Product Reviews 99
With so many conflicting opinions, reviews and reports on how effective/toxic/natural/protective sunscreen is, we decided to test a few different brands and types that Snuggle Bugz carries to judge for ourselves. Conducting a study such as this requires very scientific methods so we found several adorable models of different ages and selected six different sunscreens to apply liberally on one of the sunniest days in July.
Navigating the various brands and types of sun protection can be daunting and throw in the SPF and ingredient decisions and it can be downright overwhelming. We selected five different brands, three different styles of application, a range of SPF, and four children plus two adults in our search to find the best sunscreen.
- 1 Squirmy 9 Month Old
- 1 Complaining 4 Year Old
- 1 Impatient 6 Year Old
- 1 Independent 8 Year Old
- 2 Busy Moms
Take all subjects to busy outdoor tourist attraction on blistering hot day. After the children have endured the long line to get in and are begging to go on rides and see all the things, announce that they must all line up for sunscreen application first. Endure groaning and whining while each child gets pasted/sprayed/rubbed with a different product in order to determine ease of application, time required to apply, and children’s reaction to the product. Once everyone is lathered up, the real fun may commence and testing of the efficacy of our sunscreens also begins.
First up we applied this sunscreen to the two adults as we waited in line. Both moms found this easy to apply with good coverage overall and not too greasy on the skin. There is little to no smell to this product and it felt very natural.
- Sweat and water resistant so on our hot testing day we knew we could count on continued coverage.
- Ease of application
- Non fragrant smell
- Held up well in the splash pad and through sweaty activities
We Didn’t Like:
- Formula was a bit thick for face application and made us sweat possibly even more.
- Took longer to absorb than some of the others
Overall: This sunscreen was definitely effective, we re-applied after 40 minutes of sun exposure and neither of us were burned by the sun, nor did we react to the lotion in any way. A great go-to sunscreen that is safe for adults and kids.
Used on our 9 month old test subject, we put this #1 rated sunscreen to the test on our squirmy but mostly willing participant. This went on fairly easily, was a bit thick and did take a bit of rubbing to get it absorbed but smelled wonderful (light and fresh citrus scent) and left no white residue after considering how thick it felt.
- Thick formula gave us the feeling that it had great protection
- The fresh smell- light and non offensive
- Lasted longer than others with the higher SPF rating and held up well in water
We Didn’t Like:
- Not as easy to apply as some of the others
Overall: This sunscreen was one of our top favourites of the day. With a thicker formula than other mineral sunscreens, it felt protective but non harmful and was perfect for our tiniest tester. No burns or reactions to this lotion and the baby was not bothered at all when we applied it to his skin.
Used for our 4 year old tester who complains if anything takes too long, this product was great as it sprayed on and was the fastest to apply.
- Super easy to apply, especially to larger areas like legs and arms.
- Good coverage without leaving any white residue.
- Nice even spray coming out of the can so it could be sprayed right on body or in your hands to apply to face and more delicate or small areas (Behind the ears, nose)
We Didn’t Like:
- This one was a bit greasier than others
- If you are not careful you can miss some areas because it sprays on so easily
Overall: Loved the ease of this and it is perfect for the kid who just can’t stand still long enough to get the sunscreen on. It was effective and did its job overall. Would recommend possibly using this on the body and another on the face that is less greasy feeling.
Our impatient 6 year old tester tried this one out and he was a fan. With a thinner formula, this spread easily and was quickly applied and absorbed.
- Ease of application
- Non fragrant smell
- Didn’t leave white residue
We Didn’t Like:
- Lower SPF and thin formulation required more frequent application
- The container is harder to squeeze and regulate the amount of lotion that comes out each time. We did have one explosion of product on the first shake and squeeze.
Overall: This was great for our 6 year old that wanted very little to do with having sunscreen applied. It was quick and felt light so he didn’t feel like he was lathered from head to toe. Can be applied liberally but be careful when you squeeze it out!
We gave this to our oldest and most independent tester to apply on herself. The stick was perfect for her face, applied easily with the consistency of a deodorant stick but no white residue. The size of the stick was perfect for small faces and noses. The lotion was used for the rest of the body as it would have taken too long to apply the stick everywhere. It went on cleanly and relatively easily as well.
