Archives for category: Product Reviews

This is our second convertible car seat.  We reviewed the Britax Marathon 70 a few months ago.  The Britax spends its life in the wife’s car and since the Britax (and most convertible types of car seat) isn’t easily removable, we had to buy another convertible car seat for my truck.  Wanting to try something a little different, we did some homework and came up with the Safety 1st Complete Air 65.

Part of this review will be on the Complete Air 65 alone and some of the review will compare it against the Marathon 70.

One of the nice things about the Complete Air is that the instructions can be kept in a slot behind the car seat.  This makes it easy to find when you forget to figure out how to use some of the features.  A big safety feature of this CA65 is that you can keep your child rear-facing up to 40lbs and 40 inches.  Since crash tests have found children to be safer while rear-facing in an accident, this is a huge plus.  (But, the unfortunate thing is that most parents are eager to have their child forward-facing and won’t use this option…like me.)  I cannot comment on installation of the car seat in a rear-facing position as I have not used that feature.  I’ve read other reviews where people had trouble fitting this seat in a rear-facing position, so borrow someone else’s and do a test fit for your car before purchasing one.  The forward-facing option is recommended for kids 22-65lbs and 34-52 inches tall.

The CA65 is pretty easy to install forward-facing.  I placed my car seat in the center of the back seat of my 1987 Land Cruiser (and it will stay that way probably until #2 shows up in January).  Back in the awesome 80’s, there were no LATCH anchors in the seat and seat belts were for sissies.  (But, then also the speed limit was 55, not 70.)  In my truck, I use the middle lap belt to pass through the forward-facing belt path of the seat and cinch it up tight.  For the tether or top anchorage strap, I also don’t have an anchor that came standard with my car.  But since I do have aftermarket custom anchors bolted in the back of my truck good for 1300 lbs, I use those.  I do NOT use the LATCH connectors that come with the CA65, so I cannot comment on them.  (I will install some LATCH anchors eventually, so this part of the review will be added then.)  But, I do like the fact that Safety 1st have clips built into the car seat that keep the LATCH connectors out of the way if they aren’t being used.

There are two tilt settings in the forward-facing direction.  You cannot adjust these while the convertible seat is still in the car.  You have to remove the seat to change the tilt.  It’s a little annoying, but I guess it’s because if you can adjust the recliner portion of the seat while it’s strapped down, then the car seat is probably not secure enough in your vehicle.

Let’s start with looks.  This car seat looks cool.  I like the colors that are used and the overall shape of the seat.  To me, it’s aesthetically pleasing…and beefy looking, like my truck.  The air protect pads jut out of the seat like Mickey Mouse ears.  To up the cool factor, I tell passengers that the car seat has built in subwoofers and wait for the ooh’s and ahh’s.  I understand the safety feature of the air protect side impact pads, but it does obstruct the baby’s lateral field of vision.  Since I’m not a fan of car seats that act as baby sensory deprivation chambers, I take some points off here.

The cup holder feature is awesome.  I love it.  The Worm loves to use it too.  He’s almost 18 months old and has recently figured out that his crotch makes a poor juice bottle holder, especially when he wants to kick the front seats.  The only downside is that I wish the bottle holder could be mounted on either side of the car seat.

The 5-point harness fits nicely.  It’s got enough padding to it for it to be comfortable for Worm.  I think it fits more snugly than our Britax Marathon 70.  The harness buckle has 3 settings, which is nice.  The only thing I didn’t like about the harness buckle is the amount of force required to release the buckle tongues.  It takes an inordinate amount of force to unlatch.  Me no likey.

Comfort?  I think so.  Worm loves riding in my truck with the windows down and music blasting.  (What can I say? It’s a classic Land Cruiser and he’s got good taste in vehicles.)  But, I also notice that he looks relaxed in the Safety 1st vs. the Britax (Marathon 70).  Even my wife noticed how happy he is to be in the CA65 seat.  I can’t fit into either of the car seats, so I can’t test each of them out personally.  But, if I were to use my powers of observation, I’d put money on the Safety 1st being the more comfortable car seat.  I think part of the reason is that the CA65 seems like it has more shoulder room than the Marathon 70.  Maybe it’s the extra padding that the Marathon comes with.  I don’t know.  Just look at him in the picture below.

