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4 November 2020

Best and worst baby products according to parents

Find out which baby products are rated most useful by parents and which could be a waste of money.
Happy baby
Rebecca Marcus

In June 2020, we asked parents to rate more than 50 baby products spanning categories including bathing, feeding, travel and sleeping.

To help you decide which baby products are worth investing in, we’ve rounded up the most and least useful products based on our survey results. 

Most useful baby products

The top-scoring products from our survey include baby transport such as car seats and pushchairs, as well as bedroom furniture like cots and cribs.

Pushchair

Pushchairs were considered the most useful product overall in our survey, with 98% of those who owned them saying they found them useful. 

There are several different types to choose from and prices range from as little as £50 for a basic stroller to more than £1,000 for high-end brands with fancy features. For help deciding which type suits you best, read our guide on how to buy the best pushchair

To see which models we recommend, head to our round-up of the best pushchairs.

 Car seat 

A child car seat is an essential safety product that will help to protect your baby in the event of a collision, and 96% of parents find them useful.

There are lots of factors to consider when buying a car seat, such as the age and height of your child, as well as compatibility with the make and model of your car. Our car seat buying guide explains everything you need to know when choosing a child car seat. 

Car seats range in price from £30 to £500. While it might be tempting to save money by opting for a second-hand car seat, these can pose a risk to your child due to wear and tear affecting their level of protection, or they might be older models that don’t comply with the latest safety regulations.

We’ve tested more than 200 car seats, putting each one through multiple tough crash tests to find out which protect your baby most effectively. Go to our reviews of the best car seats to compare the top-scoring models.

Crib 

A crib allows you to gently rock your child, which can help them to fall asleep more easily.

You can buy a basic crib for around £50, but prices vary, with some premium models costing hundreds of pounds. When deciding how much to spend, it’s worth bearing in mind that cribs can only be used until your baby is around six months old, so you may not need it for long. 

For more advice on the pros and cons of cribs as well as safety tips, see our baby cribs guide.

Stair gate

If you’ve got stairs in your home, or a kitchen that you want to keep young children out of, a stair gate can be a safety essential. 

They range significantly in price, from around £15 to more than £100. But it’s worth choosing carefully, as we’ve uncovered several stair gates that fail safety tests. Read our reviews to find the best stair gates or check out our stair gate buying guide.

High chair

High chairs are handy to have at mealtimes, with 95% of parents surveyed finding them useful – and you can find cheap lightweight, foldable models for as little as £30.

Our high chair reviews will tell you how safe, stable, comfortable and easy to use each model is. Take a look at the best high chairs to see our top picks.

Cot bed

A cot bed can be converted to a toddler-sized bed once your baby outgrows their cot, so it should last until they’re around seven or eight years old. 

While they're generally more expensive than cots, they could save you money in the long run as you won’t need to buy two separate pieces of furniture.

Find out more about pros and cons plus features to look for in our cot bed buying guide.

Baby change bag

A baby change bag is a convenient way to carry changing equipment when you’re out and about. They usually have pockets and compartments to help keep things organised, and some also come with a foldaway changing mat. Prices range from around £20 to more than £250 for designer bags.

Visit our baby changing bags guide for advice on buying equipment such as baby wipes, changing mats and changing tables.

Cot

Cots are cheaper than cot beds, with prices starting from around £70. However, they’re smaller in size, so your child could outgrow it by the time they reach one or two years old.

To help you decide whether a cot is right for you, read our guide on how to buy the best cot bed or cot.

 Cot mattress

A proper cot mattress is vital to ensure your baby can sleep safely and comfortably. Choose a firm, flat cot mattress protected by a waterproof cover. It's important that the mattress is the right size for the cot, with no gaps larger than 4cm down the side.

Cot mattresses can range in price from £40 to £200. 

Our testing has uncovered cot mattresses that pose serious safety issues, including suffocation and choking risks. Head to our cot mattress reviews to find out which we recommend, and which you should steer clear of.

Baby play mat/baby gym

A baby play mat or baby gym can provide hours of entertainment, and 93% of parents in our survey said they found it useful – just make sure you supervise your baby at all times while they’re playing.

Are smart toys for children safe? Find out the privacy and security issues we uncovered in our smart toys investigation.

Digital ear thermometer

A digital ear thermometer uses infrared to measure the heat generated inside the ear. It can give you a quick temperature reading for your child, helping you to identify signs of fever.

They typically cost between £10 and £60. Get our top tips on choosing the best digital thermometer.  

Least useful baby products

Baby bouncers, breast pumps and bumbo seats all feature among the least useful products rated by parents. While these products may benefit some people, it’s worth carefully considering whether or not they are right for you before you buy.

Manual breast pump

A breast pump allows you to store breast milk for later on so a partner or relative can feed your baby. However, not everyone will find them useful if they prefer to do straight breastfeeding, or opt for formula bottle feeding. 

Manual breast pumps range from around £10 to more than £80, depending on the accessories it comes with. 

Read our guide to manual breast pumps to help you decide whether its right for you.

Baby reins

Intended for overactive little wanderers and parents’ peace of mind, baby reins can allow your little one to run around without you losing track of them. 

But they’re not for everyone. Nearly a quarter of those we surveyed said they didn’t find them useful.

Door baby bouncer

Door baby bouncers come with a seat that you attach to the door frame using elastic straps. They usually cost between £20 and £30. Never leave your child unattended in one.

Find out the best baby bouncer brands.

Nappy disposal bin 

A nappy bin allows you to store soiled nappies in a separate unit that you can dispose of when full. Some bins automatically seal the nappies in a plastic sleeve to stop smells.

Go to our disposable nappy reviews to find the best nappies for your child.

Bumbo seat

Bumbo seats are designed for babies that can’t yet sit up on their own. They usually cost between £30 and £40.

A safety alert for Bumbo seats was issued in the US in 2012, following reports of babies being injured. If you decide to buy a Bumbo seat for your child, avoid placing it on raised or uneven surfaces, always use the restraint belt and make sure you stay with your baby at all times.

 Baby sleeping pods 

A fifth of parents in our survey said they didn’t find their baby pod useful. But there are also safety issues with these products, as they don’t provide a flat, safe sleeping surface. This means they pose a risk of suffocation if your baby rolls on to their front

For more advice on keeping your little one safe at bedtime, read our baby safe sleeping tips.

Our research 

In June 2020, we asked 594 parents of children aged five and under about the baby products they have used. We asked them to rate products on a scale of 1 to 4 from not at all useful to very useful.