Consumer Reports: Painfully Clueless about Parenting Products

I like Consumer Reports, but when it substitutes opinion for testing research, it’s terribly misguided. Take a look at an article it published last week: Five products not to buy for your baby.

1. Bedside or co-sleeping devices. Why? Because co-sleeping is “dangerous” and maybe these products don’t increase safety. I admit, co-sleeping is dangerous if you’re on drugs, so wasted out of your skull that you sleep on your baby. Worse, one bedside device was recalled because of deaths caused by a design flaw!  Oh no! Umm, where should babies sleep then? Lots of cribs have been recalled, thus making all cribs a bad idea, right?

The American Academy of Pediatrics states “the data neither condemns, nor endorses” cosleeping. How long has the family bed been around? Hundreds or thousands of years? My guess: as long as there have been families. Why does Consumer Reports hate families?

2. Baby bath seats. Why? Because an average 10 babies drown each year when parents misuse the product, leaving their babies unattended. Hey, let’s not use infant car seats either because hundreds of babies die each year when left strapped in hot cars! Let’s drive with the baby on our lap. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Look for a review of a kick-ass baby bath seat here in a few weeks.

3. Sleep positioners that make a baby sleep on its back. Why? Because babies can’t roll over anyway. Umm, but wait, plenty of sleep positioners are for use from birth to 6 months, and babies can roll over as early as 2 months. I admit positioners are actually unnecessary though, unless somehow related to a reflux issue.

4. Crib bumper pads. Why? Suffocation. Well, everyone gets one right. This issue is nothing new. Consumer Reports should have mentioned that bumper pads are also bad because they only serve a cosmetic function. You’re worried about your baby bumping against the side of the crib? Seriously? Also, thick bumpers get used as steps once a baby gets an itch to climb.

5. Sling carriers. Why? Parents misuse the carrier and the baby falls out. You should “opt for other types of infant carriers, which have safer track records.” Oh really? I believe slings have a solid track record spanning hundreds, if not thousands, of years. This one is so absurd it boggles the mind. Let’s not use our arms to hold babies either because sometimes babies get dropped.

Here’s my List of Five Things Not To Buy Your Baby:

1. Video, DVD and computer edutainment. I won’t bother finding the links about limiting your child’s vocabulary. If you don’t know them, you haven’t been paying attention.

2. Stuffed animals that require batteries. They can’t be washed and WTF does your child need to be over-stimulated for?

3. Pointy sticks. I know they’re fun, but they are a laceration and impalement hazard.

4. Cigarettes. They cause cancer don’t ya know?

5. Alcohol. Hundreds of babies crash their ride-on toys every year due to inebriation.


11 Responses to “Consumer Reports: Painfully Clueless about Parenting Products”

  1. RobMonroe says:

    No sling carriers because 4 babies have died over the course of 5 years? More babies have probably died by tiger attack over that time period. Wow. My brain would have exploded without our sling carrier for the first few months.

    We did not intend to co-sleep with our daughter, but were presented a perfect opportunity to try when we made a trip to see family when she was about six weeks old. She’s now 22+ months old and happy, healthy and, more importantly, quite alive. We used one of those special don’t-roll-on-the-baby boxes on our trip, but certainly didn’t spend the money on it. Maybe they’re right on that one – don’t buy the box, just sleep.

    I think your list has some holes, though. Every baby needs a good pointy stick, even if only for protection from a parent like me trying to put him/her into a sling carrier… :o)

    April 27th, 2009 at 4:57 am

  2. Summer says:

    This post is great…. and your sarcasm cracks me up.

    April 27th, 2009 at 5:14 am

  3. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    I am much less impressed with Consumer Reports than I was when a kid. When they talk about baby stuff, they just don’t seem to know how to test, etc.

    I am similarly non-impressed with their “reviews” of car seats. Even when they don’t manage to totally screw up the testing, they still don’t take into account ease of use, whether the seat will actually last for most kids very long, etc.