Hanging Loose Like the Velcro Straps on My Kicks

Cleaning?  The seat pad is removable and washable.  But, the air protect pads (Mickey Mouse ears) are not removable nor washable.  So, if your child vomits all over the sides of this seat, I foresee a lot of stinky car rides for you.  So make sure your kids vomit on the washable portion of the seat.  (I sprayed the entire car seat with waterproof fabric spray, just to mitigate some damage in case of liquid spillage.)

In the grand scheme of things, I’m really looking for a safe car seat to lug around my progeny and get them through minor to major car accidents safely.  That’s the bottom line.  Could I say that our CA65 is safer than our Britax?  No.  Nor could I say the other way around is true either.  But, I’m comfortable in what I see and how our car seat is designed.

The Safety 1st Complete Air 65 is a great seat and has plenty of features to keep us parents happy and it seems to have enough features to keep our child happy too.

Note that this is going to be an ongoing review as we get more and more usage out of the Complete Air 65.

———-

Overall Rating:  9 Worms

Ease of Use: 9 Worms  (The harness buckle kept me from giving it a 10.)

Performance:  8 Worms

Features:  9 Worms

Durability:  8 Worms  (It’s still early, so this rating will get modified as we use the CA65 more and more.)

Manliness:  9 Worms

Retail Price:  $189.99

———-

Pros:

Cup holder.  Easy to install (in my truck).  Plenty of room for child.  Approved for in-flight airplane usage. Can hold up to 65 lb child.  LATCH and instruction storage on seat when not using.

Cons:

That little red harness buckle press button is too hard to press.  The seat’s large size may be a problem in narrow cars.

Things I would modify:

Make a softer push button in the harness buckle.  Have a tilt or rotate setting to turn car seat for getting baby out of vehicle easier.  Make cup holder mount on either side of car seat.

Where to find:

http://www.safety1st.com/usa/eng/Products/Travel/Car-Seats/Convertible-Car-Seats/Details/2671-CC044ARV-Complete-Air-65-Convertible-Car-Seat

The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy By Vicki Iovine

The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy by Vicki Iovine is a woman’s book.  It’s written by a woman and intended to be read by a woman.  Until now!  I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands and learn about the secret conversation that transpires between women about the prenatal period.

The GGTP is an easy to read, light-hearted book about what happens during pregnancy.  All the good, bad, and ugly parts of being a pregnant woman are right there in black and white.  Pregnant women fart?  Wait, what?  Women fart?  I had to read it twice to make sure I wasn’t imagining things.  This potentially mortifying information (to both man and woman) and more are scattered throughout.  For balance, the GGTP also includes some very pertinent information that one would find in a more clinical pregnancy text.

I find that men don’t talk as much as women.  We just don’t care have the right equipment.  Women have got a special part of the brain that allows them to carry on 5 conversations simultaneously, all while putting on makeup and driving. Also, women can go on in graphic detail about just about anything, whereas men usually leave some ideas to the imagination.  Hence, this book is an abbreviated compilation of many of those, um, vivid conversations women divulge to their closest peers about the curious happenings of being ‘with child’.

I liked this book for my wife because it made her first pregnancy more tangible and real.  She was more willing to accept the ideas presented here rather than from me.  Most women have a hard time seeing life as it really is, not like how life is on ‘Guiding Light’ or ‘As The World Turns’.  It’s not perfect and Iovine slaps the rose off your glasses and makes sure you see that pregnancy is not fuzzy and sweet and perfect.  It can also have its, um, unappealing side.  Therefore, if you think that pregnancy is full of glowing moms rubbing their bellies and relaxing in the sun for 3 trimesters, this book will blow your mind.

