Becoming a parent gives new meaning to the word gear. Bottles. Exersaucers. Strollers. Bouncy seats. By the time your child is crawling, chances are your living room resembles Babies ‘R’ Us and your disposable income has shrunk to the size of a wee bootee. The good news? Savvy baby-gear manufacturers have caught the multitasking bug and are crafting high-performance merchandise designed to grow with your child. Investing in “grow with me” gear is the ticket to saving space — and cash.
1 CRIB THAT CONVERTS TO A BED
A quality crib, like this one from Pali’s Novara line, can do triple duty by morphing into a toddler bed, then a full-size bed. The minimalist Pali will take your child from infancy to college with the help of two simple conversion kits. $519, www.lazarsfurniture.com
2 ART TABLE-TURNED-DESK
Swapping out the legs (15, 23, and 30 inches) of The Land of Nod’s adjustable wooden play table allows it to literally grow with your child, from arts and crafts to book reports. Add-ons include a paper roller, storage bins, and art mats. $199, table; $29, low legs; $69, high legs; www.landofnod.com
3 INFANT-TO-TODDLER BATH
Summer Infant’s Right Height Bath Center tub is a sturdy baby tub with removable newborn insert and a cushioned sling that can be used in the sink or tub — all of which give it an impressive two-year shelf life. The bonus feature? It includes a raised platform (with locking tabs and gripper feet for added safety) that bring the tub securely up to a countertop level so parents can avoid hunching over on the floor. When the child outgrows the tub, the platform doubles as a step stool. $30, www.babiesrus.com
4 CAR (AND!) BOOSTER SEAT
Hands down, the sleek and chic Clek Oobr is the Porsche of post-infant car seats. Pricey? Yes. But the fact that the car seat effortlessly converts to a backless booster is just one of the seat’s pluses. Other groovy features include ergonomic design, bacteria- and stain-resistant fabric, adjustable headrest, and drink-and-snack holder. On the safety front, the Clek boosters boast a unique rigid LATCH system that physically anchors the car seat to the car. From $275.
5 SIT-AND-PLAY FUN TO TODDLER KARAOKE
Mini Mick Jaggers rejoice! Fisher-Price’s Little Superstar Jammin’ Band Musical Microphone starts off as a sit-and-play activity that engages babies with a light-up microphone and piano keys, a removable tambourine, and a maraca. For toddlers, the microphone can be raised so kids can perform karaoke sing-alongs. $50, www.toysrus.com
6 MULTIFUNCTION TRIKE
With the flick of a few latches, the multifunctional 3-in-1 Smart Trike Recliner moves seamlessly through three product stages as your child grows: ministroller, parentally controlled trike, and full-fledged toddler tricycle. $150, www.amazon.com
*Watch for Koch’s new book on pregnancy style, Bump It Up: How to Transform Your Pregnancy into the Ultimate Style Statement ($18, Random House), available this March!