25 must-have parenting products for Chicago families

TheNational Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) brought experts and parent testers together to find the best products for families. From strollers to pacifiers to gadgets, they put everything to the test. Here are 25 of the top products that NAPPA says families can’t live without. These products stood out for their quality, innovation and how they make lives easier.

Visit www.NAPPAawards.com to see a complete list of winners in the Gold, Silver and Honors categories.

From strollers to pacifiers to gadgets, the National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) put everything to the test to find the best products for families.

Kathy Arnos is the creator and producer of
theWhole Children, Whole Planet Expo, the first natural
parenting and family expoto introduce people to the benefits
of natural products, organic food, natural medicine and enrichment
learning programs.Arnosis a freelance health and
environmental writer and has authored two books,”BachFlowers for Children” and “The Complete Teething Guide -From Birth to Adolescence.”

Donald Gallo, Ph.D., ABPP is a board certified
clinical psychologist with a private practice in Woodland Hills. He
has worked as an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnostician for Kaiser
Permanente for the past 10 years, and is the author of
Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorders: A LifespanPerspective.” Visit him online at www.thedoctorsgallo.com.

JJ Levenstein, MD, FAAP recently retired from
her thriving pediatric practice in Southern California. She
continues as a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and
serves on the clinical staff of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
She was voted one of the Best Doctors in America 2004 through 2012,
is president and co-founder ofMD Moms and is an
active member of charity boards, advisor for several websites, and
an active speaker and writer.

Penni Seller, Psy.D., L.M.F.T is a licensed
marriage and family therapist who has been working with children
and families for more than 27 years. She is the creator of a social
skills program that is currently being implemented at several
schools, has a private counseling practice and makes house calls to
help families deal with parenting issues in the home and school
environment. Visit her online at www.drpenniseller.com

Linda Rowley Thom, M.Ed. is the Elementary
Special Education Director forthe San Ramon Valley Unified
School DistrictSpecial Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) and
oversees programs for studentsfrom birth through fifth grade.
Prior to becoming a special educator, she taughtkindergarten,
first and second grades.

Meet the judges

Loving these family friendly products? Enter for your chance towin some of them. Visit NAPPA’sFacebook page for more information and to submit your

Want what you see?

Baby Silk Dry Skin Rescue Extreme CareCream

Relief is on the way with MD Moms’ latest skincare product madeof highly concentrated shea butter, aloe, glycerin and oat kernelextract. Designed to calm the senses and provide immediate reliefto dry, itchy eczema-prone skin, the cream is clinically tested,certified hypoallergenic, paraben-free, phthalate-free andfragrance free. MD Moms, $14, www.mdmoms.com, All ages

Johnson’s Baby Washcloths

[Pictured]Pre-soaped washcloths make traveling
with Baby a breeze. The cloths come in two soft, durable varieties:
Johnson’s Baby Head-to-toe Washcloths and Johnson’s Baby Bedtime
Washcloths. Both have the perfect amount of soap to wash Baby from
head to toe using mild ingredients that are allergy tested,
dye-free, and dermatologist tested. Johnson’s Baby, $4.99, www.johnsonsbaby.com, All ages

Expecting More : Sara Haley’s DailySweat Pregnancy Program

Reebok Master Trainer and pre/post-natal fitness specialist SaraHaley helps moms-to-be stay active and fit during their pregnanciesin her two-DVD set. A variety of workouts focus on strengtheningthe core, with modifications for each level of fitness. SaraBroihier & Associates, LLC, $39.95, www.sarahaley.com, All ages

Health and wellness

Brain Quest: My First, for Threes andPre-School

[Pictured]The folks at Brain Quest have hit it
out of the park again with their lastest curriculum-based
question-and-answer games that involve interaction, communication
and quick thinking. Three new versions for the younger set: Brain
Quest: My First, Brain Quest for Threes, and Brain Quest:
Pre-School. Workman Publishing, $11.95, www.workman.com,
Ages 3-4 years

