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The idea of the products listed below is to make parents’ active, day-to-day lives easier. I’m very much a dad that likes to be out and about. I prefer to be on the go rather than being in the house most of the day. The products listed are also mostly well under $100, so go ahead and get two cups of coffee! Most of the products are ones we’ve used personally. Any products we haven’t used, I state clearly. So let’s take a look!
This is a portable booster seat that we use when we go out to eat. It’s not large (it fits in a reusable shopping bag) and only weighs about 6 pounds. We’ve never really liked restaurant high chairs, so this works great for us. The legs can be adjusted for three different heights, and it has its own removable tray. The seat has two buckle straps that secure it to a regular chair. One strap goes around the chair back and the other goes around the seat base. The straps are pretty long so will reach around most chairs. I can only recall one time where the restaurant chair was too wide for the seat straps to go around. It’s also easy to wipe down and clean. The quality is good too. At the time of writing, we’ve had the seat 4 years, and it works just as well as when we first got it.
The Playard is a fold out hexagonal playpen. We find it incredibly useful when we go to a park or even in our own backyard. We’ve had people ask positively about it when they’ve seen us using it. It’s nice to have your child contained so you don’t feel like you have to constantly manage them crawling away. The sides are see-through mesh and the bottom is a water-resistant material. I really like that the bottom is covered since sometimes the ground is damp or a bit dirty. It’s fully assembled, so you just have to open it up. Setting it up and closing it back down can probably be done in under one minute. It weighs 12 pounds, so it’s fairly lightweight too. It likely works better with infants because once kids really start to walk, they probably won’t like to be confined. It’s also large enough that a couple kids can easily fit inside. The Pop ‘N Play Deluxe Ultimate Playard is the same except for having a canopy attachment. We have the canopy, but ours is only a half canopy as I think it’s an “Ultimate Playard” rather than “Deluxe Ultimate Playard”, which has a full canopy. The Playard comes with a carrying case.
This Baby Dome is like a baby version of the Summer Infant Playard mentioned above. Since it’s for a baby, not surprisingly, it’s more compact than the Playard, but is still a decent size. We have not personally used it, but it has great reviews and I like the canopy feature that fully closes. It also has two spots where you can hang a couple toys, which is a nice touch. From many online questions and reviews I read, people mentioned it served well as a travel bassinet. For car trips, it would be great, but I don’t believe it would work well for plane travel because it would not fit in a suitcase. This is because the legs are a one-time assembly, so they do not come off making the size fairly large. Other than that though, it seems like a great product.
When we were taking a trip by plane with our second son who was five months at the time, we looked for a travel bassinet that would work. We did not want something expensive for a week trip. We also did not want something we’d have to check since that would be expensive as well. The Brica Fold N’ Go ended up being a perfect solution. It’s less than 3 pounds, which is amazing! When folded, it measures 21.5 inches by 18 inches, allowing it to fit in a suitcase. (See picture with the toothbrush as a size reference.) It comes with a thin pad and fitted sheet. The pad is thin, but we just put the bassinet on carpet. There is see-through mesh that go around the sides. The top is open which makes it easier to put the baby down. The design does not allow the bassinet to be fully closed. Since it’s lightweight and the top is open, the manufacturer states, “To help prevent falls, do not use this product when infant begins to push up on hands and knees or has reached 15 lbs. whichever comes first.” Our little guy was small and hadn’t started pushing up yet, so it worked for us. We took it to the beach on our trip one day and another mother loved it and asked us about it.
For kids one year old and up, this Travel Bed is wonderful. This has been one of my favorite products. I think of it as a little tent. In fact, I’ve used it when I’ve taken my son camping. I simply set it up within my own tent. It’s only three pounds, but the best part is how it folds up. It folds up into a circle like one of those circular car windshield sun blockers ending up at only 15 inches across! These features make it really convenient for travel. The walls are like a tent design in that some areas are solid fabric and other areas are see-through mesh. There is a half-circle zipper door with the zipper pull tabs on the outside. I think this is clever because if you are concerned about your kid waking up and unzipping the door and getting out, s/he can’t. But if it’s not a concern, you can leave a small unzipped part so s/he can unzip the door as needed or not zip it at all. The thin pad actually snaps onto the outside, under the bottom of the structure. The standard PeaPod measures 45 inches from end-to-end at the longest point and 26 inches across its widest point. The PeaPod Plus is a larger version, but I am not sure of the exact dimensions. The additional weight is negligible at only an extra half pound.
I read about these pillows while looking up travel accessories for an upcoming plane trip, but we have not personally used it yet. They seem awesome and I’m considering getting one for our upcoming trip. Picture an inflatable cube or box that fits in front of the airplane seat. This allows a kid to lie down spread out across the pillow and seat. There are many companies that sell them on Amazon. Some are HOMCA, BONAIR OUTFITTERS, Koala Kloud, and Sunany. They are all similarly priced and comparatively reviewed. They all seem to be adjustable in terms of height, but the BONAIR OUTFITTERS one specifically mentions two valves and two independent chambers (Sunany seems to have this too; may even be the same company). I would think this works better in terms of stability than just blowing it up less or deflating it, but maybe it doesn’t matter especially since they all have an average review of 4.0 or higher. From what I gathered, it seems quite easy to inflate. Considering the low price, I think it’s definitely worth trying.
This item is over $100, but if you love hiking, a child carrier is essential and worth it. I’ve used and own a Kelty Kids child carrier, which has worked wonderfully for us. It’s sturdy without feeling bulky and my sons have been comfortable in them. My son has even fallen asleep in it. It also sits very comfortably on me. I’ve backpacked quite a bit, so I definitely have experience with comfortable and uncomfortable packs. There are enough pockets to keep toddler essentials as well. It also comes with a sun shade that slides on easily, which can certainly be useful. I’ve used it for simple walks around where we live as well as longer more rugged hikes. There are many brands on the market, but I’ve definitely been happy with Kelty and can personally vouch for its quality.
Share Your Great Products
If you know some great products for on-to-go parents, please share them below. I’d love to learn more about products you’ve found useful when out and about with your kid(s). Feel free to share your knowledge in the comment section below.