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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't go shopping for baby items without this guide!
The 9th edition (2011) of "Baby Bargains" is the must-buy guide to help you pick the best baby products available in the market today. Signifantly better than previous editions, it is full of product reviews, ratings, side-by-side comparisons and recommendations that will save you tons of time, money and frustration when shopping for baby items or drawing up your baby...
Published on March 22, 2011 by Justbooking

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154 of 165 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Over time, less impressed.
Initially, this book was the end-all-be-all for us. After we found out we were pregnant with our first, several of our friends told us we MUST get this book. So we did, and the information contained within seemed all-encompassing, and like the only reference we'd ever need. As the months of my pregnancy continued on and our research on different items expanded and...
Published on May 23, 2011 by Nick


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154 of 165 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Over time, less impressed., May 23, 2011
By 
Nick (United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Baby Bargains: Secrets to Saving 20% to 50% on baby furniture, gear, clothes, toys, maternity wear and much, much more! (Paperback)
Initially, this book was the end-all-be-all for us. After we found out we were pregnant with our first, several of our friends told us we MUST get this book. So we did, and the information contained within seemed all-encompassing, and like the only reference we'd ever need. As the months of my pregnancy continued on and our research on different items expanded and deepened, we started realizing that several of the Baby Bargains reviews didn't match up with reviews we were reading elsewhere, including on Amazon. The Baby Bargains authors have a tendency to review items with an authoritative tone that is not always warranted or based on in-depth research. To be sure, there is A LOT of research put into the book, but it also covers A LOT of items, so in some instances, certain items don't get the same scrutiny as others, but the reader can't really discern in which instances this is happening. It becomes more apparent as you start researching the items you've narrowed it down to using resources other than Baby Bargains. I was looking at baby monitors on Amazon the other day, and based on user review (actual parents), there were a couple monitors that jumped out at me as the best (no 1 or 2 star ratings -- all 4 and 5 stars, out of over 50 ratings). I looked up the brand in our Baby Bargains book, and found that it was rated "F"! And the reason the BB authors gave it an F is actually refuted by someone in the medical field in one of the 5 star Amazon reviews. That didn't sit real well with me, especially for something as important as a Baby Monitor. I've had other experiences like that with items recommended by Baby Bargains, where they say "get this not that", and I do some more googling, and find that parents are actually not too happy with the Baby Bargains-recommended items.

Is this book worth getting? Yes. It's a great, one-stop-shopping roadmap of sorts for all the STUFF you need / don't need, particularly useful for first-time parents. That said - it should not be considered the ONLY resource / authority on baby buying. Like all the manufacturers of all the baby stuff out there, Baby Bargains is also a business -- they're in it to make money as much as the next guy. There's nothing wrong with that, but I do think it's important to keep in the back of your head. While they don't get paid to recommend one brand over another, they DO get paid (by those of us who buy their books) for coming across as the "experts" on all things baby-related. And they simply aren't. I recommend starting with the book, narrowing it down to options you're considering, and then doing additional research on the items that really matter - crib, car seat, baby monitor, etc. Beyond that, I pay particular attention to recent reviews NOT in Baby Bargains written by folks in the medical / pediatric fields. While Baby Bargains will often say something like, "According to the American Academy of Pediatrics...", they rarely say "According to pediatrician Joe Smith..." In other words, you start to get the feeling that maybe they just googled the American Academy of Pediatrics and passively noted their regulations, rather than actually talking to a real pediatrician about a particular item. Anyway, in sum, get the book, and take into consideration what they say, but don't consider it the Gospel on baby merchandise...
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not buy the Kindle version!, April 1, 2012
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A friend of mine recommended this book because, as a first-time mom, I don't know what babies actually need versus what's just hype. And this book is absolutely GREAT for that!

However ... the Kindle version is missing large chunks that appear in the table of contents, and that I assume also appear in the print version. For example, in Chapter 2 (Nursery Necessities), the first 16 sections are there (about what baby stores are the best, registries, and some general guidelines on how to buy a crib); but after "Not Made in China," it skips straight to Chapter 3! There are TWENTY-EIGHT missing sections in Chapter 2, including the actual reviews of various crib manufacturers and all the sections about other nursery furniture like changing tables, gliders, bassinets and co-sleepers. So despite having paid for this book, I actually still have no idea what to look for in nursery furniture.

