The summer sun brings with it carefree days without the need for bundling up or shoveling snow. But summer has its share of must-have gear - for vacations, camp and every day. Below are some of 2010's newest offerings to ensure fun in the sun all summer long.
Good Nite Lite
I remember when I was young, how I hated going to bed in the summertime when it was still light outside. A new product called the Good Nite Lite may not make your child LIKE going to bed, but it has visual cues that might help them respond better to "Lights out!"
The nightlight, designed for youngsters who aren't yet telling time or for those with special needs, is programmable by the parent. When programmed and then plugged in, it lights up as a moon when it's bedtime (the time YOU set) and as the sun when it's "up" time. When the child sees the moon, he knows it's time for bed. And if your child likes to get up too early and deprive you of your precious Zs, he will learn he must stay in bed until the moon stops glowing and the sunshine lights up.
It is a parent-friendly contraption. It is easy to set - I like that it has a toggle button, allowing you to go forward or backward to set the time; it comes with a battery installed and an extra battery (the battery power is used to set the time); and it automatically shuts off during the day to conserve energy.
This clever tool ultimately can help your child get the amount of sleep she needs.
Available at www.goodnitelite.com.
Real Kids Shades
Sunglasses aren't just a way to cutesy up your kid. They are a legitimate must-have item for summer, along with sunscreen, hats and protective clothing.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children up to age 10 are at increased risk for permanent damage from sunlight because their eyes are more sensitive and still changing and developing.
Enter Real Kids Shades, a line of protective infants' and children's sunglasses that provides 100 percent UVA and UVB ray protection.
Real Kids Shades come with shatterproof polycarbonate frames and lenses, dozens of cute styles and adjustable neoprene bands to keep them in place - an especially important feature for babies. Older kids' models have rubber-tipped temple pieces and also come with optional bands to help keep them in place.
Just like wearing sunscreen, if you get your child in the habit of wearing sunglasses, they will keep them on. And just think of all the cute pictures you'll get!
Available at www.realkidsshades.com.
When I saw Snuggin Go's pitch that it would keep your baby's head from slumping or falling forward in the car seat, I was skeptical. I tried everything from neck cushions to rolled up hand towels to keep my baby's head from going at a right angle on car trips, to no avail.
Not having a baby anymore, I gave the Snuggin Go to friends with a newborn, Joe and Michele Dobson of Wheeling. Here's what they said:
"We think it works better than what we were using which was a crescent shaped foam kind that goes around their head. The brand is Especially for Baby.
The Snuggin Go gives her a more comfortable position in the car seat and makes it easier for her to breathe since her chin is tilted up a little."
There you have it. The Snuggin Go's secret is in the lumbar support it provides, making it not only better for breathing but also better for Baby's spine. It works in car seats, strollers and swings. It grows with your baby up to 1 year. Available at www.snuggingo.com and other retailers.
Snazzy Baby Travel Chair
My Baby's Own Deluxe Travel Chair by Snazzy Baby turns a shopping cart or an ordinary chair into a temporary restraint system. It has a nonslip bottom that keeps it in place, and can even be used on your lap to keep your baby secure.
The foldable, portable chair easily can be tucked into a diaper bag. Use for babies and tots up to 37 pounds. Available online at all major baby product retailers in red or navy or exclusively in black, called the Sit Seat, at One Step Ahead.
SureFit for the Car
You use slip covers to protect your couches and chairs from the mayhem caused by your little monsters (I mean kids); why not in the car? Get rid of the ugly old sheet or towel and try washable car upholstery covers for both benches and bucket seats from SureFit.
The soft fabric is comfy, nice looking and easy to remove. All the covers have a waterproof lining (perfect for coming home from the pool!) and no-slip grips, protecting from any accidents along the way. The covers are available at www.SureFit.com.