- Ease of application on the stick- kids can do it themselves once they are a bit older
- Non fragrant smell
- Didn’t leave white residue
- Convenient size and packaging for both lotion and stick
We Didn’t Like:
- Lotion was a tad greasier
- The stick is convenient but isn’t practical to use on its own for the whole body.
Overall: Great for your independent babe and also great to throw in your purse for a quick application. The stick is perfect for the face and is also great to send with your school aged child to apply on their own without a huge mess. The lotion held up well and was easy to apply to the larger body parts and no burns or reactions were experienced.
The Final Verdict:
Both moms and kids really liked the Think Baby Mineral Based Lotion, SPF 50. It gave great coverage, had a great scent and lasted a long time. Not to be outdone though, we also really liked the Sun Bum Baby Bum Mineral Based Stick, SPF 30 and Baby Boo Bamboo Natural Spray, SPF 30 for ease of application. As with so many other skin care products, it really depends who you are using them on and for what activity. If convenience and ease are huge factors for you, a spray or stick formula may be your best bet. If you are super cautious about the sun and want peace of mind, having a higher SPF, top rated product like Think Baby may just be the way to go.
The best protection from the sun is limited exposure during peak hours and using protective layers of SPF resistant clothing, hats and eyewear at all times. All of the products that we tested were mineral based and did not contain the controversial ingredients found in some chemical based sunscreens. Zinc oxide and avobenzone are the only active ingredients in sunscreen that protect against UVA1 rays, however zinc oxide protects against UVA2 and UVB rays as well. If you want to be sure you are getting the full protection you need, look for these ingredients in conjunction with smart exposure, especially for small children.
As a family of five, we have used our stroller almost every day for the past seven years, and I foresee us continuing to use it for at least another year or two. In the past we have relied upon our larger triple stroller for our Irish triplets, but as our kids are growing up, a quality, lightweight, convenience stroller is just the ticket. We recently test drove Maxi-Cosi’s new Kaia Stroller, and found it met all of our needs and more!
To start with, the Kaia is a beautiful stroller. I know we should only be concerned with the specs and safety (and of course, I’ll get to that!), but I had to start off here – you will love the look of this modern, sleek stroller. I love neutrals, so the special edition Sparkling Grey won be over immediately! Other cosmetic features that you’ll love are the huge under basket (the largest I’ve ever see on a compact stroller) and cup holder. With the nice weather finally here, I like to leave the house with my kids in the morning and not come home until dinner time, so having small features like this are a huge help.
There’s so much to love about the Maxi-Cosi Kaia. It folds up super easily and takes up very little space, It’s adaptable with an infant car seat, and suitable for kids all the way up to 50lbs. This little gem is the only stroller you’ll ever need, from birth until they’re out-running you!
As a tall mom, I have had such trouble finding strollers with handles tall enough as not to leave me hunching over and a frame that allow for my long stride. I’ve also heard this complaint from most dad’s I know! Yet this compact stroller sports higher handles and is shaped perfectly for a long stride. If you’re a petite mom, this won’t bother you at all, but for taller folks it’s a game changer.
Much lighter than my triple stroller, the Kaia comes in a 19lbs. Even though it’s lightweight it’s a very stable, solid stroller, unlike some compact and umbrella strollers on the market. For this next stage of life for us, with our babies growing up and always on the go, this stroller is a terrific option! It is strong enough to accommodate heavy usage (we rarely drive and use our stroller almost daily) and heavy kids! Our youngest still has 15lbs of wiggle room before she’ll outgrow the Kaia and even our older kids can use it if they get tired while we’re out. This is a reliable, affordable, and beautiful stroller! High five, Maxi-Cosi!
With all the learning and new discoveries happening in the first year of your child’s life (for both you and baby), the best thing you can do is find the greatest time savers, parenting hacks and pro-tips to make things just a little easier on yourself. Mealtimes can be stressful as it is without having to worry about the dietary restrictions of an infant, so finding the best time and sanity savers for feeding baby was high on my priority list.
