With such a vast selection, choosing the right baby products can be a little overwhelming. Here are reviews of eight products currently on the market.
The baby product industry is a multi-billion dollar juggernaut. This is particularly true when it comes to online baby product sales, which is one of the strongest segments of online sales. For example, when overall online consumer spending declined during the Recession, baby product sales held strong. In 2013, online baby product sales grew more than 11 percent, to more than $5 billion. While the vast selection of products is good for parents, it can definitely leave people feeling overwhelmed. There are countless options, all claiming to be the best choice, making it tough to know exactly what to buy and where to buy it. As with any important purchase, it's crucial to do research. Each baby is unique and all families have their individual preferences, so take the time to find out what works best. Here are reviews for eight popular baby basics currently on the market. Graco Pack 'N Play with Reversible Napper and Changer This pack 'n play from Graco is one of the few models on the market offering an all-in-one reversible napper/changer. Switching from the napper to the changer is as simple as pushing a button, lifting and rotating. The changer then locks into place and is ready go. The innovative system works well and is the product's unique selling point. The napper and changer are made with comfy fabric, though it's spot clean only, so parents may want to use a machine washable liner. The fabric used for the rest of the playpen is durable enough, but will retain watermarks and stains. Setting up this pack 'n play is a bit more difficult than some other models, due to the napper/changer system. Once it's assembled, though, it's easy to use. And the pack 'n play conveniently folds up and fits in the included carrying case. In conclusion, this pack 'n play has the versatility to work really well for babies as they grow from newborn to toddler. Although the initial setup can be a bit tricky, it's a sleek and convenient product once it's assembled. PRICE: $99 GRADE: A- Boppy Luxe Pillow The Boppy Pillow has become an essential baby product for many parents. It's designed to give comfy support to the parent and the baby throughout the first year. It has a soft minky cover that removes for washing. And unlike a lot of other covers and liners, it holds up after numerous washes and doesn't fade. The Boppy is perfect for supporting a baby while feeding, but also makes a great lounger when they're lying on the floor. For babies who are old enough to sit up, but are still a bit wobbly, parents can place them in the Boppy to absorb their inevitable tumbles. There are certainly other pillows out there, but the Boppy is a durable and functional product for a good price. PRICE: $49 GRADE: A Dohm-NSF Sound Conditioner The Dohm-NSF is a white noise machine that produces a sound similar to a fan, but without the warbling or rattle of the blades. It's this steady, soothing sound that has made it so popular. Not only is the uniformity of the sound pleasant, but it also helps to block out loud noises that might otherwise wake a baby. The Dohm-NSF is compact and only weighs a pound and a half, making it easy to move from room to room or take on vacation. It has two speed settings. One minor complaint is that it doesn't have a battery option, so it always needs to be plugged into a wall outlet. But it has an 8-foot cord that helps to minimize this inconvenience. With its rubber footpads, the Dohm-NSF runs quietly on most surfaces. A few customers have noted a slight buzzing sound when it's on the highest setting, but have remedied the problem by setting the Dohm-NSF on a book or drink coaster. PRICE: $59 GRADE: A- Safety 1st SleekRide Premier Travel System The SleekRide travel system offers a lot of features for its price. It comes with an onBoard 35 infant car seat, canopy with mesh window, snack tray and a large storage basket. It also has two cup holders, which some parents prefer. The cup holders are part of a tray up above the canopy that also has a covered storage compartment for a phone, keys or other small items. Assembling the SleekRide is fairly easy and the instructions are clear enough that there are no major frustrations. The main concern with the stroller's design only affects taller than average parents – the handle is fairly low and doesn't adjust, so if parents are taller than average, they may find themselves hunching over more than they'd like. Of course, this won't be an issue for many parents. Living up to its name as a Safety 1st product, the SleekRide and infant car seat are designed for safe and secure use. The stroller has a reliable braking system and the car seat has side impact protection and a five-point harness, ensuring that the little ones are as safe as they are comfy. PRICE: $249 GRADE: A- Summer Contour Change Pad This changing pad is four-sided and features a safety strap, which helps to keep a baby secure. The strap might seem like an unnecessary element to some parents, but the buckle is easy to release and it doesn't unnecessarily complicate the process. Be aware that this is a large changing pad, measuring in at 32 1/2 inches long and 16 1/2 inches wide. This is relevant because the pad might be too big for some changing tables. The pad is made with double-quilted vinyl, which is fairly stain-resistant and can be cleaned with soap and water. Of course, to keep it really clean and comfy for a baby parents need to use a cover, which isn't included. One thing to note is that the safety strap circles around to the bottom of the changing pad, creating a slight edge that might damage some wood surfaces. This can be remedied by putting a non-slip pad beneath it, which also anchors the pad to the surface for added safety. PRICE: $39 GRADE: A- Graco Breaze Click Connect Umbrella Stroller Graco claims that the Breaze Click Connect is the easiest folding umbrella on the market. After trying out its one-handed fold design, it's hard to argue. While the Breaze Click Connect looks bulkier than the usual umbrella stroller, it has a lightweight frame (the entire thing weighs about 17 pounds). It can hold children up to 50 pounds. The stroller has higher than average handles, which is nice because you won't have to slouch to push it. Other nice features include a large canopy and a storage basket with plenty of space for miscellaneous items. Assembly was easy enough, though the braking system is a tad complicated to hook up. The braking system utilizes a cable system so that one only have to press one pedal to lock both of the rear wheels. Once it's assembled, parents will be grateful for the convenience. PRICE: $169 GRADE: A Safety 1st Summit Booster Car Seat Safety 1st car seats are highly rated when it comes to safety and reliability, and the Summit Booster is no exception. It features side impact protection and a five-point harness system, and all of its components meet or exceed federal safety standards. The Summit Booster is well designed and offers lots of intuitive features, including an easily adjustable headrest and armrests that conveniently pivot to help parents get their child in and out of the seat. As one might expect, the Summit Booster's many safety elements mean that it's not the lightest or sleekest seat on the market. Some parents may find it too bulky for their preferences, but most will happily trade the bulk for the added safety features. PRICE: $119 GRADE: A- Britax B-READY Stroller The Britax B-READY is an award-winning stroller with innovative design and numerous safety features. For starters, of the three strollers reviewed for this article, the B-READY was the easiest to assemble. This is impressive given that it's also the largest and most dynamic. If parents are wondering why it's so large, it's because the B-READY is designed to accommodate a second child. It works beautifully as a single-child stroller and then adapts to a double stroller when parents are ready. Parents can either buy an additional Britax seat or use one from a different manufacturer (with an adaptor kit the stroller is compatible with most major manufacturer's car seats). There are 14 different configurations, meaning parents can easily choose the best setup for their needs. The B-READY has extra large rubber tires and the frame is sturdy enough to handle most terrain. Children up to 55 pounds can comfortably ride in it. It has a roomy storage area under the seat, which parents can access from all sides. One feature that really stands out is the adjustable handle. It pivots with the click of a button and can accommodate parents of all heights. The handle also has a molded grip that makes one-handed steering easy. With its robust features and second child compatibility, the B-READY is definitely a top-tier stroller. It's a good option for growing families interested in a stroller that is durable enough to last many years. PRICE: $449 GRADE: A%3Cimg%20src%3D%22http%3A//beacon.deseretconnect.com/beacon.gif%3Fcid%3D145208%26pid%3D46%22%20/%3E