I had a few issues with this book, but not that took away too much from the charm.  This book was written by someone who used artificial reproductive technology (ART) to conceive and used the medical technology and pharmaceuticals available at her delivery.  I’ve got no problem with ART.  It’s great.  But, she fully endorses drugs over more natural forms of childbirth and even goes so far as to compare the two: “You can lie on a bed of nails to deliver your baby or you can lie on a bed of downy feathers.”  This statement is a fear-based one that still causes women to run straight for the epidural.  Pain is the body’s way of telling you something.  When you completely turn off the pain mechanism of the body, how are you supposed to know if both you and your baby are ok?  (Oh yeah, because of the probe on your baby’s head, the probe on your belly, the 2 IV drip bags, the ultrasound machine, and the pair of hands reaching into you and turning the baby because you don’t know that your body needs to turn slightly so that the baby drops naturally…Oh yeah, it can’t drop naturally.  Now, it’s time to do a C-section, because that’s fun…for the doctors.)

Iovine also says that “You can never get to the hospital too early”  Really?  From what I understand, hospitals don’t make money on filling beds with non-laboring women.  Figure out that a hospital’s first job is to make money and you’ll soon understand why there’s a push to getting you to push.  (Hospitals have to pay the insurance companies that control them!)  Besides, does anyone like to hang out at the hospital?  (It’s got more dangerous bacteria than your house…I digress.)  Hospitals have different policies on taking you in to the maternity ward before labor starts, so check with your local hospital for info.

Anyhow, if you can overlook the natural versus assisted labor & deliver debate, you can find the humor you need during those trying 10 months.  (Yes, pregnancy is 10 months, not 9.)  The laughter provided in the GGTP may be enough to jiggle your baby out!  Or at the very least, you may squirt a little pee onto your leg.

Overall Rating:  7 Worms   

Readability:  8 Worms

Usefulness:  6 Worms 

Manliness:  1 Worm (Unless the word girlfriend now includes men, there’s no manliness in this book for us.) 

Retail Price:  $15

———-

Pros:

Easy to read.  Entertaining, especially for first time moms.  May be a nice change from all the clinical pregnancy books you’re reading.

Cons:

Some of the opinions are very strongly asserted.  (But hey, it’s her book right?)  The part about pregnancy fashion was way, way over my head…

Things I would modify:

Not much.  This book is a casual read.  I think it is targeted towards a woman who may be embarrassed about the changes her body is going through.  It’s aptly named as a girlfriend’s guide, because it has all the friendly character, charm, and support that one’s girlfriend would give.

Deuter Kid Comfort II Backpack

I love to have Worm close to me.  He’s my right hand man!  Besides, I’m not a huge fan of strollers.  They’re cumbersome and bulky for most situations (not to mention inconvenient for everyone except for the child riding inside).  So when I can manage it, I carry my little guy.  When our family was looking for a baby carrier, we were hoping to find one that fit our lifestyle.  And our lifestyle includes solo parent hikes while managing three creatures (a baby and two dogs) over hills, through woods, and into the city.  The Deuter Kid Comfort II was a great choice for us.

Kid cargo backpacks are pretty incredible nowadays and this one is no exception.  The Deuter Kid Comfort II has a well designed aluminum subframe, cooling system, and pockets galore.

But first, let’s talk about the most important thing.  Comfort for me.  The KC2 is incredibly adjustable and breathable.  In a backpack, those two characteristics make this backpack very comfortable.  My wife and I have two different body types and yet we both agree on the superior comfort of this pack.  The hip support belt is thick and very supportive.  I don’t get any irritation from hours of it resting on my bony hips.  The breathability is also top-notch.  I never feel like the pack is sticking to my back or that I’m not getting any airflow underneath the straps or other contact surfaces.  Deuter calls it the Aircontact system and it works as described.  Deuter also has something called a Vari-flex system built into the pack.  It allows for the KC2 to cling to your body as you negotiate uneven terrain without making the backpack feel rigid.  To me, the Vari-flex system gives me more control over the pack on technical trails.

