Deuter Kid Comfort Pro
11 family purchases that were absolutely worth it
There are some young children’s products that’ll have you debating: should I get it? Is it worth it? Here are products that indeed paid off for me in the end.
As a parent, you live by trial-and-error. You inevitably end up getting a bunch of things, each in the hope it’ll make your family’s everyday life easier . . . only to often realise, disappointed, that it was totally unnecessary. Or the wrong version of it. So, you return the bad purchase, give it away or sell it – and start all over again. Maybe it proved such a flop that you bury the idea altogether. Especially when it comes to expensive products, you’ll deliberate forever, comparing every model under the sun. Is it worth getting? Is there a better product out there? A cheaper one?
Every now and then, however, your purchasing decision will turn out to have been a real stroke of luck, an investment that’s more than paid itself off. In retrospect, at least. After all, while you can usually quickly identify bad buys, you often don’t realise the value of real everyday helpers until months or even years later. Below are eleven products that, in my experience, are really worthwhile.
1. Back carrier
«Mom, are we there yet?» «Dad, how much further?» These are questions bound to come up after no more that ten minutes, as anyone who’s ever taken a longer hike or walk with a young child can testify. You get to a point where even the more-than-appropriate white lie, «We’re almost there,» doesn’t help. It’s not long before your child is clinging to your leg, refusing to take any more steps, with a defiant, «I can’t go any further!» So, into the stroller they go.
The problem? Not all paths are suitable for strollers. In many cases, a back carrier is the more comfortable – and sometimes even only – option. Not being an impassioned hiking family, we asked ourselves at the time whether the purchase was really worth it. That’s one of the reasons why we decided to get it second-hand. Today, we can say: yes, the carrier has more than paid itself off. Just recently, our three-year-old «hiked» along on our backs again for part of the three-hour way.
Vaude Shuttle Premium
Speaking of walking with toddlers; they’re rarely up for longer hiking trips or walks. But, paradoxically, as soon as they take their first steps and it’s just a matter of running quick errands, they want to walk on their own two feet and flat out refuse to get in the stroller. Our saviours were and still are scooters. Why? Because they allow your child to get around on their own, and you can move at a reasonable pace. It’s win-win.
There’s also a medium-term benefit to the two- or three-wheeled contraptions. Namely, you’ll be able to skip the training wheels on the bike. Thanks to their experience on the scooter, children will usually have a good enough sense of balance that they’ll master riding a bike in no time.
3. Diaper backpack or bag
I’ve heard time and again that diaper backpacks are superfluous. People will claim that a regular, everyday backpack can easily do the job. I disagree. In fact, I say it’s the other way around: a diaper backpack can replace any everyday one. We used ours well past our younger daughter’s diaper days, simply because no other backpack offered so much space and so many compartments.
With our firstborn, we’d opted for a diaper bag. I remember looking for a decent-looking model online at the time. I didn’t want my bag to scream, «Diapers!» from afar. Today, I probably would have found a nice model quickly; on the outside, they now tend to look like stylish, everyday bags or backpacks. On the inside, they offer ample space for your diapering and bottle-feeding essentials.
4. Bike trailer
You’ll have to dig quite deep into your pockets for this purchase – a bike trailer will run you around one thousand bucks. That’s why we held off for a long time, weighing up the pros and cons, and comparing models. An argument that helped push us over the edge? Bike trailers for small children, even used ones, are high in demand, so their resale value is correspondingly high.
However, our costly Thule purchase proved worth it in hindsight. In wind and weather, I’d use the bike trailer to pick up my kids from daycare. I took them on little bike rides and, thanks to the fitting jogger kit, pushed them ahead of me on my jogs. By now, there’s barely enough room in the trailer to fit both my girls. But it still comes in handy for disposing of waste, shopping or returning parcels at the post office.
Thule Chariot Sport 2
Croozer Kid Vaaya 2
Qeridoo Kidgoo2 2020
5. Wipeable bib
A bib is a bib is a bib? Not true! It doesn’t matter how adorable the pattern is, if the fabric is too thin and the length too short, you might as well dump the thing. I once bought two bibs with plastic elements that were expensive compared to the traditional fabric ones (they set me back around 20 francs each). It turned out to be a lucky purchase. I already sang its praises in a previous article about not-so-relaxing vacations with kids, under «A plastic bib just in case».
The things are indestructible. They can be wiped down or washed in the washing machine as often as needed, and still look new even after years of use. To this day, I always carry a wipeable bib in my backpack when I’m on the road.