Brain Beats

This addictive mnemonic CD features 12 brilliantly catchy songsto help kids memorize the state capitals, the Presidents, the Billof Rights, and more! Play it in the car or crank it up at home.Before you know it, you and your kids will be belting outeverything from the first 84 digits of Pi to how to say “hello,””goodbye” and “thank you” in multiple languages. Marbles: The BrainStore, $13.99, www.marblesthebrainstore.com, Early Elementary
and up

Brain games


[Pictured]Adorable, breathable cotton mesh leg
warmers pull double duty by padding knees of crawlers and repelling
mosquitoes, fleas, ants, ticks, and other insects with Insect
Shield, which is approved by the EPA and will last through 70
washings. Older kids can wear them as arm warmers under
short-sleeved shirts. BabyLegs, $12, www.babylegs.com, Birth to Early Elementary

Emily Press Preschool Shoe Labels

Foster your todder’s independence with these matching shoelabels that teach left and right and hone matching skills. Greatfor summer camp, dance class, play dates or whenever shoes gettossed together. Designs are adorable and the durable adhesive iswaterproof. Emily Press Labels, $10.95, www.emilypress.com, Toddlers to

Luna Star Shining Stars and Pixie Fairies Natural PlayMakeup Kits

No need to guard your expensive makeup when your daughter hasher own! And these 100 percent mineral make-up products are free oftoxins. Choose from a variety of themed play kits includingPrincess Fairy, Fancy Fairy, Sparkle Fairy and Soccer Star. Kitsinclude eye shadow, blush and lip balm. Deluxe sets include anadditional lip balm and two peelable nail polishes. Luna StarNaturals, $19.99 for small kits, $29.99 for deluxe kits, www.lunastarnaturals.com, Preschool and up

Clothing and Accessories

Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs toKnow About Ending the Cycle of Fear, by Carrie Goldman

[Pictured]Mom and author Carrie Goldman takes on
the topical subject of bullying in this relatable, easy read that
offers practical advice on helping your child respond to “bullies”
and discussion of how we as a society can combat this problem
online and off. HarperCollins Publishers, $25.99, www.carriegoldmanauthor.com, Tweens and


It’s never too early to plan ahead. Teenlife.com is aninvaluable online resource for parents, educators and college-boundstudents in grades seven though 12 looking for summer programs,community service opportunities and academic experiences to enrichtheir lives.TeenLife Media LLC., free, www.teenlife.com, All ages

Raising teens and tweens

Britax Advocate 70-G3

[Pictured]Britax takes its safety standards one
step further by introducing new technology in this convertible car
seat for children rear facing from five to 40 pounds and forward
facing from 20 to 70 pounds. Features include integrated steel
bars, an improved, tangle-free five-point harness and side-impact
protectors.Britax, $379.99, www.britaxusa.com, For children from 5 to 70


The first four-wheel stroller in its line, the BOB Motion is acomfortable ride for children and a breeze to maneuver for parents.Where other strollers fall short, this one rises to the top with aone-hand quick-fold feature, spacious storage basket, a largecanopy and an easy seat-recline.BOB, $349.99, www.bobgear.com,
For children up to 65 pounds

Summit X3

Rugged yet practical, this third-generation stroller from BabyJogger is one of the smoothest rides among the multi-terrainstrollers. Durable, independent-suspension wheels and a hand breakfor total control allow for speed and easy maneuverability. Thefront wheel has a swivel option and the seat reclines withease.Baby Jogger, Single: $429.99 and Double: $649.99, www.babyjogger.com, Birth to 75 pounds

Strollers and car seats

Baby Touch 2 Digital Color Video Monitor

[Pictured] Peace of mind is what parents can count on
with this state-of-the-art baby monitor. Easy to install, the
touch-screen monitor controls the nightlight and the camera’s pan
and zoom, and shows the temperature of Baby’s room. Parents love
the talk-back feature and the ability to add up to three additional
cameras to monitor mulitple rooms and/or children. Summer Infant,
$249.99, www.summerinfant.com, Birth to Kindergarten