The KC2 looks to be pretty comfortable for our baby.  He gets a 5-point harness with padded straps.  He gets a soft, removable drool pad/sleep pad/chin pad.  The kid seat is adjustable to some extent and even has a side entry/exit buckle.  I haven’t used the side entry buckle yet, so I can’t speak on the convenience of it.  For now, it’s still fairly easy for me to top load my precious live cargo.  The only issue I have with this part of the backpack is that when my boy falls asleep, his head can rest directly on the side entry buckle.  (I’ve read this about other users of this backpack as well.)  Also, please note that we started using the KC2 with a 1-year old.  I cannot comment on how well it fits a younger, smaller passenger.

A huge selling point of this pack was the built-in hydration system.  Between the carrier and the carried one, there’s a side access compartment for putting up to a 2 liter hydration pack.  I didn’t see this on any of the other packs that I looked at.  For us living in a dry climate, hydration is important and being able to store fluids in a separate compartment is extremely convenient.  The only down side is that a hydration pack doesn’t come standard with the KC2.

One of the drawbacks of the pack are the zippers on the Kid Comfort II.  They are a little irritating.  First off, I’ve got large hands.  Small zippers are not good for large hands.  The worst offending zippers are on the large rear compartment.  I always need two hands to get the thing opened and closed.  I can’t imagine the level of irritation I would get to if I was in cold weather with gloves on and had to open that compartment.

Why we didn’t choose the Kid Comfort I:  We live in warm weather so it was important to have a cooling system for the back.  We also wanted the hydration pack.  The KC1 doesn’t have either.

Why we didn’t choose the Kid Comfort III:  The KC3 had a more restricted viewing area due to its integrated rain/sun cover.  It was also taller.  I didn’t think the larger KC3 backpack was going to be as versatile for city use as well as trail use.

Overall, the Deuter Kid Comfort II does everything we need it to.  It’s large enough to carry equipment for our baby, our dogs, and ourselves for a sizable day hike.  The KC2 has a 48.5lb total weight capacity.  It’s comfortable for the wearer on long walks over various terrains.  The excellent design of this pack really shines through.  I highly recommend giving the KC2 a look if you’re in the market for a kid carrier.

— Dimensions —

Weight: 6 lbs 8 oz (2950 g)

Volume:  1100 cubic inches (18 litre)
Size:  26 / 15 / 13 (H x W x D) Inch;  66 / 38 / 32 (H x W x D) cm
Capacity:  48.5lbs (includes weight of baby)

———-

Overall Rating:  9 Worms

Ease of Use: 9 Worms

Performance:  10 Worms

Features:  8 Worms

Durability:  8 Worms  (It’s still early, so this rating will get modified as we use the KC2 more and more.)

Manliness:  10 Worms

Retail Price:  $239.99

———-

Pros:

Extremely comfortable.  Easy to adjust for different sized adults.  I love the large compartment at the base.  Plenty of pockets for compartmentalizing your hiking life.  It comes with a cute little teddy bear for the kiddo!

Cons:

Rain/sun shield must be purchased separately.  No built-in storage for the rain/sun shield in the pack.  (You can store the rain/sun shield in the hydration pack compartment, but why not a dedicated place for it?)  Hydration pack must be purchased separately.  Pack sometimes squeaks when  walking.

Things I would modify:

Add a second hip belt pocket.  Add a dedicated rain/sun shield storage compartment.  Add rings or some system to clip sippy cups/snack cups to hip belt.  It would free up my hands a bit more.

Where to find:

Deuter Website – US Version

I’ve heard that Britax is the Rolls Royce of car seats.  They’re expensive and packed with features (though sadly, none of which include a built-in umbrella). This review is on the 2011 Britax Marathon 70.

