10 Items That Sound Totally Nuts Until You Have a Toddler

10 Items That Sound Totally Nuts Until You Have a Toddler

It’s funny and surprising what you discover you need as the parent of a toddler.


By Kelly Bryant

Kids require stuff. So. Much. Stuff. Products and services you would have mocked before having kids seem so much more essential and rational now. And just when you think you couldn’t possibly make room in the budget or your home, you’ll do anything for that one item that will hopefully, mercifully make your life with a toddler easier.

Here are 10 things we never knew we needed until we had a toddler. Now if only someone could invent a sippy cup tracking device…

1. Car Seat and Stroller Cleaning Services - Anyone who has ever tried to keep a toddler’s car seat or stroller clean knows there is no fee too high for passing this thankless job off to someone else. Uninstalling the car seat, re-installing the car seat, making the car seat cover fit again -- it may sound simple at first, but it’s headache-inducing. Thank goodness you can actually have a car seat or stroller cleaning service come to you for an extra fee, or find them at kids’ gyms, play places, or stores. You bring your gear to them, drop it off, and return to pick it up shiny and new later that day.

2. Car Kick Mats - You know that kid on an airplane who incessantly kicks at the back of the seat in front of him? He does the same thing to his parents’ car. While a kick mat can’t stop that annoying pulsing at your back, it can keep the back of your seats in shape for resale value.

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3. Stroller Boards - Toddlers tend to have a love/hate relationship with their strollers. Either they insist on being a big kid and walking instead of riding or they identify a moment of weakness when you chose not to bring a stroller and demand to be carried everywhere. You just want to get from point A to point B. Stroller boards offer the best of both worlds. The kids can stand as you push them along, but you can actually make it to your destination in a reasonable amount of time.

4. Anti-Theft Stroller Locks - You lock up your car, your home, and your bike (if you’re the sporty type), so why would you leave your all-important stroller unguarded? Those puppies cost a pretty penny, and no one wants to be stuck without a mode of toddler transportation.

5. Stuffy Nose Attackers - Who knew there were so many ways to suck out snot? Forget the old school aspirator. Now, there are all sorts of gadgets and gizmos to get rid of the yucky stuff, including saline wipes for kiddos who won’t let you use a saline nasal spray.

6. Sleep Training Clocks - If your kids ask you if it’s daytime yet before you even finish bedtime books, then you probably know about a sleep training clock. There are many varieties, but essentially, they’ll make it very clear for your tot whether it’s time to get out of bed with the help of color-coded lights that shine at preset times to help your little one get the ZZZs he or she needs.

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7. Indoor Sand - Kids love sand. Don’t ask us why, they just do. Call it squishy, magnetic, kinetic -- whatever you like – but this stuff is particularly helpful during those cold months when you aren’t hitting the park’s sandbox.

8. Toddler Leashes - You swore you wouldn’t treat your children like dogs, but those backpacks with the toddler leashes attached are looking pretty darn good right now. How convenient would it be to go somewhere without little Johnny or Suzie running away from you because they are leashed? Think about it.

9. Digital Potty Training Chairs - It was only a matter of time before some entrepreneurial parents decided their child’s potty chair was missing a tablet. This seems so ridiculous, but when you can’t get your toddler to sit still long enough to practice peeing on the potty, it starts to feel like it’s worth a shot.

10. Silk Car Seat Covers - Picture it: You’ve spent an agonizing amount of time untangling your child’s hair only to have her tiny head rub up against the material of her car seat, creating instant bedhead. Enter the silk car seat cover, which acts just like the silk pillow cover you might use to help a blowout last for days.

Which piece of toddler gear do you consider an essential?


Kelly Bryant is a freelance writer and pop culture junkie. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband and their two sons. Follow her on Twitter @MsKellyBryant.

Image ©iStock.com/romrodinka


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