CBB Poll: What One Baby Product is Worth the Splurge?

02/18/2009 at 11:30 AM ET

Everyone’s tightening their belts, but sometimes there are just some things we won’t sacrifice on, especially when it comes to our kids. We’d love to know — what baby item are you willing to spend more on?

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Showing 59 comments

Kate on

Had car seats been in the poll, I would have voted for them. The safety of your child is worth splurging on.

bridget on

the double stroller. thank God for whoever Phil and Ted are. ; )

jcmaro on

Other. Car seat!

Jamee on

Definitely a car seat! Only the best.

Jesse on

I voted other…and I would agree car seats are important!

Never had a stroller til my daughter was 8 months old…then my aunt-in-law bought a $5 umbrella stroller from Target because she wanted to push her around.

My mom gave us a second hand crib which we never used.

Bought all of her clothes at the thrift store.

Toys all came from grandparents or hand me downs.

She never ate baby food.

Abbey on

I said clothing because I place great importance on having organic, made in USA/Canada/Fair Trade clothing for newborns and infants. I have been doing a lot of research regarding the pesticides in cotton and it’s appalling to think that a newborn baby is absorbing that through his or her skin.

Lorus on

I won’t go cheap on safety. I buy Britax car seats for my kids. It evens out since I get great deals on their clothing.

hillary on

I say there really is nothing you “have” to splurge on- i got a bugaboo but ended up selling the thing as it was such a waste of money i felt bad afterwards! It was nothing special either; and was a nightmare to fold!! I guess we buy semi-nice everything but don’t really splurge on one huge thing🙂

Pencils on

I think it’s funny that the one thing that most people won’t scrimp on is the stroller, which is the one thing where cost isn’t so important and is mostly about appearance and prestige.

I voted for car seat, secondly food. My daughter will eat organic, pesticide & hormone free foods whenever I can get them. (Although so far she’s at the stage where she’s only eating Earths’ Best cereal as yet.)

sil on

I can’t believe strollers got 43% and car seats just 9% ??? wow…safety on our children is the most important thing! not to have a beautiful stroller…imo.

Katherine on

Living in downtown Chicago, I would splurge on a stroller with great tires and a good reputation. The reason I choose this is because we walk EVERYWHERE. I think certain people choose car seats because they drive everywhere, however when you walk everywhere, the stroller is the thing that saves you! Each thing on this list is important, but I didn’t choose food because I can make my own easily, clothes can get handed down from my niece/nephews, the crib would be made by grandpa, so I’d definitely choose stroller for a city made for walking, like Chicago. I definitely would not skimp on a carseat though, but if I had to choose one thing it would be a stroller.

Ellibo on

What about healthy organic food?!?!? That is sth. I wouldn’t want to miss buying for my family but especially my little one. Today there is so much chemistry on non-organic food, so many pesticides etc. that scares the hell out of me.
Given the fact that I already have a safe car seat, I would definitely go for organic food!

Mommy of 3 on

I think it is a tie for us between car seats and Organic food. All 3 of our children are 19 months apart but they never used the same carseat…ever! I always bought brand new ones and the best I could find! As for the organic, there is way too much crap added to everyday foods that I can’t help but splurge on food. I buy 100% Organic for home but I don’t freak like others do when they eat non-organic.🙂

Heather on

Definitely car seat. We have the Britax Marathon which is important to me because of the high rear facing and harnessing weight limits. My son will be 2 next week and he still has a few pounds to go before we have to turn him forward. I make my own baby food, so even though organic, local food is important to me I already save a lot by making my own!

UggaMugga.com on

Britax car seats can’t be beat and “safety is our first concern”…Sir Topham Hatt anyone? 🙂

And I love a good diaper bag too…something to make the mundane tasks seem a bit more luxurious!

Melly K on

Sling! I don’t really use strollers, carseats are important but not for fshion’s sake, food and clothing can be made, who needs a crib? But a comfortable sling is worth it’s weight in gold.

Abby on

I voted car seat, but stroller would be my second choice. I’m with Katherine in Chicago. We could live without a car – ours is paid off and parked six days out of seven – but a stroller? No way! I love my Baby Bjorn, but I can’t carry my daughter AND our groceries AND hold my toddler’s hand. (We’re in DC.)

The only reason I didn’t put stroller top of the list is because you can buy a Bugaboo or a BOB secondhand – not something I’d consider with a car seat, just in case it’s been in a crash.

The other splurge I think is worth it is our Svan high chair. We live in a small space, and the chair works well from infancy through the toddler years, is modestly proportioned and doesn’t scream “we have a large hunk of plastic in our living/dining/kitchen area!” Plus it might just last long enough to be used for our grandchildren, or at least our nieces and nephews.

tonya on

CAR SEAT!!!
I do NOT scrimp on that. My childrens safety in our vehicle is most important.

Stroller….hardly use it. When we go walking, the two youngest are in a wagon.

Crib and bedding…my kids sleep in packnplays once they are out of my bed for a few months till they go into toddler beds. Bedding, my kids don’t sleep with bedding till they are in toddler beds.

Clothing…mine are usually in nothing but diapers till they are potty trained. (winter our heat is set around 78 inside)

Toys..sadly, boxes seem to be big hits around here.

Baby food…mine are breastfed for a long time (18mths)..then they are able to eat table food.

Mari on

Car seat, no doubt. Saftey is our number one priority.

taryn on

I am shocked that strollers are in the lead above car seats & food.

Shocked.

sha on

The people who said strollers are the ones who do not have a means of transportation, or a car to get a carseat for.

Tracie on

I can’t believe that the car seat doesn’t rank higher in this poll. That was my most expensive purchase for both kids. I did loads of research and bought what I believed was the best, even though it was not cheap. I wanted to protect them in the car much more than having a fancy stroller. My Mcclaren umbrella stroller has been fantastic and it wasn’t crazy expensive either.

l on

taryn, have you read Katherine’s and Abby’s posts? It might come as a surprise to those who are living in a suburban area, but there are people living in a city who don’t own a car (myself included) and to whom a good stroller is crucial.

Amy on

I hate that so many people automatically assume that just because you won’t scrimp on a stroller that you are some mindless idiot that only cares about appearance and not baby’s safety. I’m on board with Katherine and Abby! I walk everywhere and could never use a $5 umbrella stroller. While we have high quality car seats for our boys, they don’t get nearly as much use as either of our carriages (single and a double) which get used every day.

Jennifer on

I’m pretty sure that car seats were not on the list when this poll first came out…and judging by the first few comments, I think this is true. That is probably one of the reasons why car seats are behind strollers.

Yes, it was added yesterday after so many of you mentioned it.

– CBB Staff

jessie on

i say stroller, because ususlly they come with a carseat depending on which one you buy. and since i don’t have a car right now,lol…

wavybrains on

I’m with Abbey–I go cheap on pretty much everything except my babywearing stash. I do try to get the best deals though–I use FSOT on the http://www.thebabywearer.com and scout for good sales elsewhere. But, I love babywearing too much to be uncomfortable. I also try to get her as much organic food as possible, but I’m not obsessed with it.

e on

i bought a P-sling at their sample sale (50% off) and will wait to buy a lightweight nice stroller ($150-200) when the baby has better neck control. the only thing i refuse to scrimp on is the car seat, which at $250, is still much less than a luxury stroller ($600-800). we walk everywhere, too, but most people in my neighborhood use baby carriers, not strollers, because there are so many stairs and ridiculously narrow and bumpy sidewalks here.

in general, i won’t spend more than $200 on a single baby item, though who knows, maybe i’ll end up spending over $500 on various carriers! it’s all relative, and if you get a lot of use out of something, then it’s probably worth the price.

Lori on

A safe carseat is first priority for my children!

Melissa on

Stroller- DD hated it. She sometimes likes the “Emergency” stroller now. But the Bjorn? Worth every penny.

Crib- we probably could have done without that. But we bought one from IKEA anyway, not a big expense.

Clothing/Toys- Consignment. Grandma. Great Grandma.

Food- we buy organic as often as we can, so I don’t consider that a splurge.

Carseat… If I had only known then what I know now.. well, we wouldn’t be looking for carseat #3.

Fevvers on

Hmmmm…I actually spent money on different things to most posters…things like organic merino sleeping bags (so they don’t wake at night with cold feet), cloth nappies (cheaper than paper, better for the environment, look funkier and encourages early toilet training), amber teething necklace (THIS IS THE BEST! – reduces teething discomfort, drool, as well as allergies and excsma.

My BIG BIG BIG buy was a chariot bike trailer…so that I can go to the shops, school , out for fun without always hopping in the car. On a shallow level talk about making you look like a hip, fun and fit mum! Also you can often sell these expensive items for close to purchase price in a few years when you no longer use them.

Aurora mia on

I would say the things we cant live with out for sure, was a boppy pillow. We have two. Both are employed every day. Second is the car seat. We were lucky enough to get a B.O.B stroller which is worth its weight in solid GOLD 🙂 For all those that think it’s prestige, it’s not…it’s ease and light! It was a gift…but god, do I love it. As a stay at home home mom with out a car during the day, it’s a god send. We live in Minnesota and handles very well on snow and thick ice. Lastly is that I make Liam’s food, so the magic bullet is used each day as well.

Fevvers on

By the way…for me toys I get at a toy library (no storage hassles, always new so much better than buying).

Car seats can be hired in NZ from a government service that audits each seat and then sends someone around to make sure it is put in your car correctly, so for me these things cost very little.

Dee on

Car seat!! Easy, people drive like looney tunes. I want my kids safe. More important than the price tag though is correct usage. If you buy a $500 car seat and use it wrong, it’s worse than a $50 seat used correctly. I have found though that Britax is extremely user friendly and I do have a couple of their seats (I also have a Recaro Vivo and a Graco Nautilus). I would be perfectly happy to see all kids in a NEW seat (not garage sale/craigslist/freecycle fodder) that is used correctly I don’t care what brand it is. Car seats are one major area I don’t cut corners on. Food is another, I don’t want my kids (or me) eating a bunch of dyes and weird stuff. Have you ever seen what red kool-aid does to a counter? stains it in 2 seconds flat (you can also permanently dye wool with it), just imagine what it’s doing to your insides *yuck*

Everything else you don’t need to break the bank on (you don’t need to break it period…). Good quality is a must, but good quality doesn’t mean spending $800 on a stroller, or $2000 on a crib (and $700 on bedding that your kid will poop, pee or puke on) or buying only Tommy Hilfiger clothing (though I’m sure Mr Hilfiger won’t complain if you do😉 ).

kat on

carseat!!

Kristin on

I picked stroller. I had a Graco and now have a Phil and Teds and would never go back to low end stroller.

For the people that chose car seat as a tech just because you spend more money on a car seat does not mean its safer. All car seats are tested with the same tests. As long as a $50 car seat is used right and installed right will work better then a $300 car seat not used right and not install right.

Miche43 on

Carseat would be our practical item that we didn’t scrimp on.

But our fun item would be shoes. She loves Pedipeds so that’s all I get for her.

tessaodessa on

I live in Manhattan and without our fleet of strollers I’d be paralyzed. I couldn’t haul packages/groceries w/out a Bugaboo and couldn’t ride the subway without the super lightweight Maclaren. Carseats are also important and we did get a Britax though I later learned that there is a much less pricey carseat that is a fraction of the price and ranks as high in safety. It’s just not as nice and comfy. Organic food is also important to me.

ecl on

I picked bedding because my baby will spend most of his time there at first. I only bought organic items. As for car seats, they all have to meet certain safety standards so I’m curious to know what makes one seat better than another. Anyone know? I feel suspicious that manufacturers may jack up the prices on items such as these so as to make parents feel that they must spend more to make their children safe.

Aloha on

organic food!

J on

It’s interesting how people who have cars want to dis those of us who live car free lives and say we are shallow by the amount we spend on a stroller for the “prestige”. When you live in an urban environment, a stroller is definitely the most important item. And, as some have said, it doesn’t matter how well it folds, as it doesn’t need to go in a trunk. But, it does need to be able to handle the cobblestone sidewalks where I live with ease, be able to fit on a bus, steer easy with one hand and handle some of my groceries. And as some of you said, picking a stroller has NOTHING to do with not caring for our child’s safety, but all to do with not owning a car and our way of life!

JJS on

Carseat!

I don’t think people are “dissing” car-free mothers for using higher-end strollers for prestige. If I was using a stroller every day in a city, I would spend more money on one, of course! Kinda the same deal with carseats and kids who spend more time in the car (like my kids!) If someone uses a stroller as much as I do, which isn’t all that often, yes it would be pretty wasteful to spend $500+. But for urban navigating? I can’t even how awful pushing my Graco all day would be!

brannon on

Amusing conversation. I will be honest … spent more on the stroller than the carseat for many of the reasons mentioned above. Also spent money on all of the others as I seem to scrimp on me now, rather than my son. He has the best of everything but i now look a wreck most of the time🙂 i admit to loving designer baby clothes, buying/making organic, and will even admit to being a label snob. However, if I have another baby, the only things I will skip are the crib – used for 2 months, the highchair (used once to take his picture – love Phil and Ted me too chair) and all the gadgets (wipe warmer, sterilizer, diaper genie, etc.) Give me cashmere booties over any of those baby products anyday – at least he wore the booties!

Karla on

I voted carseat. We loved out Graco SnugRide and we love the Britax Roundabout we have now. Safety is first. But my stroller is a close second. I don’t know why people are having a hard time with people voting for strollers. Here’s the deal – I want to invest more money in the things I will use the most/longest. My child will outgrow clothes like crazy and don’t need expensive toys. Yes, I will feed them well, but I will also spend a lot on a stroller that will last til they don’t need one anymore and that will make my life easier. It must be comfortable for them and easy for me to use. If I consider cost per use it is well worth the splurge. We use our stroller a LOT and I expect to use it for about 4 years. I spent a lot but I will only own the ONE stroller and will not have to get a new one when my child outgrows it, it breaks, etc.

MomE on

I don’t think any are worth “splurging” on. I was tempted to say carseat, but then I realized people spend money unnecessarily on these. And I believe they do so out of fear. I was in a horrible, horrible side impact collision with my 9 month old infant, but I still won’t “splurge” on this. Definitely I’ll buy what I feel is the best fit for my car and my daughter (one that keeps her rear facing longest). But I don’t feel I have to buy the most expensive one to get what is necessary. As a matter of fact, I know from experience that I don’t.

None of these things is worth splurging on. I’d rather spend my money on “experiences” for my daughter. She’s really into music and dancing, and she has massive amounts of physical energy. So I’ll save in other areas to take her to gym, movement, and music classes.

Steph on

We splurged on a convertible crib for each of our kids and we’re so glad we did. It will most likely be the only bed we ever buy for them, since they convert to a toddler bed, then to a double bed. I can’t imagine buying a cheap crib, then a toddler bed, then a bigger bed as they get older. The one time $500 probably is cheaper after all.

geri on

I chose carseat out of the options but for me my 2nd choice would be diapers! I have gone through every brand and all that seems to work for my son are pampers. the swaddlers are the best but baby dry are ok too. the off brands and even huggies always leak or cannot survive a blowout! I change him every single time I notice he’s wet during the day and then let him sleep all night. but the funny thing is the leake and oopsies never happen at night, it was always during the day so we gave in and only buy pampers now. its worth it not to have to change his outfit 4 times a day!

Nava on

I always said the crib bedding dress up the room and its the magic of the room ~ you can see it again and and again once you put it on no need to refold …smiling

Cece on

Before diaper training my two children, I swore by the Pattem pad! It’s discreet, beautiful, easy to store diapers, cream, and I plan to give it to the next relative who gets pregnant!

Mrs. R. on

We have always eaten organically, and I made all my own baby food, so that was actually cheaper than buying… but it is still a splurge to do so and I realize that.

The biggest splurge product we have is the California Baby line of baby products. The sunscreen, insect repellents, shampoos, conditioners, and bubble bath are all in my cabinet and I cringe every time I restock, but they are such amazing quality and completely all natural. I love them, my daughter loves them, and we’ll continue to buy, but yikes they are expensive!

candy on

Good quality diapers! Babies have to be in them all day and night 24/7 so buy the softest and most comfortable always!

Megan on

Carseat without a doubt. I am a huge fan of Britax.

Aya on

I would say if you walk alot like us, a good stroller is a really good investment.We bought the Uppababy Vista and it is really good for us !

That,and a big diaper bag ! LOL,I had bough some cute little ones and always found myself carrying two or packing all the overspill in my purse.

The one thing I think was a huge waste ? The stupid baby bath tub spa.The storage of it is the worse.My son hated it and screamed his lungs out.He is much more contented to have his bath in the sink and my back says “yay !!!”

simms on

Some inexpensive car seats surpass safety standards just as well as the expensive one do – baby food is one thing that I would not buy the cheap version of (unless it met all of my personal health standards).

Danielle on

For me, the answer was definitely a stroller.

I love our Britax car seats but, like @simms said, all car seats have to pass specific safety standards so an inexpensive one is still a good one. The more expensive ones have extra features and more padding so they’re more comfortable.

My experience over the last 3 years of being a mom and testing MANY strollers (I think at least 20 have been road-tested with Anya) is that you get what you pay for. Cheaper strollers may look like more expensive models but they don’t have the same features. Additionally, we lived in NYC for two years and in NYC, your stroller is your car. Even in the suburbs of NJ now, we don’t drive a heck of a lot and a good sturdy stroller on the bumpy sidewalks in our nabe is really important.

That said, we “splurge” on organic food and if we had to reduce our food bill, we’d make sure Anya still got her organic milk and fruit.

amelie on

Car safety is of absolute importance, but in Australia the most expensive car seats are about the same price as a middle of the range stroller. Also, I don’t see a car seat as a ‘splurge’ I see it as a necessity.

Shannon on

I said other, because as a PP said, I don’t think of a carseat as a “splurge” item, it’s a necessity. I did not get one of the real high-end ones. I did research and found a mid priced one that was ranked high in safety. My real splurge item was the mei tai I had made for me, and the Moby wrap! I have used one or the other every single day since I got them, and they have been an absolute lifesaver to be able to put my youngest in them and go about my business. I’ve even been able to take her to work in them and not be affected at all. For anyone who is expecting, I always recommend these, because between the 2 of them, you can carry your baby comfortably for ages!

Nanci on

For me, it’s definitely the stroller! I have the bugaboo and while I know it’s terribly expensive (a gift from grandma and grandpa, thank god), it has been a real back saver. Having suffered for years from chronic lower back pain and herniated discs, I feared my inability to pick up and stroll my baby/child. I had pushed a stroller on many occasions (niece, nephew, cousins, etc) and was well aware of how difficult a poorly maneuvering stroller could be on the back and neck. Living in the city, the Bugaboo makes more sense because I’m not in the car very often. However, my other reasoning for when I did travel via car was that while inconvenient, the bugaboo is taken apart in 2 pieces, therefore requiring you to lift less weight when picking it up. These thoughts can only be truly appreciated by someone else who suffers the same physical pain. Anyway….I love the Bugaboo and am very grateful that I have it, it’s a life saver for me!!!

Sam & Freya's Mum on

An Angelcare baby monitor. May not be for everyone, and we don’t generally splurge, but we had a prem baby, so it was great for peace of mind, with him being over 6 weeks early and weighing only 3pds 9oz, pretty scary, but seeing the flicker of the monitor (and knowing it was reliable thru testing it with Sam in and out of it) made the first few mths or so a lot less stressful, esp as he was our first baby, and always a bit more nervous first time around….

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