As someone who generally likes to cook and try new recipes as well as control all of the ingredients that my children are eating, I enjoy making my own baby food. With my first child I learned to steam or roast different ingredients and then pour them all into a small, low powered blender to grind them up into a medium suitable for my toothless infant. This worked for me and I began to enjoy coming up with new combinations and seeing what flavour profiles she took to. Four years and another child later, I still enjoy cooking but I find that I have become more of a short order cook and less of a gourmet chef. Balancing the dietary
demands preferences of my toddler along with the meals for both my husband and I and now a solid eating baby was becoming overwhelming and resulted in lots of dishes. And then I was introduced to the Beaba Babycook and mealtimes are forever changed.
One machine that both steams and purees food in the same container, this workhorse has been awarded a permanent spot on my countertop. With the ability to steam fruits, vegetables, meat or fish from raw to fully cooked in 15 minutes while locking in the nutrients and vitamins, my mealtimes have added variety but newfound simplicity. The Babycook model I have is equipped with two large capacity bowls so I am able to cook two completely different meals at one time and then puree them (if I so desire) to the consistency I need. For breakfast I am able to make myself a smoothie on one side while I steam fruits or veggies to mix infant cereal on the other side. I can make plain chicken for my toddler at dinner while I make a three veg puree for my son on the other side. And I am never cleaning more than 4 dishes to prepare it all.
After owning this machine for just a few weeks I have already made dozens of different meals- from simple steamed carrot puree to a three food group mashup, and surprisingly all have been a success. I have found myself getting more adventurous in the kitchen again to explore new tastes and combinations. In case you are looking to try something new, here is one of my favourites that I have made to date.
I heard of a famous NYC chef that would whip roasted bananas into his mashed potatoes to create a side dish that people raved about all over the country. I used this as inspiration for this simple recipe.
Roasted Banana and Sweet Potato Mash
3 bananas in the peel
2 medium sized sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2″ cubes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place bananas on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a non stick backing mat. Cook bananas for 20-25 minutes, until skins turn brown and some of the sticky juices begin to leak out. Allow bananas to cool slightly.
While bananas are cooking in the oven, place chopped sweet potatoes in the Babycook steamer basket. Fill water reservoir to a level 3, close the lid and press the steam button to begin cooking. After 15 minutes or so, the timer will sound and the potatoes are ready. Use the Babycook spatula to tip the steamer basket over into the remaining cooking liquid and puree the potatoes until they are lump free. Peel the cooked bananas open and dump the mushy insides into the sweet potato puree. Stir with the spatula and then blend until both ingredients are smooth and combined. This makes around 6 servings so pour the remainder in an air tight container and store in the fridge, or use the Beaba Multiportions to freeze the leftovers.
Watch as baby delights in this sweet but nutritious treat.
My son loves this combination and I don’t mind sneaking in a few bites myself. The best part is that once it is made, I can reheat the leftovers in the Babycook on another night and not worry about dirtying another pot, inconsistent microwave heating or burning it on the stove. The MultiPortions make it easy to heat one serving at a time and it pops out easily from the silicone tray, meaning I don’t have to thaw it in advance.
The Babycook has certainly changed the way I make food for my children and has made mealtimes much easier and truthfully, a bit more exciting. Using the cooking guidelines in the included recipe book and instruction manual allows you to create your own combinations and when you are feeling less creative you can find a ton of recipes on the Beaba website and around the internet. As your child grows, you can continue to use this to prepare different stage foods and I am looking forward to trying those out in the near future. Finding a time saving gadget that is healthy, is not quickly outgrown and is easy to use is an all around win in my books!
As a part time cloth diaperer, I have been curious to try reusable swim diapers to see how they compare to the convenience of my usual disposable swimmies. I have always disliked that waterlogged, saggy bum look with the disposables (as well as the impact on the landfill) but truthfully didn’t give much thought to a reusable cloth swim diaper (despite being very familiar with cloth diapers of the regular variety). When I was offered the chance to review the AppleCheeks Washable Swim Diaper, I jumped at the chance.