Our blender, the Nutribullet, had occupied our kitchen cabinet for a long time. But it really came into its own when we had kids; I used it to make baby food. All it takes is cooking up some fruits or veggies and then throwing them into the blender. It’s quick and uncomplicated – and, unlike a stick blender, doesn’t splatter all over your countertop.
Of course, you can also get a dedicated baby food maker. But, as far as I’m concerned, there’s no point if you already own a blender. Our blender’s through with baby food prep and back to being used for its intended purpose these days. That is, carving out an existence in our kitchen cupboard the majority of the time.
NutriBullet Extraktor 12-teilig
Koenig Compact mixer set
Babymoov Nutribaby Plus
8. Folding stroller
As soon as your child can sit on their own, the carrycot will be demoted to the basement and you’ll be relying on your stroller’s seating function. You may even stock up on a handy folding travel stroller with smaller wheels. I predict you’ll be using the latter for several years to come, as a no-frills means of transport or as a sleeping option for on the road. Eventually, you might only whip it out for family vacations.
My tip for choosing a foldable buggy: go for one that folds as compactly as possible, weighs as little as possible and is manoeuvrable. I say it’s worth spending extra on.
Joie Mytrax Flex
Maclaren Techno XLR
Baby Jogger City Mini2 4-wheel
8. Ear thermometer
You can measure fever in many ways: on your forehead, in your butt, in your mouth or in your ear. There are even contactless devices. But not all options are equally reliable and certainly not equally pleasant. An ear thermometer is quite a bit more expensive than its good old stick thermometer counterpart. But it makes taking the little patient’s temperature a breeze. The infrared sensors provide a result quickly – quite the advantage in the case of a sick kid who refuses to hold still – and they still offer relatively accurate measurements.
Our midwife recommended we get one when we had our first child, which was about seven years ago. We use it do this day. Worth it!
Braun IRT 6520 ThermoScan 7 + protective caps LF 40
Terraillon Thermo Fast
Ear, Forehead, Non-contact
9. High chair
Ideally, your high chair will grow with your child and therefore stay useful for years. Back when our child was a baby, we used our Tripp Trapp with the attachable tub, then with the bracket and backrest, later only with the bracket and now simply as a chair with a footrest. The wooden seat and footboards can be adjusted in steps and are very robust. Even I can easily have a sit, though it’s not what I’d call a comfortable experience.
In addition, we purchased a less expensive, foldable model that could easily be transported on holidays or to friends’ places. Both have established themselves as must-haves in our family.
Stokke Tripp Trapp
Hauck Sit N Fold
10. Cordless vacuum cleaner
Since having kids, my hand-held vacuum cleaner is my best friend. I said as much in a recent article.
It doesn’t leave my side and offers its help at least five times a day. That is, after breakfast, snack #1, lunch, snack #2 and dinner – or whenever a mess of bread crumbs, noodles or rice forms under the dining table. It’s absurd how often you’ll find yourself scurrying from table leg to chair leg and back to table leg, handy helper in hand. I say: don’t count your pennies when choosing a vacuum. Get one with enough suction power, and make sure it can be placed in the messiest area of your home.
Dyson V15 Detect Absolute
Xiaomi Mi G10
Philips FC6726/01 SpeedPro
11. Baby carrier
Finally, my personal fave, a gadget that’s kept me from going bonkers with my second child. I’m talking about the Marsupi baby carrier. We could have saved ourselves the stroller with our second daughter; she only wanted to be carried around. All day long.
My child was glued to me for months. I mean this literally; the Marsupi carrier relies on Velcro, which makes getting your kid in super quick and easy, no tying or buckling needed. It also makes the carrier so light and compact that I can take it anywhere I go. The carrier has provided its valuable services not just to me. I’ve lent it to a number of friends and family over the years. In fact, there’s probably a baby sitting in it at this very moment.
Marsupi Baby carrier
Marsupi Baby carrier
Are there any other products you can’t or wouldn’t want to do without? What are your family’s must-haves? Let us know in the comments.
I’ll report on items I could have easily skipped at a later date. If you don’t want to miss out on that, give my author profile a follow below.Header image: Katja Fischer
Mom of Anna and Elsa, aperitif expert, group fitness fanatic, aspiring dancer and gossip lover. Often a multitasker and a person who wants it all, sometimes a chocolate chef and queen of the couch.