    April 27th, 2009 at 5:53 am

  4. silver says:

    I have to agree with them on sleep positioners. They’re a waste of money, marketed to parents that are fearful of everything. If your baby can roll from his back to his stomach, and winds up sleeping that way, it’s fine. And if your baby can’t roll over, you don’t need the positioner. Anyway, it seems that the positioner creates more of a suffocation risk to a baby that *can* roll over than just letting the baby sleep on his stomach.

    April 27th, 2009 at 6:42 am

  5. CJ's Mommy says:

    OMGosh I love this!!!! You are right on!!!

    I would have gone insane without my carriers with my DD. I found out about them when my son was almost 1 so I used a infantino carrier and OMG I’m suprised he didn’t get hurt in it, or that I didn’t break my back while using it! LOL We also never intended to co-sleep either, my son changed our tune on that one. He was exteremley high needs and if I wanted to sleep more than 10 secs I need him next to me! With our DD I co-sleep with her because I want more than just 2 hrs of sleep at a time. She sleeps wonderfully and hey nursing is a breeze. OH yea and more importantly my 4 yr old son and my 2 month old daughter are both still alive.

    The sad thing about consumer reports about that co-sleeper is the one they are featuring and is using to make that blanket statment that all cosleepers are dangerous, that co-sleeper is being used improperly! The bar that is pictured, the one that is causing the strangliation? Well that bar is NOT supposed to be used while it’s in cosleeper mode, that bar is only to be used when it is a free standing bassinet! IT is a shame, becuase this is printed on the instructions to this bassinet, and now Simplicity is having problems because parents didn’t take the time to read the instruction and use the device properly! Why would CR put anything up on their site for reviews when it is user error only that is cause for injury!

    April 27th, 2009 at 12:23 pm

  6. Amber says:

    Hmm. Well, I used bumpers in my son’s crib, because once he started scooting around in his sleep, he’d push his head into the bars and it would wake him up (I swear, even tiptoeing to the bathroom woke him up, and if that didn’t, the tinkle sound did).

    I suppose I should thank my lucky stars he survived. :-|

    April 27th, 2009 at 5:01 pm

  7. AJ says:

    To clarify about my 5-point list, I’m serious about the first two products.

    The comedic effect I was shooting for by the third item was, “Oh, who the hell cares? This type of list is stupid. I’m going to start making stuff up.”

    April 28th, 2009 at 12:54 am

  8. theblondeghost says:

    I now “get” the potential hazard of crib bumpers, but I was glad we used them. The one useful function they have is preventing your kid from easily sticking a foot through the slats of the crib and getting it painfully stuck. Even with them, he managed to get stuck a few times, and woke us by screaming in pain. Considering how much our son has always tossed and turned bumpers were useful for us.

    As with most of parenting, you weigh the risks and benefits and do what works best for your family.

    April 28th, 2009 at 8:14 pm

  9. RookieMom Whitney says:

    Can I insert an item in your 5-point list? I don’t want to spoil the humor, so stick this up near the top:

    Do not BUY a baby gym/exersaucer-type device. There are already enough of these in the world – find a friend to borrow from.

    April 29th, 2009 at 8:12 pm

  10. Lori says:

    Call me crazy, but wouldn’t you feel your child slipping down your body before he/she took a header? My baby isn’t here yet, but I’ve watched friends strap their kids into all sorts of slings and carriers, and the parents’ arms are almost always near or around the child (hence the advantageous design). This just seems fishy …

    What do you think about the new report on the Today’s show about babies in these things that look like a cross between a small garbage can and a bucket? I thought you reviewed something like this before (maybe it was babies in buckets in Japan?) …

    May 3rd, 2009 at 4:42 pm

  11. Lily says:

    I just wanted to comment about the Tummy Tubs that Lori is talking about…I have a washPOD by Lionheart (the same thing, essentially) and it is fantastic! Granted, my boy loves the water, but it seems so much nicer to be continually immersed in warm water rather than lying flat on your back freezing.

    As for the Consumer Reports list, why is America so hell bent on keeping parents so far removed from their babies? No slings or co-sleeping? Oh that’s right, babies should come out of the womb able to take care of themselves! Hogwash.

    May 5th, 2009 at 11:11 am

Post a comment

(will not be published)