Eli and I were absolutely honored and delighted to serve on the judging panel for the JPMA Innovation Awards again this year. It’s no secret I’m something of a baby gear geek, so I’d jump at any opportunity to spend an afternoon testing out the most interesting new products coming to market.
We looked at over 60 products on Thursday. I folded and unfolded strollers, tried on baby carriers, installed car seats, and unintentionally turned a baby bottle into a water gun. Friday morning, the 10 winning products were announced:
1. 5 Phases Baby Bottle – This is a glass bottle enclosed in plastic, to the glass in case it falls. So you get all the benefits of glass and all the durability of plastic.
2. OXO Tot Perfect Pull Wipes Dispenser - A really cool design with a one-touch, push-latch lid, a silicone gasket (to keep the wipes moist) and a weighted plate that ensures you only grab one wipe at a time (and not a string of 10).
3. Arm & Hammer Sit Down Potty with Wipes – This potty has a baking soda cartridge to keep it smelling fresh, and a wipes dispenser on the side, so they’re always within easy reach. The potty seat can be detached and used as a toilet training seat, and the potty can later be used as a step stool.
4. Bubble Bum Inflatable Booster Seat - We are SO excited about this product. This is the most travel-friendly, carpool-compatible belt-positioning booster seat ever made. Inflate, sit, buckle and go. It’s also narrow enough to fit easily between car seats.
5. phil&teds Nest – this handy travel companion can be packed full of diapers and baby clothes, and then it sets up as a moses-basket-esque bassinet, perfect for babies from 0-9 months.
6. Magnificent Baby – one of my personal favorites! Magnificent Baby makes adorable baby clothing, but replaces clumsy snaps with easy magnets. It’s the quickest way to get a baby dressed.
7. Mountain Buggy Freerider – this is a wheeled board for older kids to catch a lift while a younger sibling snoozes in the stroller. But then, once you arrive at the playground, the Freerider can turn into a standalone scooter.
8. Summer Infant Prodigy Car Seat – this infant car seat doesn’t look too revolutionary at first glance (though it has a very cool harness tightening system that auto-adjusts the harness height to the baby’s shoulders), but the technology in the base is most impressive. There’s a small screen that tells you when the seat is installed properly, by checking off three steps: connect LATCH, level the seat, and tighten the belt, using a very easy ratcheting system.
9. Baby Jogger City Versa – this new stroller from Baby Jogger is a cross between the City Mini and the City Select. It leverages the company’s amazing quick-fold technology. But it also has a reversible seat. And it also folds very, very small — with the seat on and facing in either direction.
10. Bugaboo Donkey - it’s no secret I’m a fan of this stroller but putting aside how I feel, the Donkey stroller was absolutely one of the most innovative products of the year. The concept of a single stroller that transforms into a double is not new, but the way in which Bugaboo went about it was exceptionally creative.