Worm’s working towards his first birthday. And with aging, comes growing (for now, it’s more upward than outward). The lankiness he’s developing pushed the limits of his previous car seat. Since Steph nixed my idea of welding extensions and bolting on modifications to his first car seat, we visited our local baby store to purchase the next size up.

Lo and behold, the Britax Marathon 70.

Britax Marathon 70

At around 20 lbs, there are some parents that want their child to face forward in the car. Others wish to keep a child rear-facing for a little longer. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all infants and toddlers should ride in a rear facing car seat until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer.) Britax states that a child can be rear-facing in the Marathon 70 from 5 to 40 lbs. For children between 20 and 70 lbs, the child can be forward facing in this car seat. Given this information, the period between 20 and 40 lbs are up to the user’s discretion. We opted for forward facing. We can never have too many sets of eyes on the road ahead.

All baby car seats go through the same rigorous testing. They all meet the same minimum safety requirements to be allowed for public use.  But meeting requirements and exceeding requirements can be at opposite spectrums depending on what is tested.  There are many ways to crash a car and I doubt that any car seat is the best protecting seat in every type of accident.  So, I can crunch crash test data until I’m blue in the face and still never be completely sure of what meeting and exceeding safety requirements fully means.  And I’ll never be sure that one car seat purchase is much better than another.  That being said, I hope I never have to personally see the safety limits of any car seat in my vehicle.

In the Britax Marathon 70, the quality of the build is there. The Marathon 70 is sturdy, but you pay the price in weight and size. This means it is not the type of car seat that you want to travel with (although you may even use it as a toddler airplane seat). It is mainly for installation into one car for long periods of time. There’s no such thing as an extra car seat adapter. It’s a one piece deal, so if you want to move it from one car to another, you have to take out the entire unit.

The Marathon came with press-release latches that easily allowed you to attach the seat to the child safety mounts found in most modern automobiles.  Though, tightening these straps down was a bit of a pain.  The adjusters required a significant amount of finger strength to slide up and down on the strap.  I guess it’s to prevent the straps from coming loose over time. Either way, this amount of effort should not be required to tighten the car seat to the car.

On the flip side, measuring and adjusting the seat to accommodate the baby was convenient. There’s a shoulder strap height adjuster conveniently placed on the car seat back. It only took a slight lifting motion (with one hand) to move.  A click sound ensures that the shoulder straps are locked into place. The crotch harness buckle has two settings so that important body parts are not being squished.

One of my gripes about the Britax is that there are pads for everything.  (Though some people may love this extra padding.)  There are shoulder pads, strap pads and crotch pads to prevent pinching of skin upon buckling the child in.  There’s a “belly” pad under the crotch harness buckle that keeps you from being the reason your baby’s gonads are deformed.  The HUGS chest pads seem to be more of a nuisance to me than a help.  I’m always sliding the pads up or down. His clothes seem to get pulled by the rubber HUGS chest pads, so I’m always moving them out of the way.  I just think that there’s way too much stuff covering the straps on the 5 point harness. If we were going to drive the baby around naked all the time, then I can see the reason for the extra strap padding. But seriously, who does that?

The cover is removable and the recommendation is for it to be handwashed, not machine washed.  The pads can be washed as well.  The people at the baby store seemed to like the aluminum bars on either side of the Marathon 70. They (2 floor salesmen) stated that it was added protection. My thought is that if you are at the point where those aluminum bars are providing protection in a car accident, the accident is most likely fatal.

The instruction booklet is 41 pages long. Did I read all of it? Almost. There are many options to mount the Marathon along with quite a few straps, buckles, and pockets for one to deal with. Installation wasn’t as straightforward as I thought it would be.  But, I appreciate the numerous mounting options since it would allow us to adapt to various makes of cars (like our future yellow Aston Martin).