When it arrived in the mail I was struck by how light and thin it was. Would this really protect me from being called out as the ‘Mom Of The Kid Who Fouled In The Pool’? It was so stretchy and soft- not bunchy and scratchy like the multilayered design of my previous disposables. I was eager to put this swim solution to the test so I did what any nervous mom would do- I asked my own mom to come with me! She could hold the baby while I took photos, that way, should anything “escape” from that little diaper, she would be the one holding the guilty party, not me!
I love that these diapers are available in two different sizes. My son is about 18 lbs, which is at the higher end of size one and the lowest weight of size two. I went with the size two and hoped he wouldn’t have to “grow into it.” When I tried it on him for the first time, I realized that the swim diaper is just as genius as AppleCheeks‘ popular envelope style cloth diaper- with snaps at both the waist and the legs to obtain the ideal fit. As promised, it was perfect and I began to think that this diaper might really have the containment powers it promised. The other thing I immediately noticed was that there were no rub points on the diaper, which is perfect for my babe’s sensitive skin.
Into the pool we went, armed with a diaper and a silent prayer that we would not be responsible for evacuating parent and tot swim. I am happy to report that we swam about for 40 minutes with no incident. About the only thing that did happen was having three (3!) separate moms come up to ask us where we got the diaper and how we liked it. When we completed our dip we headed to the change room to dry off and not only were we lacking that soggy, waterlogged diaper, the diaper was almost dry to the touch immediately after we got out. I expected it to be heavy with the weight of the fabric and moisture, but it was seemingly absent of anything other than my son’s cute little baby bum. He laid happily kicking his legs while I changed him and marvelled at this crazy swim technology.
All in all, my honest review is that I absolutely loved this swim diaper and will continue to use this line for all of our swimming needs, be it beach, pool, or lake! I am wowed by so much more than I thought I would be, so I had to make a Love List:
- The fit- all those snaps give you the best options for the perfect fit at both the waist and the thighs
- The feel- So soft both when it is dry and wet and absolutely no rub points or velcro.
- Lets water flow through instead of soaking it all up- no waterlogged soggy diapers!
- Adorable colours- I tried the Bondi Blue (bright and bold) but it is also available in three other colours- Sail Away, Suddenly Sunny and Breath of Fresh Air– all equally adorable.
- Convenience- Lighter and smaller than a disposable swim diaper and easy to care for/wash
- Doesn’t end up in a landfill
- CANADIAN MADE! I love supporting Canadian products AND AppleCheeks is owned and founded by two amazing female entrepreneurs, which also makes my heart sing a little.
I would really love to give you a balanced review with an accompanying list of cons but I truly found none. These retail for $19.99, so they are completely affordable (much cheaper in the long run over buying bags of disposables) and to sweeten the deal, they are on sale for 15% off for the entire month of March!! Some styles have sold out so hurry if you would like to get one or two for yourself! I have already ordered a second colour and can’t wait to pair these with matching rash guards for the summer. All in all, the maiden voyage went swimmingly and we will never go back to disposable swim diapers again!
Have you heard of Stonz? They’re a great, made in Canada line that I’ve wanted to try forever, and so I got my hands on a pair of the new Toddler Booties! At first the boots are a little weird and take some getting used to as they’re much different than other boots on the market. First off, your toddler can wear their shoes inside if they like, so they’re a much softer boot than the general hard boot you’d find out there. If you do want to use their shoes inside, you need to buy with that in mind. Then they have liners (“linerz”) for warmer winter use and you can remove them for fall and spring. How versatile is that? As you can see I opted for the most exciting colour/pattern around: all black (although they come in 14 different designs).
These ones are “new” in the Stonz line because they have a new waterproof sole on them – it’s more durable and slip resistant than previously and you can RECYCLE THEM when you’re done. I’m a huge fan of that! You can find the new sole on the medium, large or x-large booties. The soles contain something called PLUSfoam so I took a swing by their website to learn a bit more about the product. It’s nice to know I own a product that is made with responsible manufacturing processes in mind, and these are no exception – they claim their products produce no manufacturing waste and zero post-consumer waste. Sounds good to me!
One of the best things is that they’re SUPER lightweight so your kid isn’t lugging around a giant pair of boots that weigh close to what they do. The two drawstrings are great on the boots as they keep them on in two places (and prevent the surprise of arriving at your destination to a toddler in barefeet).
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