It is said that in order to create a product, you first need to find a problem that needs fixing. Since parents are great at this (How many times have we struggled with our kids and thought, “There must be a better way?”), a number of dads have risen to the occasion with great invention ideas that are genius solutions to problems or improvements for must-have parenting products. From crayon blocks to safer car seats, see our top dad-invented products below.
The story goes like this: avid skier turned new dad, Drake Muson was excited to go out and play in the snow with his twins until it came time to get the kids dressed. Like nearly every other parent out there, he thought “What goes on first? The coat and then the gloves? Or the gloves first, so the coat sleeves stay over the glove cuffs?” No matter what gloves he tried, he couldn’t find one that was actually easy to put on and stay on. So he created his own “thumbless” gloves made with super-warm material that comes with a thumb pocket and a big gauntlet to go over the puffiest coat. Plus, from tiger paws to penguins, Mittyz come in a variety of fun colorful designs.
When Scott Morris put his adult sunglasses on a friend’s four-month-old while attending a baseball game, he realized that no one was making high-quality baby sunglasses and found his new mission in life. Not only did Scott created tyke-sized shades, but matching adult ones too! Now his whole family of four can match in the sun. The glasses are just as fun as their name, which is a play on the classic rock, paper and scissors game. Ro-Sham-Bo Baby glasses are scientifically tested, certified safe and each comes with a damage and lens replacement guarantee. And if you can’t decide on which ones to get, try out their five sizes at home for free for seven days.
The Startup Squad Book
A born entrepreneur, Brian Weisfeld’s first business venture was buying 95 pounds of gummy bears in grade school and hiring his friends to sell them! Now a father of two girls, he and fellow writer Nicole C. Kear created “The Startup Squad,” a book that shows entrepreneurship can empower young girls to develop important life skills, follow their passions and reach their potential, all while building true friendships. Your little girl will learn the tools of the trade from Weisfeld while being engaged by the story of four girls and their amazing lemonade stand. Meet natural leader Resa, detail-oriented Amelia, head of sales Harriet and problem-solver Didi. Sure, each of these girls could create their own lemonade stand, but watch what happens when they decide to work together. The Startup Squad also has a place where parents can submit their own mini-CEO for a feature on the website!
Flying with kids has never been an easy task, but the 3-in-1 product, Armrest Buddy aims to ease a few of the burdens. Created by James Thorn, Head of Design at Roamwild, an Arm Rest Buddy is a soft plush animal, blanket and travel pillow that slips right on top of a plane’s armrests. “We were on the way back from Spain, and my youngest refused to wear the travel neck pillow we bought for the trip. I spent most of the flight with my head in my hands—but the good news is it prompted me to come up with the Armrest Buddy,” says Thorn. But while the plane trip served as the inspiration for the product, the Armrest Buddy will go anywhere you do whether traveling by car, bus, coach, train or ferry. Each set comes with an ample-sized and soft blanket made from premium and hand-washable fabrics.
Okay, maybe this isn’t fair as we already featured Drake Muson, inventor of Mittyz, but his other product is just as great. Noggins are sun hats that will not only protect your little guys from the sun, but they are also easy to put on and will stay on. Designed in blue or pink camo print, Noggins come with a 50+ UPF rating and an oversized brim which helps to block out even more sun. The hats are equipped with safety release buckles on the chin straps that adjust as your kids get older (no more pinches on the chin) and a mesh inner lining to help the kiddos stay cool. Then, Muson went full circle creating Winter Noggins that come in orange or pink tiger stripes and match the tiger stripe Mittyz.
While many babies delight when it comes to feeding time, Martin Hill noticed that his baby boy was pretty fussy when it was his turn to feed the baby during the evening. Hill knew the infant would calm down when was read to, but trying to hold a book, a bottle and a baby at the same time was quite a feat. To rectify that, he created The Beebo, a bottle holder that straps on allowing parents to free up one hand! Imagine the possibilities! Martin’s wife loves that she could now feed the baby and enjoy meals with the rest of the family—at the same time.
After one frazzled dad lectured his daughter on how traditional crayons are made from paraffin wax and how the colors are created from chemicals, his daughter said, “Then, why don’t you make crayons that are safe for kids and the environment?” And he did. Saving the planet one crayon at a time, Crayon Blocks are made from organic beeswax, are paraffin free, created with FDA-approved food grade colors and are 100% biodegradable. Unlike traditional crayons that can snap in half easily, Crayon Blocks are made sturdy so they won’t break easily in little one’s hands. And they are made in the U.S.A. too!
