergo Organic Baby Carrier and Skip Hop Pronto portable changing mat.

Or so we thought.

You see, although the vaunted WW arrived just in time for Thanksgiving Dinner at Auntie M’s, and was even stashed thoughtfully in the trunk as planned, our baby just rolled around on the floor or got passed around the table, and it never got used.

Oh, that’s understandable – you just got it, are not in the habit of using it, etc.

December comes next.  We’re having a birthday party for our toddler, and a new mom’s arms are getting tired.  I’ve got just the thing.  So clever — you will see!  We trot out the WW for its quite public début.  What a bright idea, says the mom.  Maybe we need one of these!  Mid-wrap, I’m distracted, mom’s urgency lessens, and the WW is abandoned in a heap on the chair.

After the party, I carefully collect the WW, blame myself for having stepped away, and stuff WW into it’s carry-bag, increasingly wrinkled, but again unused.

Hmm. That’s odd – I was expecting a review here…and I’m not sure I’m getting one.  Does the Emperor have no clothes?  Is WW simply a brilliant piece of marketing, no more complex or useful than of a pair of old shorts fitted with an extra-long belt?

Perhaps…  (And don’t forget that it retails for $49.99 at Amazon, which could cover not just shorts and a belt but also a hoodie to zip around baby, tying the sleeves behind for extra security.)

But every so often, we make a purchase that helps us dream a little bigger, even if we never use it for its intended purpose.  And that, my friends, is the Wriggle Wrapper.  It’s that little angel on your shoulder saying “come with me, and we’ll nosh that delicious Reuben, enjoy that Mommy Matinée, and even get your hair cut.”

So, yes – I am resisting a “real” product review.  You could say I have nothing to base it on.  But I’ll continue to dream!  I’m taking WW on the airplane with me, next.  And I even bought it a seat.



    • 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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