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4 Toddler Items You Don't Need

Photograph by Twenty20

Remember your baby shower registry? Grabbing that barcode scanner and adding gift ideas to your list was empowering—until you realized months later that many of your "must-haves" weren't all that useful. Fast forward to the toddler years, and it's a whole new set of gear. But doesn't some of that stuff seem a little over the top? Here are a few things I think your toddler can do without.

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1. Bed rail/bumper

Worried about a fall? Toss a pillow or two on the floor.

I'm pretty sure these were designed more for parents than for toddlers transitioning from crib to bed. It can be pretty anxiety-inducing to see your wee one in a bed that doesn't contain him. Will he get up in the middle of the night? Roll out onto the floor? What if he realizes that he's free? But in reality, even if you have the bed rail attached to a toddler bed or a full-sized twin bed, it isn't going to keep your kid from escaping. Worried about a fall? Toss a pillow or two on the floor.

2. Faucet extender

In an attempt to solve the puzzling question of how to get your toddler to wash his hands, someone invented the faucet extender. Most of these are made in the shape of an animal and they simply direct the water flow closer to the edge of the sink. The first thing I thought when I saw one? Water fight. A stepping stool is a much easier—and drier—solution.

3. Reusable food pouches

Want your toddler to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet even though she craves mac and cheese 24/7? Puree those veggies into an unappealing paste and stick it in a food pouch. Boom, you've got all the food groups covered. It's like being Mom of the Year all the time. But can I just say one thing? Gross! Pretty sure if I brought pureed peas in a sandwich bag to playgroup I would have been kicked out. Even for the pickiest eaters these just seem unnecessary to me. The goal is to get your toddlers to like people food—and I think food pouches simply delay that transition. Yuck.

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4. Potty seat

I know many of you experienced toddler-raisers are shaking your heads at this, but I'm not a fan of the potty seat. The ultimate goal of potty training is to get your kiddos to use a regular toilet—no matter where you are. Sure, Grandma's toilet seat has that pink furry cover and the gas station bathroom has the automatic flusher. But why should we carry an extra toilet around? And the worst part about potty seats is that they don't have a flusher. So guess who has to clean them every time? You. Yuck.

So don't fret, future parents of toddlers. Some of the best toddler gear you can have is your own common sense—and a sense of humor.

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