Many dads consider diaper bags as a necessary evil. They're big, bulky and are often “cuter” than most dads want to carry around. That’s pretty much how Bill Lobe thought of them as well. As an avid hiker, Lobe knows only all too well how packing light can be a real advantage. “When my wife, Megan, and I had our first kid, I saw that giant diaper bag and freaked out. It just didn’t make sense to carry a bunch of stuff we didn’t need. I researched other options and couldn’t find any carrier that was compact and durable, so I decided to make my own.” More like a wallet than a diaper bag, the BratPack is just 8” x 5” when folded up. When opened, it becomes a mini changing station holding everything you need and can easily slip in a stroller or even a back pocket. The expandable elastic pockets can hold several diapers, wet clothes, pacifiers, etc. The BratPack is made from durable material in solid colored designs used in high-end backpacks and is easy to clean.
When Jason and his wife Helen learned that 70% more harmful UV rays can reach a child’s retinas than adults due to their underdeveloped pupils, they were a little freaked out. Wanting only the best for their son Brandon and wanting to protect him from irreversible damage, Jason went on the hunt to find suitable sunglasses. Unfortunately, what he found were two types of shades: ones that were made cheaply or expensive ones created by high-end designers who didn't seem to know how to appropriately design for kids. In order to find quality sunglasses that fit and didn’t break the bank, Jason created his own brand: Toucca Kids. Touccas, (which is the name from Brandon’s favorite toy stuffed red panda by the way), are designed to be both functional yet durable and are made with hypoallergenic and eco-friendly acetate that will not fade. Each pair are made with TAC polarized lenses, German-made OBE spring hinges and comfort-fit nose pads with a sense of style to boot.
While you might not have any trouble getting your kids to take a bath, for other families, the struggle is real. When Ray Phillips worked as a program director for a facility that treated children who had experienced trauma, he found that bath time was one of the most difficult events of the day. One child just couldn’t bear to be separated from this stuffed toy friend. So, Phillips modified the animal to hold a bar of soap and suddenly, bath time was fun once again. SoapSox are cuddly companions that kids can play with all day long and then join them in the tub later in the day. “A patented soap pocket transforms lovable SoapSox into sudsy washcloth—just add soap and scrub. It’s the way kids want to wash!” says Phillips.
GooseEgged Ice Packs
It’s no surprise to learn that the inventor of GooseEgged has three very active children. One day, inspiration hit literally when Mike Ross’ son took a bad fall and came running with a very large bump on his forehead. “We tried everything—an ice pack in the shape of an animal, a plastic bag full of ice, even a bag of frozen peas—and there was no good solution!” says Ross. He spent months doing research and ended up with a genius product: GooseEgged ice packs feature fun cartoon characters, adjustable straps and a soft inside providing cool, comfortable relief while also allowing your kids to continue moving around. The ice packs are great for infants and toddlers who won’t sit still, and they can bring a slight smile to one who has a fever as well.
Australian dad James Dutton is the creator of Patch Strips—reinventing common, everyday bandages with ones made from bamboo. The reason? His son is allergic to some of the materials used to make traditional bandages. Today, Patch Strips offers a whole line of different adhesive bandages for a variety of needs using other natural products like aloe vera, charcoal and coconut oil. And since bamboo grows many times faster than trees, uses much less water, produces up to 35% more oxygen and doesn’t need pesticides or herbicides to grow, Patch Strips are “good for you, good for the planet.” “We take pride in using organic certified components—so you know it's only the good stuff!” says Dutton.
Becoming dad to baby Stella, “was the most amazing thing to happen to me,” says Crescent Womb founder, James Spencer. “With infants sleeping an average of 17 hours a day, a safe sleep environment is paramount. Unfortunately, all of the ‘safer’ options were too expensive for my budget as a college student, and none of them fully addressed my concerns with safe sleep. So I created something better.” By designing a sleep system that reduces the risks associated with early infancy, Spencer slept better too! Crescent Womb is designed to support your baby as if it were being held. The mesh sleep surface of its hammock-like design helps babies to self-soothe while increasing breathability and reducing the risk of over-heating and suffocation. Plus, Crescent Womb is portable, machine washable, and able to be attached to just about any crib.
Safe Ride 4 Kids
“Make Every Arrival a Safe Arrival” is the motto for Safe Ride 4 Kids, creating safer car seats. Safe Ride 4 Kids was founded by Greg Durocher (along with his wife Annie)—a former fireman, paramedic and child passenger safety technician instructor. Together they have more than 25 years of car seat safety experience and have created two new ways to keep your precious cargo intact. First, the crash-tested Tummy Shield effectively minimizes the risk that the seat belt will intrude into a pregnant tummy during a crash or sudden braking incident. It can also make driving or riding in a vehicle much more comfortable for a pregnant mom. The second is the Ride Safer Travel Vest for kids age three and older and is a legal alternative to the booster seat and traditional car seat. The Ride Safer Travel Vest properly positions the vehicle’s seat belt on the child, lowers their center of gravity and, in the event of a crash, spreads the crash force across the vest instead of just the width of the seat belt like in a booster.
