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Twenty and Ten: the best new kids’ products from 2010

Happy New Year! Inspired by other year-end roundups, I decided to do one of my own. Here are my picks for the twenty best new baby gear items and the ten best new toys from 2010. Enjoy!

Baby Gear

  1. Grass by Boon – a drying rack that’s beautiful, whimsical and utterly functional.
  2. Mamaroo by 4Moms – a soup-to-nuts overhaul of the traditional baby swing that’s become the baby shower gift of choice.
  3. City Select stroller by Baby Jogger – the most adaptable stroller to date, the City Select was an instant hit.
  4. Buzz B Nail Trimmer by ZoLI – every new parent knows that trimming newborn fingernails is a terrifying ordeal. This gadget makes it quick and painless for everyone involved.
  5. Taga Bike Stroller – it’s a bike with a child seat that transforms into a stroller, so basically it’s awesome. Rumor has it, the company is marketing itself to bigger stroller manufacturers, so the future is a little uncertain right now. Fingers crossed, because this is a great product.
  6. Flexibath Tub by A Real Cool World – this folding bathtub offered an intriguing preview into a future where clever design can take big, bulky products and make them slim and portable.
  7. Rhoost childproofing products – two spunky Bostonians set out to prove that childproofing supplies don’t have to be beige and boring — and they succeeded.
  8. Issie Lovie by Aiden + Anais – the ubiquitous muslin swaddle wraps were too big for attached tots to tote around without recalling Linus. The Issie is a travel-size, huggable-but-not-draggable alternative.
  9. Bee 2010 by Bugaboo – the redesign of the Bee stroller showed that the designers at Bugaboo were really listening to their customers. Always a good thing.
  10. Packit Personal Cooler – it’s a cooler bag with freezer gel sewn into the walls of the bag. Toss it in the freezer overnight and it keeps its contents cool for 10 hours at a stretch. A boon for moms and kids alike.
  11. Pebble Mattress by Nook – one of the most intriguing new products of the year, the Pebble looks gorgeous, but the fabric technology and research are what really differentiate this mattress from all the rest.
  12. Magnificent Baby – invented by an aunt who was freaked out trying to dress her newborn nieces and nephews, these adorable baby basics use magnetic closures, so every article of clothing can be laid out flat and fastened up in a hurry. Dads, take note – no more confusing snaps.
  13. Personal Baby Assistant (PBA) by American Innovative – sure, you could use an iPhone app to track all your baby’s vital stats, but why risk the consequences of inevitable proximity to spit up, dirty diapers and kicking feet? The PBA tracks it all and uploads the data to an elegant web-based interface with sophisticated graphing and reporting tools.
  14. Gemini Baby Carrier by Beco – the first truly beautiful baby carrier that offers total flexibility – wear your baby facing in or out, on your back, or on your hip.
  15. Versa Diaper Bag by Skip Hop – a great-looking bag that can instantly expand to offer 20% more storage space. It’s both feminine and roomy but not too bulky, plus I love the contrasting color of the expanding compartment.
  16. Sidekick Wheeled Board by Orbit Baby – if you’ve ever tried to push a stroller with a child standing on a wheeled board, you know that it works, but it’s awkward. The Sidekick is anything but awkward. The riding child is oriented to the side, out of the way of the handlebars. And the skateboard aesthetic is irresistibly cool.
  17. Grano Recliner by Monte – if Monte and LaZBoy met in a swanky bar, married and had kids, this is what the offspring would look like. The Grano is a sleek, modern glider, but it also has a recline mechanism. So now you really can sleep when the baby is sleeping.
  18. Pixie Night Light by Beaba – the first rechargeable LED night light that’s fully certified as safe for infant use. I love the fun contours, and the 8 hour battery life.
  19. Performance Carrier by Ergo – this company is on fire. Their newest carrier is sleek and lightweight, but the real Ergo story in 2010 was the sale of the company — a company that was so small six years ago, I placed my first order with the founder’s dad — for $91 million in September to Compass Diversified Holdings.
  20. Next Generation Car Seats by Britax – years and years of research and crash testing went into the complete overhaul of the Britax car seat line. Britax also changed hands in 2010, when the Carlyle Group sold the company to Nordic Capital in November for an undisclosed sum.

Toys

  1. Piggy Paint – water-based nail polish that’s totally safe for kids. Huge sigh of relief for all us moms of girly girls.
  2. Spot It by Blue Orange – a simple, portable card game that manages to level the playing field for adults and kids. Finding the picture in common between two cards is harder than you’d think.
  3. Happyland by ELC – a rich world of high quality plastic figures and accessories that will keep toddlers and preschoolers busy for hours.
  4. Tegu Blocks – wooden magnetic blocks that are addictive and fun. Even better, they’re manufactured sustainably and responsibly in Honduras.
  5. Anomia – invented by a local Bostonian, this simple word game is one of the most fun new games we’ve tried in a while (and we play a lot of games around here). Especially good for big groups.
  6. Trunki – strictly speaking this isn’t new, but Melissa & Doug bought the design and rereleased the product in 2010 with renewed enthusiasm. I’ve always loved the sensibility of Trunki and it’s great to see it in such capable hands going forward.
  7. Swinxs – it’s a game console with no screen. Swinxs gets kids moving, running, jumping and laughing. Sophisticated technology with a simple user interface makes this user friendly for both kids and their inept parents.
  8. Ideapaint Home – affordable white board paint that sparks creativity and doesn’t add to landfills.
  9. Ybike – a balance bike with lots of personality and a wide rear wheel for a little extra stability.
  10. Games by Lego – building with Lego is fun; playing games is fun. With a synergy of the two, Lego ended up with something completely sensational.

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