I look in the rear view mirror at the Worm and can’t help but think he’s riding in extreme comfort.  I hope that as he grows, the seat will continue to accommodate his body well.  That remains to be seen.  With the durable design of the Marathon 70 and the attention to detail, I trust that it’s going to provide an ample amount of safety in case of accident. But, that is one feature I hope I don’t have to use.

Note that this is going to be an ongoing review as we get more and more usage out of the Britax.

———-

Overall Rating:  8 Worms

Ease of Use: 7 Worms  (Some features are easy to use, others are not so easy.)

Performance:  8 Worms

Features:  9 Worms

Durability:  8 Worms  (It’s still early, so this rating will get modified as we use the Marathon more and more.)

Manliness:  8 Worms

Retail Price:  $289.99

———-

Pros:

Latching lower connectors make installing and removing car seat easy. Approved for in-flight airplane usage. Can hold up to 70 lb child.  Comes with infant body pillow.  3 adjustable reclining positions

Cons:

Price.  Adjustable straps are a pain to adjust. Too much padding on the straps. We may never use it up to its 70lb weight limit.  It’s huge size may be a problem in narrow cars.  It’s heavy.  Toxic flame retardants used in material (see below for links).

Things I would modify:

Use non-toxic materials in production.  Have a tilt or rotate setting to turn car seat for getting baby out of vehicle easier.

Where to find:

http://www.britaxusa.com/car-seats/marathon-70

Related links:

http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/03/kids-car-seat-tests-reveal-chemicals/

http://www.healthystuff.org/

I’m not keen on vaccines for everyone. In America,we should be allowed to choose whether or not we wish to vaccinate ourselves and our children. All too often, and becoming more common, is the requirement for workers in the health care field to get vaccinated. For children, some schools won’t allow attendance until vaccine requirements are met.

I personally believe that vaccine manufacturers are controlling the FDA and the government in forcing us to vaccinate our children.

I’ve got nothing against vaccines. I take issue with the extreme sensationalism behind vaccinations. Lastly, it should be up to the parents to make the decision of vaccinating their own kids, not the government or businesses.

With that said, you now know my personal stance on vaccination.

Make an Informed Vaccine Decision By Mayer Eisenstein

Make an Informed Vaccine Decision By Mayer Eisenstein, is a great read for parents who are concerned about vaccinations and their (ab)use in America. Eisenstein makes some really good points throughout, and follows up with evidence and clinical research data.  The reader can find both the pros and cons of vaccination.  Interestingly, Eisenstein puts forth some research data pertaining to illnesses and side effects possibly caused by vaccines.

The common vaccines are covered in this book: Polio, Influenza, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Chickenpox, Hepatitis A & B, Haemophilus Influenza Type B, Pneumococcal, Meningococcal, Rotavirus, Human Papilloma Virus.

This book also has a few sections pertaining to vaccines that have been heavily discussed: childhood autism, aluminum, other ingredients, and social obligation.

Eisenstein presents his feelings toward childhood vaccines right off the bat. His views and background are contained in the introduction. There is no guessing as to where he stands. The material presented on the various vaccines is concise with much of it seemingly unbiased. For someone like me, I like to be given plenty of information so that I can choose what to believe. The references provided at the end of each chapter allowed me to dig deeper into the material, if desired.

For example, the chapter on tetanus contains a brief history of tetanus, incubation period, and recent statistical data. The history of the tetanus vaccine, various combinations of tetanus drugs, and the safety of the administered drug is discussed. Then, the possible links between tetanus vaccine and diseases such as arthritis, neurological disorder, and immune system related diseases are included. Moreover, the efficacy data and VAERS (vaccine adverse effects reporting system) information is presented. Finally, Dr. Eisenstein leaves the reader with a list of references that assisted him in compilation of the chapter.  As you will see, there is plenty of material in each of the vaccine chapters for one to consider.

