Product Type: Cuddledry baby products
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Bath Time from the Dragon's Den
Cuddledry Apron Towel Cow Print
Member Name: Hishyeness
Cuddledry Apron Towel Cow Print
Advantages: Absorbent. Keeps parent dry. Practical.
Disadvantages: A bit too expensive. Can be too long for some.
I have been getting in some "house husbanding" experience since I resigned from my job over three months ago, and whilst many would argue that searching for employment is a full time occupation in of itself, that's not an argument that goes down too well in my house. As such, along with my new roles as official bedtime tucker-inner and story reader for my daughter, and general pack-mule and quartermaster for trips "out", I am now also responsible for drawing and disposing of bath water for my newborn son's daily ablutions.
Having fulfilled this role successfully - and after a few months apprenticeship and careful tutelage from the master bather that is Mrs H - I have finally been promoted to (or should I say "entrusted with") doing the actual bathing of the baby. Trust me - it's harder than it looks! Trying to handle a wet baby covered in soap suds without losing your grip and getting soaked in the process is quite the challenge - and that's if the little mite is in cooperative mood - which, more often than not, he is not. However, there is one bit of kit we use that has made things a touch easier - the Cuddledry Baby Bath Towel.
WHAT IS IT?
The Cuddledry - another innovative product that has successfully emerged from BBC2's now iconic "Dragon's Den" - is essentially a long towel which attaches to you around the neck like an apron, making it much easier and safer to lift out, cuddle and towel dry baby after a bath. The key to its practicality is that it leaves both hands free. The "collar" is adjustable (with two settings) and secured by two popper snaps which are both secure when in use and easy to release after use.
The towel is cream coloured on the "outside" and made from a very soft and silky, yet highly absorbent unbleached organic cotton and viscose mixture (the latter is made from bamboo fibre apparently). The backside (or inside layer) is a dark beige and contains polyester in the mix to prevent water from soaking through to your clothes. One of the bottom corners of the towel has a hood for baby's head, making it easy to dry the hair.
The towel is suitable for use from birth (depending on the size of your baby - for instance, as Baby H was preemie we were advised not to bathe him for six weeks as he would have had trouble regulating his body temperature). It is designed and sold by an English company based in Somerset, but actually manufactured in China.
HYPE OR HELP?
I remember this product being pitched on the Den, and thought it was a good idea at the time - so it was nice to see it in the shops relatively quickly afterwards. However, as I was predisposed to liking the product before we bought it, I found it harder to be objective than usual when it came to reviewing it.
The packaging - a simple round light cardboard sleeve that encircles the rolled towel - ostentatiously proclaims its pedigree, with the strap line "As seen on the BBC's Dragon's Den" grabbing the attention on the label, along with the veritable chorus-line of mother, baby, pre-schooler and parenting best buy awards certificates and logos which adorn the circumference of the sleeve (see www.cuddledry.com for more details).
They say pride comes before a fall, and in raising the bar of expectation so high, have Cuddledry set itself to fail? Thankfully not, but it's not the perfect essential accessory it makes itself out to be either.
From a purely functional and aesthetic point of view, it does what it is meant to do very well. As a towel, it has excellent absorbency and drying power (as long as you remember to wash it first as advised on the label) and it does a handsome job of protecting clothing from getting wet. It is fully washable (at up 40 degrees) and can be tumble dried, making care and maintenance a doddle.
In actual use, the ability to take baby out of the bath with both hands and immediately clutch him to my chest before getting the hood on him and wrapping him up snug is a real advantage over juggling a baby and a towel at the same time.
However, there are two things which make this product four rather than five stars. The first is length. I stand at just under six foot and would estimate that the towel is about nine inches from the floor when I am standing straight. When I bend over a bath, it touches the floor. Whilst that's not a problem for me (and with the adjusted collar, not a problem for my 5' 6" wife either) it is likely to be a little too long for anyone of a much shorter stature.
The second is price. Ours was a baby shower gift to us from a friend, but at last check, the product retails for around £25 to £30 on-line, depending on the design you choose. Ours, the "oatmeal" basic version is priced at £24.99 at Amazon, but the "cow-print" design goes for £29.99 from the same e-tailer. That, in my book, is far too expensive to make this product - which for all intents and purposes is nothing more than a glorified bath towel - an essential purchase. Like it's silky smooth and soft feel, it's a more of a luxury.
There is no doubt that the Cuddledry is a practical and useful accessory that takes the stress and struggle out of baby bath times, but it comes at a considerable cost. That makes it a great gift to receive, but not something I would consider buying myself. That's a shame, as it deserves to do well, but I think a price of between £18 and £20 (at the top end) would have been more realistic.
© Hishyeness 2010
Summary: Lives up to the hype, but the price could be a bit more realistic.
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