7 Things Baby Product Instructions Don’t Tell You

There are plenty of baby and parenting books promising to really tell it like it is. Unfortunately, the makers of baby and kid products can’t say the same. Pretty much every toy, tool and accessory comes with some sort of instructions—even, strangely enough, my son’s juice boxes—but the advice they give doesn’t always mesh with the reality of a.) being an imperfect parent and b.) raising a mischievous baby.

Never fear, new parents! I’m giving you the real scoop on seven everyday baby and kid items. You may read on with a twinge of horror now, but you’ll thank me later.


  • 7 Things Baby Product Instructions DON’T Tell You 1 of 8

    What you really need to know about some everyday items...

  • Baby Swing 2 of 8

    What the instructions say: Not for use with babies of a certain weight or who can crawl out.

    What they should say: This will rival only your boob in its magical, baby-soothing powers. When you realize that your child has outgrown this swing, you will erupt in heaving sobs and wish there was a cushioned, music-playing swing big enough to soothe you.

  • Humidifier 3 of 8

    What the instructions say: Clean daily using these three steps; clean weekly using these six steps; clean monthly using these 18 steps, etc.

    What they should say: You will be vigilant about cleaning this at first but eventually you'll grow tired of the 17 million things required of you and quit. The humidifier will sit in a corner for months, unused, getting moldier by the day until you give up, throw it out and just buy a new one, resolving that this time, you really will keep up with the hygiene guidelines. You will fail. Again.

  • Juice Box 4 of 8

    What the instructions say: Insert straw here.

    What they should say: Insert straw into juice box and then hurry the #%@% up and insert the straw into kid's mouth as soon as possible or he, and potentially you, could end up wearing the juice in question. Beware the premature squeeze!

  • Toy Flip Phone 5 of 8

    What the instructions say: Press buttons to hear fun sounds.

    What they should say: Your baby will play with this for a hot second before deciding that the little shiny mobile devices mommy and daddy keep pulling out are infinitely more interesting. Even babies, these days, are all about upgrades—but don't let him get his little fingers on your smartphone unless you actually want someone to purchase a rundown 1960s convertible on your behalf.

  • Nail Clipper 6 of 8

    What the instructions say: Squeeze the handle gently to clip nail.

    What they should say: You will be terrified of using this product for fear of accidentally making your baby bleed. Your baby will go for days with too-long nails because you are a giant wuss.

  • Thermometer 7 of 8

    What the instructions say: For oral, underarm or rectal use.

    What they should say: There's not enough Vaseline in the world to make you feel comfortable with inserting a thermometer up your baby's bottom. You will dread this almost as much as fevers themselves.

  • Training Tooth Paste 8 of 8

    What the instructions say: Safe if swallowed.

    What they should say: If? IF?? Think "when." Mr. Hasn't-Learned-to-Spit-Yet will ingest so much of this stuff you might as well add it as a side dish along with his carrots and peas.


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