Archive for the ‘Baby Bargains’ Category

Buying Used Baby Items: How To Stay Safe

baby_itemsCheap is the new cool these days, at least in baby-gear shopping. We all want the best for our kids, and sometimes this means splurging on a few things, but we also want to be practical—especially in this day and age. Of course, there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you’re not trading quality for price. Here are some tips on finding the best deals on used baby items.

Clothing: Always look for stains, torn seams and frayed hems—these are the most common flaws. Sometimes they’re easily fixed, but some are just beyond repair. Most resellers set strict standards on what they put on the rack, but making sure is largely the buyer’s job. If possible, try the clothes on your kid and picture possible alterations.

Tables and chairs: The most common issue with furniture is wobbly legs, so check for those first. Lean chairs back as far as it’ll go to see that there are no loose joints. If there’s upholstery, look underneath to see how the springs are holding up. Sagging seats are a no-no—they’re hard to fix and are likely to just get worse over time.

Appliances: The best places to find nursery fittings are pawnshops and garage sales. Come to the store with an extension cord so you can test items yourself—never take the seller’s word for it, even if there’s a guarantee (and there should be). Keep heating appliances plugged in for more than a few minutes to make sure they don’t shut off after a while—this is a common problem with used items.

Cribs and beds: Cribs should always come with certification seals; this indicates that they meet national safety standards. The slats should not be too far apart, and beddings should be snug and comfortable. If you’re buying beds for older kids, check the guardrail and frame, making sure there’s no space wide enough for a child to get stuck in. The guardrails should be solid and tall enough to prevent falls.

Car seats and carriers: Many carrier models have been recalled due to safety issues, so first make sure you’re not buying a recalled piece. A common issue is that the handle locks sometimes open up when not strapped to the car, causing the baby to fall. You should also make sure all other straps are sturdy and in place, and that the cushions are still firm with no snags.

Baby Cots: What to Know Before You Buy One

Buying the right furniture for your child can be a time consuming process as there are a huge range of kids furniture on the market.  When shopping for the best baby cot to suit your situation there are a few things that you can consider that will make this choice a lot easier and also safer for your child.  The following is a checklist that you can use to ensure the baby cot that you chosen is going to have a safe sleep environment and also meets the relevant Australian standard for safety.

One important fact to consider when choosing a new baby cot is that more expensive does not mean that the cot is any better or safer.  Any baby cot that you are considering should pass the Australian Standard and this will normally be shown on a sticker or tag on the baby cot while in the show room of many retail stores.

The next thing to check is the height of the mattress to the top of the rail.  It is important that when a mattress is fitted to the cot it does not reduce the distance between the mattress and the rail to a point where it can be possible for the child to climb out.  Selecting a cot with a high rail will avoid this potential problem.

Another feature that should be part of the cot you select is to make sure that there is adequate room in the cot for air to circulate.  Make sure that you choose a baby cot that slats for the best air circulation and also one that is open on all four sides.  Babies who are active when they sleep and tend to push blankets up against a side or end of the cot benefit from having a cot that is open on all four sides so there is still adequate air circulation even with the blankets blocking one side of the cot.

Before you purchase a baby cot it is also necessary to consider what features you would like the baby cot to have and also what budget you have for the purchase.  Baby cots come with a great selection of extra features such as storage for blankets and sheets and also toys that can be added to the cot.  Many of these things add to the cost of the baby cot so it is important that you decide on a budget before committing to buy a particular baby cot.

Great Benefits of Natural Baby Products

To ensure the best possible start for your baby when it comes to baby products it is important to consider natural products especially for those products that are consumed by the child or in contact with the babies skin.  Over the last decade there has been an increase in the amount of synthetic products on the market however many parents still choose to pay a little bit more for natural baby products.  There are quite a few reasons that many families choose to pay more for natural products for their baby and these include the perception that natural products are better for a baby’s health, natural products are also less harmful to babies, these products will work the way that they are designed and they are also much better for the environment. Mothers should also make sure they get enough vitamin c using a good multivitamin specifically designed for pregnant women (not with too much Vitamin A). Or so if  your family needs a little supplementary Vitamin C now, then it’s very easy and in fact you can buy one online.

It is important that baby products, especially those that are applied to the skin, do not contain any harsh chemicals or synthetic ingredients as babies have very sensitive and delicate skin.  Many parents choose natural products that have few harsh manufactured ingredients and they are less likely to have an adverse affect when used on the baby.  Apart from choosing natural lotions and creams it is also important to consider natural products when it comes to purchasing things such as nappies and clothing.  Nappies are one of those essential baby items which are worn by the child constantly during the first years of their lives.  Considering a natural alternative to disposable nappies can reduce things such as nappy rash and also be very beneficial to the environment.

