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Goods and gear for kids and parents (2006)

At last, a family-friendly, PC-based organizer that allows moms, dads and kids to track home, work and school commitments via computer or cell phone. Cozi Central is the first software product launched by Cozi, a Seattle-based company founded in March 2005 by a group of Microsoft veterans. Download the free Cozi software at www.cozi.com and everyone in the family can access shared calendars, shopping lists or reminders from anyone's cell phones, home or office computers, or laptops. (Being at the grocery store and retrieving your forgotten shopping list via your cell phone -- priceless!)

The Sidekick is the first and only full-size diaper bag with a built-in child carrier. Invented by a Seattle mom, it includes spacious compartments and pockets for baby's and mom's or dad's things, such as cell phones, baby bottles and changing pad. Designed for infants and toddlers up to 35 pounds and between 6 months and 3 years of age, Sidekick retails for $79.99 and can be purchased online at www.target. com and at www.childcarriers.com.

Here's the solution for toddlers who haven't yet mastered the art of belt buckles -- but still have a problem keeping their pants up. Myself Belts can be fastened and unfastened via Velcro enclosure with one hand, making the dressing process easier (very important for those in potty-training mode). Made for ages 2-6, the Myself Belts line includes 12 designs sized from extra small (28-33 lbs.) to extra large (44-48 lbs.) Available for $12.50-$14.50 at www.myselfbelts.com and at local retailers (visit Web site for locations).

Want the best nutrition for your baby or toddler, but don't have the time to prepare homemade baby food? Founded by a Seattle mom, Sprouts offers fresh, 100-percent organic baby and toddler food delivered to your home within hours of being made in the company's kitchens. Sprouts offers several food plans, including a Food Introduction Plan for babies just starting solids (a food diary is included so you can record your baby's reaction to each food), and a Chef's Menu Plan with foods tailored to your infant's nutritional needs based on age. Food costs $1.99 per 4-ounce container, or a weekly food plan of 12 containers costs $23.88. Current delivery area includes Seattle Metro and Eastside locations, but other zones will be added as demand increases. Visit www.sproutsbabyfood.com to order or learn more.

The average parent spends $10,000 on diapers, formula, baby furniture, baby clothes and other baby supplies during the first year with an infant. So how to simplify all the purchasing choices associated with preparing for a newborn? Enter The Expectant Parents' Companion: Simplifying What to Do, Buy, or Borrow for an Easy Life with Baby, by Kathleen Huggins, R.N. Also the author of the popular breastfeeding support book, The Nursing Mother's Companion, Huggins offers advice gleaned from her years working with pregnant women, new mothers and newborns. In addition to chapters on preparing for the baby's birth, feeding, sleeping arrangements, clothing, diapering, traveling and choosing a day-care provider, the book includes useful checklists for the different stages of pregnancy and the early months with baby, and a recommended reading list for new parents. Available in paperback for $11.95.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Attachment Parenting Institute late last year escalated their debate about the risks vs. benefits of co-sleeping, following an AAP recommendation that babies not sleep in the family bed to reduce SIDS risks. For parents who do decide to sleep with their babies, Humanity Infant and Herbal offers the Humanity Family Bed. Made from three layers of organic cotton flannel, this bed topper features a 5-foot-long bolster designed to keep babies from rolling off, and its water-resistant fabric absorbs breast milk leaks. Sold at www.humanityinfantandherbal.com and other online baby stores for $199 plus shipping and handling.

Tired of trying to reposition blankets on your baby in a stroller or car seat? Teddy Toes to the rescue! Seattle designer and mother Sarah Brand created this fleece Polartec blanket with feet. Specially designed to allow the correct use of 5-point restraint systems, Teddy Toes is the only bunting that stays with the baby, not the gear. Available in a variety of solids and prints and fits most infants 0-18 months. Priced at $30 and available at major retailers and specialty toy stores in the Puget Sound area. Visit www.teddytoes.com for store locations.

ParentMap staff got a chance to preview these Celebration Accessories party kits, from Bellevue-based company Zig and Zag, and were impressed by both the quality and convenience they offer to busy parents. For $119, plus shipping and handling, you receive a set of themed party accessories for eight -- examples include butterfly fairy, royal princess, explorer and pirate -- and kits can be customized, if desired, for a mixed party of boys and girls. Designed for ages 3-8, each kit includes seven invitations and thank-you cards, a set of 10 hand-dipped cake candles, plus a themed party planning guide -- delivered to you zipped up in a vinyl tote. Extra kits can be ordered if your party is bigger than eight. Available online through www.zigandzagparty.com.

From cell phones to iPods, handheld electronics are already a teenager's constant companion. So why not harness that handheld power to help your college-bound teen study for the SAT? The Princeton Review Pocket Prep for the New SAT is the portable interactive handheld tutor designed to boost SAT test scores. Features comprehensive verbal, math and essay preparation, full-length practice tests, instant scoring and personal diagnostic reports. Also includes practice drills, flash cards and an SAT vocabulary list with over 5,000 words. Available through Franklin Electronic Publishers, www.franklin.com, for $149.95.

Speaking of electronics, how about a Children's Talking Dictionary and Spell Corrector for your elementary-schooler? Ideal for ages 6-10, this dictionary -- also from Franklin -- actually pronounces over 40,000 words and includes easy-to-understand definitions. Features an automatic phonetic spell corrector -- for example, turns "nolij" into "knowledge" -- while an animated handwriting guide demonstrates print and cursive styles. Includes a rhyme finder, five word-building games, and a vocabulary word list that can be created by the user. Works with headphones (sold separately) for privacy. $59.95 from www.franklin.com.

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