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The Gear Guy Guide: June Edition

Taking a closer look at the new Bjorn Comfort Carrier, Britax B-Ready, and Flexibath

Known for his blunt but accurate opinions on the quality and function of infant and toddler gear, baby planner Jamie Grayson is the chief product reviewer here at StrollerTraffic. We trust him implicitly, and are excited to announce his new monthly column: The Gear Guy Guide, where Grayson will rant and rave about the most buzzworthy products to hit the market.

BabyBjorn Comfort Carrier
I love when people prove me wrong. This year, two companies have made me eat my previous words of contempt: one is Bugaboo, whose Bee I formerly hated, and now enjoy. The other is BabyBjorn.

The new BabyBjorn Comfort Carrier was presented to me during a lovely breakfast at the Waldorf and arrived via UPS today. Designed to carry babies and toddlers from 3 months (minimum 13 pounds) up to 31 pounds, the Comfort Carrier is a front-only carrier; the child can look in or face out. The difference between this and the previous Bjorns? This one is actually comfortable. It resembles many of the soft carriers on the market by distributing the weight onto the wearer’s hips. The shoulder straps can also be tightened or loosened to adjust the weight on your shoulders. It is shockingly comfortable. The seat is also more ergonomic for the child, supporting him or her by the booty and thighs rather than by the crotch as before. What really sets this carrier apart is the interior seat design: the material is slick, so that the child slides right into position. There’s also a safety feature unique to this carrier—if the waist buckle, God forbid, comes undone, your nugget is secured in a breathable mesh pouch—he’s going nowhere.

The Comfort Carrier retails right under $200—higher than other carriers that you can use from birth and that offer positions other than front-carrying. Is it worth it? That is not my decision. All I can say is, I am adding this to my arsenal of suggested carriers with absolutely no hesitation.  

Britax B-Ready
I am very, very excited to report that Britax has created a game-changer in the stroller industry—the B-Ready. I met with Britax in the library of the Hudson Hotel on a rainy morning, not really looking forward to the preview, as I have never been a big fan of their stroller line. I was blown away by what they showed me—a stroller that resembles the Uppababy Vista in many ways (reversible seat, great foot rest, huge undercarriage bag, suspension in all four wheels, adjustable handle, terrific canopy) . . . all wonderful features. But here are the details that really floored me:

It converts into an in-line double stroller with an attachable back seat that reclines FLAT for a newborn. The harness is adjusted via a slider on the back of the stroller, so you don’t have to re-thread the straps (genius). It has 14 configurations, and can hold two car seats, two upright seats, a bassinet and a seat, etc. The adapters for the Britax Chaperone car seat are included with the stroller, and you can actually leave them on the Chaperone when you install it in your car (an industry first!). The stroller folds extremely compact as a single (like the Vista), and is only 2 inches bulkier when folded with the double seat attached. Lastly, the toddler cup holder (sold separately) has an adjustable angle, so as you recline the seat, beverages won’t tip over. Age range: 6 months-55 pounds in top seat; birth to 35 lbs in back seat; can be used from birth via separate bassinet or car seat attachment; retails for $499.99.

I am curious to see how this amazing stroller performs in the market against the big boys, and I really hope the public will give it a chance.  Trust me, people—it’s amazing.

Flexibath
Normally, bathtubs don’t get me going. But this new-to-the-U.S. tub has joined the Puj Tub as one of the best baby bath options I’ve ever seen—primarily because of its compact nature. It folds flat, accordion-style, and snaps shut. It’s made from “good” plastic, and comes in fun colors. There are no crevices, so cleaning is a breeze, and draining the tub is quite easy via the rubber stopper in the bottom. What’s also really interesting about this tub is that it has rubberized joints, so it will “give” with your child, and allow a bit more room for play—very cool.  The recommended age range is 0-4 years, but I would use this as a companion piece to the Puj Tub—after you little guy is able to sit up on his own.  Retails around $40.

Follow Jamie Grayson on twitter: @thebabyguynyc