There’s an endless array of innovative and supposedly life-changing products on the baby and toddler market. I had my first baby during the heyday of the Bumbo (a molded foam seat for infants who can’t yet sit on their own) and the Shampoo Rinse Cup (essentially, a flattened milk pitcher designed to keep soapy water out of baby’s eyes). More recently, a friend told me about a new mompreneur product called the Dare-U-Go, a silicone contraption that can serve as a bib, snack storage container and wearable food tray.
This got me thinking about the inventions and products that I wish were in existence, that would be truly helpful in day-to-day life with a little one. Here are some ideas that baby companies’ R&D departments really should be working on.
1. Nap-length predictor
This futuristic crib mattress would have an embedded high-tech sensor that analyzes your baby’s circadian rhythm and calculates how long this particular sleep session will last. A digital readout would count down the remaining time, so you can figure out whether it’s worthwhile to lie down yourself, or if your break will be over in a mere eight minutes.
2. Diaper-bag inventory monitor
Your diaper bag now has artificial intelligence, thanks to hidden microchips in each compartment. A display screen would show a smiley icon when it’s fully stocked, or flash a warning light to remind you that you never replaced the spare outfit you used yesterday, or that you’re down to your last bum wipe.
3. Hip-mounted wipe dispenser
Picture a holster belt designed to hold a package of wet wipes. Hey, function takes priority over fashion in those first few months of parenthood, and nobody wants to rifle through a packed diaper bag when faced with a high-octane diaper mess.
4. Hydraulic crib
When transferring a sleeping baby from your arms to the crib, wouldn’t it be great to have a crib whose mattress could be silently and effortlessly raised or lowered?
5. Baby-waker puncher
10 amazing products for babywearing through a Canadian winter Admit it, there have been times when you would have appreciated having a doorbell panel equipped with a giant boxing glove, on the kind of extendable accordion arm you see in cartoons. If someone has the audacity to ring the bell while the baby is sleeping, bam! They get bopped in the face. A webcam would be included, so you can rage-watch the video footage later.
6. Combo-lock sun hat
We already have bucket hats with chin straps, but Velcro and snaps are no match for a stubborn toddler. What we need is a clasp that fastens by combination lock—and only mom and dad know the code.
7. Bacteria-detection goggles
These infra-red, night-vision, Navy SEAL-type goggles would allow you to see bacteria accumulation on household surfaces, so you can be more efficient and only wipe down areas that truly need it.
8. Sock-sorting robot
They’ve already created the Roomba, so this type of technology can’t be too far away. The basic model would unite the socks in pairs, while the more expensive premium version would visit each bedroom and put them in the correct drawer.
9. Appliances that text you
It would also be handy to have a washing machine, dryer or dishwasher that texts you when the load is done. (Update: My editor has just informed me this already exists!)
Listen, we’ve got to dream big, people. This is the age of limitless possibilities. Parents of babies and toddlers, we have serious buying power. Let the business world know what you want! Or, develop it yourself. You know what they say: necessity is the mother of invention.