Finding the perfect gift for a baby shower can be tricky. There are thousands of different gadgets and toys on the market, and it can be seriously overwhelming. Luckily, we have the scoop on the best and worst baby shower gifts to give, and the research to back it up.

Let’s start with the worst gifts. If you already purchased any of these, I hope you kept the receipt.

Worst Gifts

Used or Expired Car Seat

The only qualifiers to gifting someone with a used car seat is if the parent agreed, the car seat was previously in the possession of someone they trust, and the complete history of the car seat is known. If the answer to any of these conditions in no, then NOPE on out with the used car seat. There is no way to look at a car seat and see if it has internal damage from a car crash. If the car seat is expired, the only place it should be gifted is the trash can.

Toys for the Wrong Age

 Age ranges on toys are important. Not only do they look at the safety of the toy, but also the child’s developmental levels and ability to play with it. Toys labeled for children over the age of 3, may include choking hazards that will put an infant at risk. Getting toys appropriate for the age of the child can keep them safer, and let’s be honest, no parent has the room to store a toy until the child is old enough to play with it.

Crib Bumpers

First off, I don’t care how cute and darling the design is on the crib bumpers. Crib bumpers have been shown to increase the risk of infants suffocating in their sleep. When it comes to the best practice of safe sleep for an infant, there should be nothing in the bed except for the baby! If you want to get cute bedding, look for fitted sheets that fit the exact size mattress for their crib or bassinette.

Car Mirrors or Car Seat Toys made by 3rd Parties

Because toys and mirrors from third parties aren’t tested with the car seat, there is no way to guarantee that they will stay attached in a car accident. You wouldn’t want a dislodged toy or mirror becoming a projectile in a crash and causing harm to the child.

Baby Walkers

Let’s start off with the fact the American Academy of Pediatrics has called for a ban on the manufacture and sale of infant walkers in the United States. Also, Canada banned the sale of baby walkers back in 2004 and put serious fines in place for purchasing or owning a baby walker. Trust us, there are plenty of other cool toys you can get that are safer so leave the baby walker out of your cart.

Now it’s time for the gifts we recommend. Parents confirmed these gifts are useful, thoughtful, and adorable.

Best Gifts

Bath Thermometer

A warm bath for baby is nice, but when the water is too hot, it can result in serious thermal burns. Infants have thin, sensitive skin, and can be severely injured or hospitalized from bath-time related burns. Make sure the water temperature is ‘just right’ by using a bath thermometer. They come in a variety of styles and a lot of them look like cute bath toys!

Baby Proofing Kit with Window Guards

Window guards or locks aren’t in every baby-proofing kit and they are an easy to use item that can keep a child from falling out a window. Window guards usually keep the window from opening more than 4 inches. Other helpful baby proofing materials include furniture anchors, outlet covers, and cabinet/drawer locks. Kits also come in different styles so be sure to double check how the materials are installed. If the parents-to-be are renters, look for a kit that doesn’t require screws or drilling into walls.  

Car Seat Cover

It gets cold in New England. While a baby looks adorable in puffy snow suits, having them wear it in a car seat is a huge no-no as it prevents the harness from being tight enough to protect them. To help keep the new baby warm, check out a car seat cover that slips onto the outer shell of the infant carrier. They come in a variety of patterns and some models have a fleece lining. If you want to make bonus points with the parents-to-be, make sure it is machine washable.

Sleep Sacks

Wearable blankets or sleep sacks help babies sleep without the risk of suffocation that comes with having a blanket in the crib. They come in a variety of sizes, styles (from free arms to swaddled), and fabrics. If you want an excuse to buy something with an adorable pattern, this is the gift to give!

Restaurant gift card to a place that delivers

Being a new parent is exhausting. They are so busy taking care of the new baby, they might not have time to take care of themselves. Giving the gift of a free meal, especially if it is to their favorite restaurant, will endear you to the parents-to-be. Make sure it is a place that delivers so they don’t have to worry about picking it up.

Abby Beerman is an injury prevention coordinator at University of Vermont Medical Center and Children’s Hospital.

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