Another reason that parents choose natural baby products is that they work the way that they are designed to work.  Many of the synthetic products that are available on the market have been made from a number of different synthetic ingredients and have in some cases only been tested in the lab.  Products such as these can have a higher incidence of allergy or reaction due to synthetic ingredients which are not included in alternative natural products.

Using natural baby products is also important when it comes to considering the environment.  Much of the products that are used to care for a baby are single use and then disposed of.  Consumers who choose natural products benefit the environment by reducing the amount of synthetic and potentially environmentally damaging elements that are disposed of in landfill.

Managing Baby Care Costs

According to Department of Agriculture statistics, raising a child to age 18 can cost over $475,000—the price of a few luxury cars, a sizeable home in a middle-class neighborhood, or at least five years’ worth of paychecks. From birth to age two alone, you can expect to send about $11,000 per year. The costs do add up; there’s no way around it. But if you’re smart with your money, you won’t feel the pinch as much.

Formula is one of the biggest baby costs, if not the biggest. It can run you back more than $100 a month, or as much as $500 if your baby has allergies and needs more expensive brands. Obviously, the best alternative is to breastfeed as long as possible. It’s free, and several studies have proven that no formula can match the nutritional value of breast milk. If that’s not an option—some moms have conditions that make breastfeeding impossible, while others simply do not produce milk—buy powdered instead of liquid formula, and buy in bulk to save money.

Next comes diapers. According to Baby Center, this costs about $72 per month on average. But like any other baby product, the price points are all over the scale. You’ll be surprised at the price differences between department stores, supermarkets, and pharmacies. Look into reusable cloth diapers instead—most babies will need only three or four, assuming you wash them every other day.

If both parents are working, child care would also figure in the budget. In some areas babysitting costs as little as $10 per hour; in others, it’s $20 and up. Send them to a daycare center and you’re looking at a bill of $1,000 or so per month. Governments sometimes offer public daycares with discounted rates, so look into them as well. Of course, there’s also the option of asking a friend or relative to sit in, or having a neighbor do it in exchange for a favor.

Finally, you’ll need to invest in baby gear. This includes strollers, car seats, cribs, clothes, and diaper bags. Since these will all be outgrown, it usually doesn’t make sense to put too much money into them. Look online or ask around for hand-me-downs; even if you don’t get them for free, you’ll get a considerable discount. Make sure to save them for your next baby, and take good care of them so you can sell or give them away when the kids are bigger.

Baby Strollers: How to choose the best Running Stroller

Many parents live very active lives and after the birth of a child are keen to get back into exercise as soon as practical.  For those parents who enjoy running or jogging and now have a little baby to look after a running stroller may just be the answer.  Baby Strollers have come a long way over the last couple of years and have developed from the basic fold up models that have been around for years to the light weight, running strollers that have become a popular choice for families who are looking for a stroller that suits their active lifestyle.

Running strollers have become a very popular choice for families and manufacturers have provided a wide range of choice when it comes to the style, construction and features of running baby strollers.  This gives the consumer great variety to choose from but also has the effect of making the choice somewhat more difficult when it comes to deciding on which running stroller is the best for your situation.  To make this decision a little easier the following are features that you should consider when choosing a running stroller.

With any baby stroller that is designed for running or jogging it is important that the design and construction is light weight.  A heavier running stroller is more difficult to push around especially if you have packed all the baby essentials so the lighter the stroller the better.

The wheel size and adjustment is also something that needs to be considered especially if you are planning to use the baby stroller in off road situations.  Larger wheels, especially those that are air filled give the baby stroller a smoother ride over uneven ground.  The adjustment of the wheels is also important as jogging or running strollers will have the choice of a fixed or a swivelling front wheel or some designs also have a front wheel that can be locked and unlocked depending on what you will be using the stroller for.  Many of the newer running strollers have been designed with a front wheel that can be locked an unlocked so you can have the wheel locked in place while running and able to swivel for extra manoeuvrability when using the stroller at the shops.

It is also important to consider the safety features of a running or jogging baby stroller as you may be travelling at some speed while using the stroller.  Make sure that the stroller has a 5 point harness system for the baby and that the stroller has a wrist or arm tether to avoid having a runaway stroller.

Apart from the features of the running baby stroller it is important that any stroller that you get is easy to fold and unfold and that you are able to lift the stroller in and out of the car.  It is always a good idea to have a go at this while you are in the store and also make sure that you can fit the folded baby stroller in the boot of your car.