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Digitisation has also been evident in offerings for babies and infants for some years now. Lately, there’s been talk of networked nappies, digital air quality monitors for nurseries, permanent monitoring of vital signs and motion sensors, all intended to give digital-native parents a sense of security. Experts estimate that 900 million US dollars is already being spent a year on baby wearables alone.
Safety is an important buzzword in this context. Product safety is a key criterion for many first-time parents when buying products. The pervasive warnings and concerns, no longer confined to Christmas time, have made young parents aware of the potential mechanical and chemical risks in toys. Besides educational concepts rooted in play, safety is also an important factor in determining sales success.
You would be hard pressed to find another product group where playful offerings are so closely linked with educational goals as in the baby and infant product segment.
Magic Potty Training from Invented 4 Kids from the Netherlands uses play to get children interested in the potty. Stick a “Magic Sticker” to the bottom of the potty. The warmth of the urine then magics away the cloud and a friendly sun appears. The potty training kit consists of two Magic Stickers, which each last three to six months, and 75 reward stickers for sticking into an accompanying reward book. There is also a simple step-by-step plan including checklist to determine the best time to start training.
Nature plays a major role for many consumers when it comes to products for little children in particular. Wood is the first-choice material for nature-conscious consumers.
Selecta Spielzeug AG from Germany combines wood with a play principle which covers the key learning objectives at this stage of life: recognition of cause and effect, dexterity and fine motor skills and perception. The Rotation Sorting Fun product uses playful means to help overcome these challenges. By rotating and positioning the various play elements, infants learn to associate shapes and colours. Twisting the objects to see if they fit, children improve various motor skills in an especially varied way while playing. They experience success, particularly important to their development, when the parts simply pop out again from underneath the sorting board.
SZUMISIE from Poland is using technology in an original way in its myHummy brand. The Humming Bear sleep aid emits various types of white noise. This is the noise we don’t consciously notice. It goes on in the background and is great for soothing babies who are not used to silence and need help dropping off, for example. Designed to look like a teddy bear, the sleep aid can emit the sounds of two different hair dryers, ocean waves, rainfall and a heartbeat, which babies associate with being in their mum’s tummy. The volume can be regulated. The sleep aid also functions as a monitor with the aid of an app, tablet or smartphone.
Babies and infants spend a large part of their young lives in the bathtub. Toy manufacturers have come up with lots of ideas for helping them while away the time while still being encouraged to learn. Global Marketing Enterprises Ltd from Israel has produced its Spin 'N' Sort Spout Pro activity centre under the Yookido brand. The battery-operated toy helps the bathwater circulate. Children get to sort objects while also gaining first-hand insight into the fundamental physical properties of water.
Electronic learning toys have long been part of the baby and infant segment as well. Italian company Clementoni has come up with an original offering: an interactive football table for babies. This interactive game for children aged around 18 months and older recognises when a goal has been scored and keeps tally. It also helps children learn their first letters, differentiate between shapes and colours and pick up new words in various languages.
These are just a few examples of the wide-ranging offering showcased by exhibitors in the Baby and Infant Articles product group at the Spielwarenmesse®. Some 60 sellers of equipment for children (prams and buggies, furniture, textiles, crockery, etc.) have lots of new ideas for lucrative additional business in this segment.
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