Product Type: Summer baby products
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An Effective Way To Deal With Snotty Kids
Summer Infant Nasal Aspirator
Member Name: Hishyeness
Summer Infant Nasal Aspirator
Advantages: Compact, easily washable, good form factor, well designed.
Disadvantages: Suction could be better. A little expensive at full RRP.
The number of inventions and gadgets available for babies and infants these days is truly mind-boggling. It makes you wonder how previous generations could possibly have coped without such clearly indispensable conveniences (probably quite well I would imagine!). I thought I had seen it all, but then my wife brought home a bizarre looking contraption from Mothercare called a nasal aspirator.
Despite its space age and flashy looks, there is no real way to flower up the actual purpose of this item, so I'll just come out with it - but certainly not before warning you to stop reading if you happen to be munching on your breakfast or lunch.
It's a snot pump. My wife had bought my son a SNOT pump. Given that I was going to be expected to use this thing at some point, I put aside my incredulity and scepticism for a moment and forced myself to listen patiently to her explanation of what it did and how it worked.
WHAT IS IT?
The nasal aspirator from Summer Infant is a four piece ensemble that comes in a combination of clear plastic and a fetching aqua colour and is trimmed with a chrome effect collar around the middle. The top part of the product is hard plastic and shaped much like a baby bottle teat with a small hole on top. There are two sizes - the blue nozzle is smaller - for delicate infant nostrils, and the larger size, in clear plastic, is for toddlers. The bottom part is a soft rubber "balloon".
As most parents will know, very young children can't (or haven't yet learned how) to blow their noses. In addition, the medication you can give them to help with congestion is limited in both type and number. This product is designed to safely and painlessly alleviate a stuffy nose and clear nasal passages to assist with baby's breathing. The idea is to depress the balloon, insert the tip of the aspirator into a child's nostril, and then allow the suction created to suck the mucus out from their nose to help them breathe. The extracted snot is collected in the reservoir (the inside part of the "balloon").
The aspirator comes in a handy clamshell carry case and a small leaflet with instructions on use and cleaning. It is not dishwasher safe, so needs to hand washed with warm soapy water. The infant nozzle is suitable from birth to three months, and the larger one from three months onwards. We got ours from Mothercare for £4.99, but you can also get if from Amazon, where, surprisingly (and despite the advert at the head of this review) it is more expensive at £6.99.
DOES IT WORK?
The theory is sound but the product has lost something in the transition from drawing board to production line. You insert the tip you need onto the chrome collar and twist until it stops, where ostensibly it is supposed to form an air tight seal against the rubber base. The two knobbly bits on either side of the plastic "teat" which help with gripping the tip while screwing it on are a nice touch and well thought out. Both tips also have a small ridge just under the part you insert into the child's nose which gives you a guide as to how far to go in, as well as physically stopping you if you push in too far.
Unfortunately the fit is not quite tight enough, and although decent suction is generated when using the product, a fair bit of air escapes out of the sides, making it less effective. We have taken to smearing the rim of the tip (the part that goes on the collar) with a bit of Vaseline, and this improves matters considerably, especially as you are warned from inserting the tip into the centre of the nostril (you're supposed to suck from the sides instead).
The unit fits very neatly in the hand and is very easy to use one handed (you straddle the tip with your index and middle finger and use your thumb to apply the suction). It is, on the whole, well constructed and designed and does a fairly good job of performing an otherwise unsavoury task. It is quite gentle on baby - we tend to use it while he is still asleep and he has yet to wake up.
Cleaning is very easy - you just unscrew the top, wash, dry and then store. The infant nozzle slots on top of the infant nozzle and the entire assembly slots into the shaped clamshell case, holding the contents securely in place and making the unit compact enough to sit unobtrusively in the baby bag or medicine cabinet until it is needed.
Once I used the product a few times, my initial scepticism proved to be unfounded. Anything that helps your infant sleep at night (and, by extension, gets you some precious sleep as well) is a good buy in my book. The aspirator is fairly effective - it does a good job with stuffy and runny noses, but is less useful at removing dried snot (to be fair, it's not designed for that).
My only real criticism is that the suction could have been better (it should not have needed the "fix" we employ) and at it's RRP of £6.99 it seems quite expensive. If you can find it for under a fiver, it's a worthwhile buy. I would not call it an essential piece of baby kit - it's more of a "nice to have".
© Hishyeness 2009
Summary: A good solution to help clear baby's stuffy nose.
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