Baby Board: a baby-on-bus solution

Photo of four Baby Boards lined up next to each other in fashion colors: green, white-blue, red and white-pink.

If that photo confuses you, it's because the designer didn't know that all baby products must conform to international law by being baby blue, princess pink or green. Red? Oh, the scandal!

The Big Problem: fitting a baby stroller on a bus is next to impossible due to cramped quarters.

The Big Solution: wear your baby in a sling, wrap or harness.

Just kidding. Why utilize existing solutions when you can invent something new? Oh, okay, baby wearing isn’t for everyone or every situation.

The Bigger Solution: Invent a rolling baby platform that fits on a bus or subway.

The Baby Board is a prototype by Edinburgh Napier University product design graduate Michael Ridd. He’s not a parent, but he was inspired by family members who know the pain and torment of bus travel with an infant, according to a university news release (thanks for ignoring my request for photos guys, seriously. It was fun hunting these down).

Another inspiration was a law in Scotland — where this thing was invented — that gives priority to wheelchairs on buses. I presume the prior practice was for parents to park their strollers in wheelchair spots. How lovely.

The Baby Board is essentially its name – an injection molded ABS (plastic) board with a seat, safety straps and extendable handle. You push (or pull) your baby while the board rides on a single plastic rolling ball that has a rubber strip running down its midline.

For stationary hands-free moments there is a pull-out kickstand.

It’s an intriguing design, so completely different from what we’re used to seeing.

Marketing photo showing a mother holder her baby on a Baby Board while waiting at a bus stop in the United Kingdom.

That bus sign is so tall because Scotland was invaded by a race of giants in 1248. The native population remains enslaved today, eeking out a living as nannies and dog walkers.

I wonder:

Does the board get left-right tipsy having a single wheel? I suppose that’s why the wheel was designed so wide.

Given its small footprint, how well does it stay upright in stationary mode on uneven or sloped terrain?

A five-point harness might be nice. What’s the size or weight limit for babies?

How enjoyable is the Baby Board to maneuver during all the times you’re not on a bus? On its face, this thing seems like it would be awkward, but then no, I’m just reacting to its unusual design.

The Baby Board won the university’s 2009 Anderson Strathern “Formidable but Friendly” Award for Outstanding Achievement.

Hmmm. What do you think?

Two close-ups of the Baby Board, one on a city street and one in stationary mode as a mother opens the door to her home. Her arm is raised high due to the placement of the door's keyhole.

Seriously, is that mother reaching for the keyhole? Scotland is either populated by a crazy race of giants or that "woman" is really a 5-year-old playing with her doll.

Comments

12 Responses to “Baby Board: a baby-on-bus solution”

  1. PAUL says:

    Looks like the Dyson vacuum guy re-invented the appliance dolly.

    September 11th, 2009 at 7:26 am

  2. anjii says:

    I haven’t been on a bus in ages, as I live nowhere near a bus route, but as interesting as this thing is (and I do see some potential for bus users), I’ll stick with my big red stroller, and my box of many various babywearing devices. (That is, when Dawson will tolerate it… there’s only a couple left that he’ll let me put him in). I also wouldn’t even THINK about putting a baby in one of these things until the add a 5-point harness. Or at LEAST a crotch strap to complement the wide belt.

    September 11th, 2009 at 8:01 am

  3. Tanya says:

    Is that a double-decker bus in the photo? If so, maybe that’s why the sign is so tall.

    I’m with Paul… it reminds me of a Dyson vacuum.

    September 11th, 2009 at 8:21 am

  4. Jennie D says:

    It’s neat looking, but not for me. I’m clumbsy and wouldn’t feel safe pushing/pulling my child around in something that could fall over so easily.

    September 11th, 2009 at 8:39 am

  5. AJ says:

    Tanya, what about the driver and all the passengers sitting on the first floor of the double-decker bus? Don’t they deserve an eye-level sign too?

    Let’s be real. The buses are so tall because they’re filled with giants.

    September 11th, 2009 at 8:50 am

  6. Kimberly says:

    It rains a lot in Scotland (and where I live in Portland)… totally not practical. No rain shield and seems rather awkward to move around. And sure the kick stand works on level ground but on a moving bus I can see it toppling over.

    September 11th, 2009 at 8:53 am

  7. PAUL says:

    You’re way off, AJ. Everybody knows Scotland is NOT a land of giants. The reason the bus stop signs are so tall is so the Loch Ness Monster can read them.

    September 11th, 2009 at 11:34 am

  8. Allison says:

    Yep, I’m with everyone else. That looks like it would tip over in a stiff wind. It also looks rather uncomfortable for the baby. Does it really even take up less room then an umbrella stroller when the kick stand is out? Oh wait maybe you are meant to lay it flat under the seats of the bus!! That way your baby doesn’t tip over and is out of the way of other passengers! Brilliant!

    …I don’t see this ever making it to market.

    September 11th, 2009 at 1:33 pm

  9. susan says:

    This is definitely an interesting product. I think I would be willing to try it if it had a 5 point harness and I could get a bike helmet for my son. With the thing only having one wheel it doesn’t look too stable and I am a klutz. It sort of reminds me of a papoose some native american indian tribes used as baby wearing devises.

    September 11th, 2009 at 2:16 pm

  10. Amber says:

    Does the ball have a grip-tread? Will it slide around on wet pavement? Is it incredibly bouncy and uncomfortable to push over cobbles and uneven sidewalks for those pushing it (and riding in it?) I imagine after pushing it a few blocks one’s arm would be sore from the effort of holding it UP while also pushing. Especially for those of us who had big babies.

    Plus, if you have errands to run, you’ll presumably have bags to carry on the way back, and I’ll bet that thing’s hard to control with one arm. For that matter, what if you had a toddler as well? No way you could hold one kid’s hand and push this thing with the other.

    And I agree, a five-point is a must.

    I think it’s a fabulous idea, but it definitely needs some beta-testing and focus group input from some people with kids.

    September 12th, 2009 at 11:30 am

  11. Adventures in MamaLand says:

    Totally dumb. Sorry. D.U.M.B.

    The footprint is only slightly smaller than a stroller and WAY smaller than my Ergo.

    Actually, I just came home from wrestling with a toddler plus baby plus Pliko on Toronto’s insanely inaccessible streetcars (steep stairs with a narrow twist at the top and too narrow for a stroller once you get on board). I’ve found the best and only solution for bringing baby along on public transit: have your teenagers first so you’ll always have an accomplice to grab the other end of the stroller! (my older kids are 13 and 14)

    Wheelchairs do get priority here, too. We work it out like true Canadians – by out-nicing each other. If someone needs extra room on a bus, subway or streetcar, we just give it to them.

    Somebody may end up having to take the next bus, but that’s a small price to pay for an excellent universal – and universally POLITE – transit system.

    So bah, humbug to the Baby Ball Transit solution. What parent has a hand free to push or support the stroller at all times anyway???

    September 13th, 2009 at 6:03 pm

  12. Adventures in MamaLand says:

    P.S. I meant to say way BIGGER than my Ergo. Mommy brain. :-)))

    September 13th, 2009 at 6:03 pm