Another chapter, autism, talks about a possible correlation between MMR and autistic behavior. As well, there is mention of high levels of mercury being used as preservatives for vaccines. This chapter also lends itself to the idea that if significant correlation was made between autism and vaccines, there would be extreme legal action taken towards the pharmaceutical industry and CDC in America. There is a lot to digest and think about in this chapter, which makes it invaluable as a tool for making an informed decision about vaccination.

The book is well written overall and I can go on describing each chapter’s contents here. But I won’t. If you are looking for a book that gives you multiple perspectives about vaccination and the studies and secrecy behind it, then you will find the book’s information thought-provoking. And that is precisely what Eisenstein wants. He wants you to understand that not everyone is looking out for your baby’s interests. Pharmaceutical companies are powerful, profit-driven entities that control the vaccine industry. An informed consumer can keep safety research and clinical studies on the cutting edge by educating themselves.  It is up to the reader to protect themselves and make an informed vaccine decision for the health of his or her child.  This book is perfect for helping one do so.

—–

Overall Rating:  8 Worms

Readability:  8 Worms

Usefulness:  8 Worms

Manliness:  9 Worms  (Seems like it’s a man’s job to know about viruses, eh?)

Retail Price:  $14.95

—–

Pros:

Lots of good information on viruses and vaccines.  Plenty of references at the end of each chapter.

Cons:

The layout of the book could be a little more user friendly.

Things I would modify:

I would like to see more data included in the book rather than the reader being pointed towards the reference section.

California Baby Super Sensitive No Fragrance Bubble Bath. Say that 3 times fast!

Wow, what a name!

I’m a man.  Steph’s a woman.  Gavin’s a worm.  Since Steph and I are responsible for bathing Gavin, he gets no choice in the matter.  Being a guy, I don’t really want my son to smell like a vanilla cupcake after he gets a bath.  (I really don’t know why women think a vanilla scent is attractive.  Smelling like a steak or a meatball sandwich is attractive.)  I want Gavin to smell like himself…99% sweet and 1% spicy.  So, I’m very keen on this California Baby Super Sensitive No Fragrance Bubble Bath.  (Whew!)  It smells almost like nothing, which means my boy will be bombarded by one less scented baby product in his life.  (Not every baby product needs to smell like something.  Take it from this guy, it is ok for baby products to have no scent at all.)

The great thing about the CBSSNFBB is, well, there are many things great about this product.  It’s part of a line of products that were created by a mom looking to provide safe bathing products for her own children.  The ingredients are not harsh detergents that you may find in some adult products.  You can use this CBSSNFBB on newborns as well as other people with sensitive skin.    It’s non-toxic (but you may not want to feed it to your baby) and it is a no tears formula.  There’s no nut oils, gluten, soy, oat or dairy in the bubble bath.  The fact that it contains organic and sustainably grown ingredients is also a plus for me.

We have a few different baby bath products in the house and I always find myself reaching for this one.  It doesn’t dry out the Worm’s skin and he feels clean without any residue after a wash.  It gets a little sudsy with some effort, but I know that suds don’t always equal clean.  So, that’s not a big deal for me.  It even comes with a bubble wand if you want to blow bubbles for your little one at bath time!  Now, that’s a big deal for me!

Gavin doesn’t get very filthy just yet, as he is new to the crawling stage.  So, I cannot attest to the cleaning power of the CBSSNFBB in very dirty conditions, but I will probably give it a try before anything else.

On a somewhat related note, Gavin’s skin has had little problem with diaper rash, eczema, etc., so we consider ourselves lucky.  There’s a possibility it is because we use products that are good for his skin.  I feel that this is one of those products.

———-

Overall Rating:  10 Worms   

Ease of Use:  10 Worms  

Performance:  10 Worms 

Features:  10 Worms 

Durability:  10 Worms 

Manliness:  10 Worms (Something that doesn’t smell like baby powder or flowers or vanilla?  Very manly!)

Retail Price:  $13.99

———-

Pros:

Doesn’t smell like sissy.  Non-toxic ingredients.

Cons:

None.

Things I would modify:

None.