Lullaby Earth Super Lightweight Crib & ToddlerMattress

Weighing just under 7 pounds, this eco-friendly mattress is 100percent waterproof, fits snugly into standard-size cribs can berecycled, guilt-free! Firm to the touch, it guarantees Baby a comfyslumber. Lullaby Earth, Starting at $169, www.lullabyearth.com, Birth to Kindergarten

Monster Buddy

Snuggle time just got better with this memory foam body pillowfor kids. Shaped like a friendly monster to keep fears at bay, thisnaptime friend has a flannel blanket tucked into a hidden pocket,and a zipper closure for easy washing. Two Hippos LLC, $65.99, www.wallbumpi.com, Preschool to Early

For the nursery

MAM Perfect Pacifier 0-6 Months and MAM Perfect Pacifier6+ Months

Designed by pediatric dentists and orthodontists to reduce therisk of misaligned teeth, the MAM Perfect Pacifier is made ofultra-soft silicon and natural latex, has a thinner nipple neck andis BPA free. It comes in a microwaveable storage case that doublesas a sterilizer. MAM, $5.99, www.mambaby.com, Birth to 18 months

Green Ring

[Pictured]Made in the USA, The Green Ring is made
of smooth maple wood and a soft, cornstarch bio-resin (the “new”
rubber). It provides hours of teething relief for babies, and is
100-percent compostable once its useful life is over. The outer
ring can be removed and sanitized in the dishwasher’s top
rack.BeginAgain, $11, www.beginagaintoys.com, 6 months and up

Pacifiers and teething rings

Solar Walk – 3D Solar System Model for iPhone andiPad

[Pictured]”Reach for the stars”
takes on a different meaning with this fun astronomy app from Vito
Technology, which is educational, entertaining and boasts 3D
graphics that are out of this world. Also available is Star Walk,
an app that helps you locate and identify more than 20,000 objects
in the night sky. Vito Technology, Inc., $0.99, www.vitotechnology.com, Fun for the entire

Recycled Robots by Robert Malone

Families can create 10 moving robots with supplies provided inthe kit or household items. They encourage family together-time,inspire creativity and introduce children to the science ofinventing, designing, and engineering. Workman Publishing, $26.95,www.workman.com, Early Elementary and up

Family science experiments

KidzControl Volume Limit Headphones forKids

[Pictured]These adult-quality headphones in a
child-friendly design are easy to use for children, and the
volume-control feature gives parents peace of mind. Given the
popularity of children’s electronic devices, this product is a
must-have. Kidz Gear, $19.99, www.gearforkidz.com, Toddlers to teens

Twilight Carz

Toy by day, sleep aid by night, this speedy race car with fullyfunctioning wheels projects stars and lightning bolts onto theceiling for a calming night’s sleep. It automatically shuts offafter 45 minutes. Cloud b, $28, www.cloudb.com, Fun for the entire family

Toys and Gadgets

Survival Mom, by Lisa Bedford

[Pictured]This book will take you step-by-step
through preparation for everything from small inconveniences like a
few days without power to full-blown emergencies. Everything you
need to know to care for your family during a
crisis.HarperCollins Publishers, $19.99, www.harpercollins.com, All ages

Surviving Infancy – A Parent’s Video Guide to Infant andToddler Safety, Routine Illnesses, Emergencies &More!

This comprehensive two-DVD set features pediatric ER doctorsaddressing infant and toddler safety, routine illnesses,immunizations, common parenting challenges and pediatricemergencies. The set includes instruction in choking first aid andCPR, and makes a great gift for new parents, grandparents andcaregivers. Surviving Infancy, $19.95, www.survivinginfancy.com, Birth to 3 years

Surviving Your Adolescents: How to Manage and Let Go OfYour 13-18 Year Olds, by Thomas W Phelan, Ph.D.

An easy, humourous read tackling myriad teen topics, includingteen risk-taking, problems you can let go of, how your relationshipaffects your teen’s safety, how to manage “The Snub,” and whatmakes a “normal” adolescent. 3e/ Parent Magic Inc., $14.95 , www.123Magic.com, Tweens and teens

Survival Guides

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