Parents' 10 most useful baby products
By Anna Studman
With so many baby products on the market, it's hard to know which will actually be useful. We asked parents, and these are the top 10.
There are so many baby products designed to make life easier for new parents, it can be hard to know which will help and which will be a waste of money. To help you find the baby products you're most likely to actually use, we asked 2,000 parents to tell us which items they bought and whether they found them useful or useless.
We've rounded up the 10 most useful baby products, as rated by our parents, but this list doesn't include the essential items – a pushchair, child car seat, high chair and crib/cradle.
1. Stair gate
Stair gates were rated as the most useful baby product, with more than 70% of the parents we asked saying they owned one. 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 can range significantly in price, from around £15 to £100. But a higher price doesn't always mean you'll get the best.
2. Baby changing bag
You could use any old bag to carry around your baby products when you're out and about. But the advantage of a specifically designed baby changing bag is that it usually has different compartments to help you find what you need quickly. Many come with a foldaway changing mat. The parents we surveyed certainly appreciated theirs.
You can spend as much as you like on a baby changing bag. Prices start from less than £20, but you could spend more than £250 on a designer one.
3. Electric steam steriliser kit
Using an electric steam steriliser kit can be a quick and easy way to sterilise your baby’s bottles, whether you're using formula or expressing milk. Typically costing around £30 to £100, they are quick and fairly easy to use.
See our guide to find out more about baby feeding products, from bottles to bottle warmers.
4. Audio baby monitor
Audio baby monitors allow you to hear your little one when you're not in the same room. There's a wide range available, from basic sound-only monitors to video baby monitors (also in our top-10 list). Audio monitors can cost anything from less than £20 to more than £60.
We’ve tested both audio and video baby monitors for sound quality, range, battery life and ease of use.
Find the best one for you with our baby monitor reviews.
5. Video baby monitor
Video baby monitors are more sophisticated than simple audio monitors. Not only can you see your baby, but some also have night vision and can hook up to your PC, TV and/or smartphone.
6. Digital ear thermometer
The ear is considered to be the most reliable place to get a consistent reading of internal body temperature. A digital ear thermometer can give you a quick temperature reading for your child, and help you identify signs of fever.
They typically cost between £10 and £40. Read our reviews and advice on buying the best digital thermometer.
7. Microwave steam steriliser kit
As well as electric steam-steriliser kits, microwave versions are also popular. Microwave steam-steriliser kits are more compact, and tend to be cheaper than electric ones. They typically cost around £20 to £50.
8. Baby sleeping bag
Baby sleeping bags are ‘wearable blankets’ designed to be worn by your baby at night, instead of using traditional sheets and blankets. They typically cost between £10 and £20, and will last until your baby is around 18 months old.
Take a look at the top baby sleep aids parents found useful in helping with sleepless nights.
9. Baby bouncer/rocker chair
Rocker chairs can be a great way to soothe your baby with a calming rocking or light bouncing motion. While parents in our survey rated these as useful, they rated door bouncers as one of the least useful baby product. To get a better idea of the difference between the two, and what might suit you, have a look at our guide to buying a baby bouncer.
10. Moses basket
Moses baskets can be a cosy and comfortable option for newborn babies, as they're more snug than full-sized cots. They are also light and portable, so you can easily move it from room to room with you.
Although a Moses basket is cheaper than a cot, you will only be able to use it for the first few months of your baby's life, so bear in mind that you'll have to trade up pretty quickly.
Cots aren't included in our list, as they're counted as a 'core' product.
Learn more about the pros and cons of Moses baskets before you buy.
In August 2016, we asked 2,000 parents of children aged five and under about the baby products they have bought or used. We asked them to rate products on a scale of 1 to 10 for usefulness, excluding core products: pushchairs, car seats, high chairs and cribs/cradles.