Last Updated Jul 11, 2011 3:16 PM EDT
New parents can go a little nuts buying infant gear. As I mentioned in a previous post, new parents spend an average of $6,000 on items for their babies. While some stuff is absolutely necessary, other paraphernalia ranges from plain silly to downright dangerous.
I recently chatted with shopping expert Alan Fields, the co-author of Baby Bargains. During our conversation, he shared baby items he hopes no new parents will buy.
Who Buys This Stuff?
1. Baby Perfumes
It's tough to find a more ridiculous infant product than perfume for your little one. After all, who in their right mind would want to mask that precious new baby smell? Apparently, some designers, including Bvlgari beg to differ and sell scents that start as high as $56. Johnson's also hawks cologne but it will cost you just $5.
2. Cable for Babies
Is your child too young for Sesame Street? In parts of the country you could call your cable provider and request the BabyFirstTV network for $5 a month. Just don't tell your pediatrician who will likely remind you that The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents don't park their kids in front of the tube for at least two years.
3. Hands-Free Baby Bottle Holder
A hands-free bottle holder? Unless you're stressed out and caring for multiples, it's hard to understand why a parent can't take 10 minutes to feed and nurture her own child. Plus, once a baby is six months old -- or even younger -- he should be able to hold his own bottle.
4. Jeweled Pacifiers
Who knew you could spend $17,000 on a diamond pacifier? Even a cheaper one made with crystals -- still $45 -- is a dubious purchase. I don't know too many parents who would like to see their kids swallow a stray jewel.
5. Knee Pads
Infants have been crawling since the beginning of time. They certainly don't need knee protection for the few months they're stuck on all fours.
As much as every parent would love to protect her baby's noggin, asking your little one to wear a helmet is going a bit too far. The only time head gear is required is when your child starts riding around on some wheels.
7. Designer Diaper Bags
Diaper bags get filthy and should ideally be made of a sturdy material that can be easily washed. So unless you think Gucci and Coach satchels belong in the washing machine, you may want to skip the designer arm candy.
8. Bottle Sterilizer
If you have a dishwasher, you don't need to sterilize your bottles after every use, says Fields.
9. Video Baby Monitor
Some parents will tell you that they love their video baby monitors. But Fields believes you don't need anything more than a traditional audio monitor. After just a few days with your newborn, most mothers and fathers can tell the difference between a cry for attention and one from a child in distress, he says. And if your little one's bedroom is just down the hall from yours, you can probably get by with nothing at all.
10. Fancy Crib Sets
One of the favorite items new parents like to register for is a fancy crib set complete with a comforter and thick bumper. But the reality is that these items aren't safe when placed inside the crib. To avoid SIDS, pediatricians recommend that your child's sleeping cot is free of all bedding (other than a fitted sheet) and stuffed animals.
What baby item do you most regret buying? I once spent $200 on a European high chair that rarely got used.
Stacey Bradford is the author of The Wall Street Journal. Financial Guidebook for New Parents.
Baby Yawning image by Photos8, courtesy CC 2.0.
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