As a 2016 Toy of the Year Finalist, PlayTape, from the mind of Andy Musliner, can create roads and instantly. Just unroll, stick and drive! PlayTape sticks to any flat surface and is easy to tear by hand and reposition. It peels up without any residue and is recyclable, so cleaning up is easy. PlayTape is compatible with, and made-to-scale for, the most popular toy cars and trains on the market so you can use PlayTape with the toys you already have. Pop a roll of PlayTape and car in your kid’s pocket, and they’ll be set for hours!
Made By Dad Book
Made By Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff was written by Scott Bedford. It features tons of inventions and activities that dads can do and make with their kids, like a 3D Snakes and Ladders game, a remote action figure zip line, a paper steampunk balancing robot, a blazing paper volcano, a speedy rubber band rocket car reversible paper castle, “off the wall” sports drinks and more. Encouraging family bonding, interaction and loads of creativity, all of the activities vary in difficulty and come with step-by-step instructions and helpful illustrations.
Designed by a parent for parents, the Airtushi aims to help busy on-the-go parents. It's the only inflatable high chair with a padded seat, sides, backrest and front bumper bar aiding in sitting development. Great for road trips or visiting grandma’s house, the Airtushi will fit any chair and features rigid sides preventing sideways toppling. It is suitable for any child age six months to three years of age, it's quick to inflate and it cleans up nicely. All of this, and it packs down very small and flat to slip easily in a stroller or diaper bag.
Believe it or not, someone has created a compact booster seat that can actually be stored in the glove compartment! Ten times smaller than a regular booster seat, Mifold meets or exceeds regulatory standards for booster seats and easily fits in a backpack making it super easy and smart for vacation travel or when grandma needs to pick up your little guy at school. Jon Sumroy invented the Mifold when his own kids were small. “Our children were being driven everywhere by other people as well as ourselves,” says Sumroy. “Car safety is important to us and, we wanted to make sure that the kids always had the correct car seat, but we often found that booster seats were not available; especially when we were carpooling with other families. So, I thought, if I could make a booster that was really small and really tough, that could easily be taken everywhere, then our children would always be safe, no matter whose car they are in.”
Good Nite Lite
As a father of two young boys, Adam Nelson knows the challenges of getting little ones to bed when it is still light out. “Having a bright light, even a regular nightlight, on in a child's room inhibits teaching them that when it is dark, it is time for sleep and when it is light, it’s time to get up,” says Nelson. His Good Nite Lite invention helps to trains kids to associate light with the daytime activities, and darkness with nighttime and rest. It does this by displaying an easily recognized "Moon" and “Sun” caricatures letting kids know that is time to wake up and permissible to get out of bed. During the day, the Good Nite Lite automatically shuts itself off to eliminate any distractions and to conserve energy.
According to the website, the Veer Cruiser is designed "for those who prefer to take the paths less traveled," a premium stroller strong enough to last from the first born to your last born. The brainchild of stroller expert Andrew Bowman, who saw parents struggling to push and pull kids and gear across hilly terrain, the Veer Cruiser is a baby carrier and portable bed for infants, a stroller for toddlers and a wagon for older kids—all in one. It features stain and fade resistant fabric sidewalls, expanding footwell, an adjustable handle height, performance handle grips, 3-point passenger harnesses, one-touch footbrake, front comfort suspension, large rugged knobby tires, rear wheel fenders, one-hand folding and six cup holders! The only thing this bad boy won't do is change diapers.
The Dad Hoodie
For dads who shudder at the idea of lugging around a diaper bag, let alone one that was designed by women for women, you’ll love the concept behind The Dad Hoodie. Dad inventor Taylor Llewellyn came up with the idea of becoming a human diaper bag by fitting regular-looking hoodie with a mesh lining and various pockets to hold bottles, diapers, wet wipes as well as dad’s wallet and cell phone. “Over the shoulder diaper bags are constructed to survive natural disasters and shrapnel, with enough supplies for weeks. Most Dads only need to carry a few baby supplies to knock out that steady stream of errands,” says Llewellyn. The hoodies are quality sewn, come in navy or heather grey and look “normal.” Plus, you can even act like a secret agent dad with all of your secret compartments!