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May 2, 2006

No, the Constant Shopper is not with child.

I've been reporting lately on cool baby stores and products, but not because I'm doing research for personal reasons. Rather, because it seems as if that's where the innovation is these days. Creative moms have been taking matters into their own hands and inventing new products that make their lives easier while also providing a home-based business opportunity.

Here's another cool example: Babywrappers. Intended to help busy moms bathe their babes without getting wet, or worse, having a slippery-baby accident, Babywrappers were the invention of mom Dina Eydelman, who found bathtime a challenge in her small bathroom. Because of a lack of counter space, she found she needed an assistant to help her dry her first baby, Brooke, with a regular bath towel.

"My husband and I had to bathe her together, but sometimes he wasn't around," recalls Eydelman. "It was very stressful."

Inspired by the creativity that seems to strike young moms who can't find the product they're looking for in the marketplace, Eydelman sewed up an apron-like towel that would hang around her neck to protect her outfit while Brooke splashed about. When bath time was over, she simply lifted Brooke onto her chest, and swish, swish, pulled the towel up around the baby's bottom.

She tested the prototype with other moms.

"It was received so warmly because so many people have the same bathing problem. People were saying, 'I've been putting towels in my teeth!' and some people put them on the floor."

After testing the Babywrapper with other moms, Eydelman went into production about four years ago. Since then, she's heard reports from parents who use them for swimming lessons, nursing and as a regular towel.

With soft terry on one side, and colourful gingham, waffled cotton or plush velour on the other, the towel looks nice in the bathroom, too. Matching washcloths are also available.

Young mom solves slippery problem
New product helps babies get out of bathwater
Jeff Mitchell, Staff Writer

If necessity is the mother of invention, this Aurora mom is doing her part.

Dina Eydelman developed a new product to deal with an age-old problem: how a person with just two hands can safely and efficiently bathe an infant.

She developed Babywrappers, a combination apron and bath towel that fastens around the caregiver's neck. It provides a cozy place for a freshly bathed baby to nestle and allows the caregiver to keep dry and have both hands free to keep the child safe.

When Ms Eydelman, 31, was confronted with bathing daughter Brooke, now five months, on limited countertop space in her Aurora townhouse, she realized there were probably other mothers in the same boat.

"When you're a first-time mom, you don't really know what will suit your needs and make your life easier," Ms Eydelman said.

So she set about solving the problem. She sewed a prototype of her inspiration using a light terry cloth towel on the back and plaid material on the front. She had samples made at a shop in Scarborough and distributed a few test models to a discerning target audience: other young moms.

"They think it's great," Ms Eydelman said.

The enthusiastic response led Ms Eydelman and husband Will Cordingley to market the product. They set up a website, www.babywrappers.com, that has attracted interest in the product from retailers. They're also selling the product at Gift Baskets and More on Yonge Street in Aurora and The Children's Marketplace on Main Street in Newmarket.

Ms Eydelman has rented space at an upcoming baby products show in Toronto and at local events to help promote the product.

"I'm really excited about this," she said. "I just hope people find it as useful as I do."