My youngest son enjoys his food but is also fiercely independent and resistant to any help at mealtimes. This does result in a lot of spills and mess, particularly since moving on to drinking from a cup with an open rim, so I'm always on the look out for products that help to minimise the mess and reduce the amount of tidying up after mealtimes.
I spotted this crumb catcher style bib by chance in Toys R Us. It caught my attention due to the unusual design which consists of a flexible plastic coated (EVA) front bib section with a detachable rigid plastic crumb catcher. I'd never seen anything like this before and it struck me as a really good idea, so I immediately added it to my pile of toys and took it to the till.
It was only later when I glanced at my receipt and discovered that this single bib had set me back £6.99 which is far more than I had expected or intended to pay for a bib. I can only presume that the manufacturers considered what would be the highest price that a parent would be prepared to pay for a bib and then decided to charge as much as they could! At that price, I hoped this would be the ultimate of toddler bibs.
My first impressions were pretty positive. The bib itself has been well designed to be a more practical alternative to basic bibs or rigid crumb catchers and is really generously sized so managed to cover the majority of my son's tops for maximum protection. The waterproof plastic coating is very easy to wipe clean after each use and prevents any liquids from soaking through to my son's clothes, as well as proving to be very resistant to staining. The bib features a bright and colourful jungle scene with a couple of cute tiger cubs adorning the front of the bib and is neutral enough to be a unisex product. The reverse of the bib is covered with a fabric backing, helping the bib to hang firmly and comfortably without bunching up or creasing.
I particularly like the closure which attaches securely round the back of my toddler's neck as this is made from really strong velcro which my son struggled to undo, despite his best efforts. The edging is reinforced with a jersey kind of fabric so that it is soft against a baby's neck and, being made from a light, flexible material, this seemed much more comfortable for my son to wear than the standard rigid plastic Tommee Tippee crumb catchers bib which he tended to remove every mealtime. The velcro strip is long enough to allow for adjustment to accommodate smaller or larger babies without any difficulty.
This design is very clever with the detachable sturdy crumb catcher which really helps to minimise mess. This is essentially a rigid plastic tray which simply clips into place at the base of the bib thanks to two plastic press studs. Once clipped into place, the tray was securely in position and the clips were far too strong and too fiddly for my curious little one to unclip himself (although he did manage to upend the contents a few times when trying to detach it!) The crumb catcher works very well and is light enough not to be uncomfortable but deep and wide enough to catch and retain most debris and liquids that comes its way. On a practical level, the tray can simply be detached and then wiped clean after use, washed in hot soapy water or even cleaned on the top shelf of the dishwasher.
Likewise, the bib section itself (once the crumb catcher is removed) is also suitable for machine washing on a cool wash which is fortunate as the fabric edging can tend to get a little wet and grubby after use. I like the reassurance of being able to put any bib through a machine wash as I find it to be far more hygienic than relying on a quick wipe clean. The label does recommend a cool wash but I generally washed this on a standard 40 degree wash with no ill effects and with no noticeable damage or fading to the coating, backing or edge of the bib.
Sadly, the detachable tray section did not prove to be quite as robust and resilient. After around four months of regular use, one of the press stud backs came away completely from the crumb catcher tray. This meant that there was no means of securing the crumb catcher to the bib, making the bib's 'unique selling point' totally ineffective. This was a big disappointment, given the high price I paid as I had hoped that the bib would last through to the end of my little one's bib-wearing days.
I do think this bib is very cleverly designed and it has clear advantages over other bibs on the market, particularly with the detachable scoop which can quickly be emptied out and wiped clean after each use. Sadly, I was disappointed that the bib was damaged so easily and do feel that it is over-priced, given this considerable flaw. The design did, however, work well before it became damaged so I do feel able to recommend this bib, albeit with reservations about its durability and value for money. The bibs are currently available from Amazon for under £6 each which is slightly less than I paid, so may be worth considering.