Where to find:

http://www.californiababy.com

The Kalorik Baby Food Maker (Kalorik Baby Gourmet) was a purchase made through coincidence. A friend had given us a gift card to Sur La Table, and since cooking adult food had moved far down on my list of priorities after the kiddo came along, we decided to use it to purchase this baby food maker that another friend had been lusting after. We figured she and I could have baby food prep parties, sipping wine and talking about our beloved DD and DS whilst the Kalorik practically made the food itself.

Turns out, not so much. While I can definitely see the benefit of this unit for someone who has a micro-sized kitchen and no storage space to keep the pots/steaming baskets/food processor that is needed to make baby food without it, the unit does leave a bit to be desired (I have a feeling others share my sentiments considering the current going price for this machine has dropped into the $60 range, whereas you couldn’t find it for less than retail ($99) anywhere when we bought it last year).

Kalorik Baby Gourmet

The use of the unit is super simple. There is a port to put in the water, which is measured out with a handy measuring cup that has increments of not only milliliters and ounces, but also steam time.  This way you can guestimate how much water you need to add based upon a guess of how much time will be needed to steam something (this is useful as the instruction manual only lists about a dozen example foods and steaming times).  You pour the water into the port, screw in the knob (better not lose that as the unit won’t work without it), lock in the main bowl, put in the steaming basket, put in your evenly cubed fruits and vegetables, lock on the tip, turn the knob to steam and voila… it turns off automatically once the steam runs out.

While it is simple to use (and I lost the instructions after the first time setting it up, so it must be easy to figure out as I have very little mechanical aptitude), there is a lot left to be desired in the design.

First off, the basket only holds about 2 cups of cubed fruit/veggies.  This translates into about a cup of cooked food. Which is fine for when you are just introducing solids and are only making enough for a few days at a time, but when your ravenous infant is eating 2-3 cups of purees a day, the tiny output doesn’t cut it.

It is a bit difficult to have the transfer the scalding cooked fruit/veggies from the steaming basket (which has no handle) back into the main bowl, AND manage to get the blade on without smooshing food into the gears or burning the crap out of yourself.

Cleaning the unit can be a pain, and there are parts that will never get clean. The steam port on the main bowl that lets the steam in from the base is screwed on and not removable. (That may have changed on the newer model.)

Steam Port on Kalorik Baby Food Processor

It also doesn’t have a flow back prevention valve, which means that when you blend in the main bowl, pureed food seeps back into the port. And you can’t rinse or scrub it out. So the food just sits there. Forever.

Also, the plastic on the base cracked almost within the first week (and no, it wasn’t because Dylan was showing Gavin Kung Fu moves with it), and the blending is SUPER loud, even more so than the mini food processor we own.

So, all in all, I probably wouldn’t buy this again. In fact, I am going out this weekend to buy a full size food processor to make sure I can make enough food at one time to last the week without having the prepare 17 batches of the same thing.

———-

Overall Rating:  5 Worms

Ease of Use: 7 Worms

Performance:  6 Worms

Features:  5 Worms

Durability:  3 Worms

Manliness:  5 Worms (Your man may make the baby food, but I have a hunch he probably ain’t gonna use this)

Retail Price:  $99

———-

Pros:

Purees food much smoother than a regular food processor.  If you don’t have the storage space for a full size food processor and steaming pans, this is a nice compact little all-in-one unit that will allow you to make some small batches of food at home and it’s easy enough that a caveman (or husband) could use it.

Cons:

The blending is very noisy (not so good when you’re trying to sneak in some food preparation while baby’s napping); the steaming port on the main bowl is impossible to clean out (yuk); it is not very durable.

Things I would modify:

Definitely allow for the steam port to be rinsed out (Maybe changed on the newer model); make the bowl and steam basket bigger; increase the durability of the base.

Where to find:

http://www.kalorik.com/Kalorik-html/itempages/foodpros/MCH-33526-Y.html

%d bloggers like this: