Starting a family is such a fundamental part of human life that it's no surprise that babies are an inspiring subject for enterprise and innovation. There's a new idea born every minute ;-) Here are five we spotted recently:
1. EMBRACE — Premature or underweight newborns can have problems maintaining body temperature. Unfortunately, proper incubators aren't available or affordable everywhere. The Embrace is an infant warmer that costs less than 1 per cent of the price of a traditional incubator, according to the eponymous non-profit currently trialling it in India. It looks like a tiny sleeping bag, and is powered by a small electrical element or hot water.
2. TEXT4BABY — The result of a partnership between government agencies, corporations, academic bodies and non-profits, text4baby is a free SMS information service for expectant mothers in the United States. Messages cover health, childbirth and post-natal childcare, and are scheduled to accord with the mother-to-be's term.
3. BABYBLOOMS — Once birth has been given, friends and family will often send flowers to congratulate the new family. BabyBlooms offers a gift that looks similar, but turns out to be rather more practical: their 'bouquets' are assembled from baby clothes. There's a choice of pink, blue, natural and twin bouquets.
4. CITYSHADE — The hoods provided on strollers are sometimes too small to keep babies fully protected from the sun, and parents often find themselves augmenting the canopy with a blanket or some other improvised item. The CityShade is a purpose-built alternative. It comes in a choice of colours and styles, and can be attached neatly to many popular stroller models.
5. LE KNOCKOUT — With a medley of attendant legends, the shedding of a baby tooth is a rite of passage celebrated worldwide. Now parents can have their own memento of the occasion by getting their child's tooth cast in gold and fashioned into a piece of jewelery or a keepsake. Mawkish or charming? The sentimental imperative should not be underestimated!
Spotters: Judy McRae, Marie Sedefian, Julie Mancuso