If everything listed in the table of contents were actually in the book, this would DEFINITELY be a five-star product; but so much of it is not there that I'm going to have to buy a different book to do the same thing, so it was a complete waste of money for me and therefore only gets one star.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't go shopping for baby items without this guide!, March 22, 2011
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This review is from: Baby Bargains: Secrets to Saving 20% to 50% on baby furniture, gear, clothes, toys, maternity wear and much, much more! (Paperback)
The 9th edition (2011) of "Baby Bargains" is the must-buy guide to help you pick the best baby products available in the market today. Signifantly better than previous editions, it is full of product reviews, ratings, side-by-side comparisons and recommendations that will save you tons of time, money and frustration when shopping for baby items or drawing up your baby registry. Parent feedback, recall information, marketing gimmicks, and pros and cons are all explained and taken into account - simply said, no other source has this much up-to-date information at your fingertips.

New for this edition is an extensive section on the many new car seats, strollers and carriers available. The sections on individual car seats (rated by brand and model) is excellent. For strollers, however, it's worth noting that they are only rated by manufacturer. Most models usually have a one-paragraph descriptions that include price, weight and parent feedback, so if you're looking for detailed reviews on individual models (for example the City Mini vs. City Select strollers), you won't find that here - probably because there's simply way too many (Maclaren alone has nine models).

What really matters though is their analysis of overall quality for the brand, their customer service, recalls and pros/cons, all very useful if you're trying to pick between two different brands. For example, if overall quality and customer service for one brand is not be great, this will be reflected in the rating and the authors may point you to a better option for the same price.

That said, I do have some small gripes - although the book mentions many new items, it also includes some products that are no longer sold at retail, like the Chicco Twin Trevi stroller which was discontinued last year. Not bad if you're buying second-hand but not great if you want to buy new. There is also about a one-year lag in terms of the products mentioned in categories other than strollers, carriers and car seats - I couldn't find popular products that work well for travel or small spaces (a big missing category) such as the Phil & Teds Traveller Crib that's a lot smaller than the Baby Bjorn travel crib they recommend, the FlexiBath Infant Bath Tub that folds flat for small spaces and can be used to age 4 (unlike the tubs they mention that are for babies younger than 6 months or huge to store), and the Kidco Go-Pod portable activity seat that folds to 30" x 8" x 8". Hopefully they will be included in the new edition.

Likewise, the authors sometimes skim over product descriptions - an Ergo Performance carrier is simply described as having a special lighterweight fabric when in fact it has a completely different fit and design when compared to the original Ergo. This doesn't happen too often though.

In terms of what you'll find - chapters include nursery essentials (cribs, bassinets, dressers, mattresses, gliders, changing tables etc.), baby bedding, baby clothes, diapers, maternity & nursing clothes, feeding (nursing, bottles, formula, baby food, high chairs), gear for around the house (monitors, gates, diaper pails, swings, potty seats, bouncers, playards, etc), car seats, strollers (singles & doubles), bike trailers and seats, diaper bags, plus an extensive section on carriers. Throughout the book, you'll find money-saving tips, wastes of money, features to look for in a product and best places to buy.

Other chapters include a reality check on costs for the first year (average vs a Baby Bargains budget), new safety rules (cribs, etc), organic baby items, what you need when, an appendix with a sample baby registry and another appendix with multiples advice (twins and more) which unfortunately is just 2 pages long and woefully inadequate (a dowload they suggest on their site from a reader contains a high chair they gave a C+ raing to - did they even read it?).

Besides the book, the authors also run the baby bargains dot com website (easy to find, google "baby bargains") where you will find a very detailed table of contents and tons of bonus material not found in the book. This includes crib maker reviews, in-depth advice on bottles and supplies, humidifiers, toys, baby proofing tips, baby announcements, mail order sources, archive of old reviews, extra stroller reviews, and advice on introducing baby to your pets. Also, it has a handy chart that lists stroller models with one-hand folds and/or height-adjustable handles and travel tips for flying with your child.

With the average cost of raising a baby at about $7,000 for the first year alone, this book will save you around $3,000 if you follow all the tips and suggestions in the book. If it doesn't save you at least $250, the publisher will give you a full refund on the cost of the book, no questions asked - details of their guarantee are in back. Even with a few faults here and there it's still an excellent book - I'm glad to say I've never had to take them up on this offer.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little editing please?, February 22, 2012
This review is from: Baby Bargains: Secrets to Saving 20% to 50% on baby furniture, gear, clothes, toys, maternity wear and much, much more! (Paperback)
I received this book at my baby shower and quickly read it pretty much cover to cover. It is helpful if you have NO idea what to buy, as it gives pretty comprehensive overviews of the popular brands. However, two cons stuck out to me that made me trust the authors a little less:

1) Can the publisher please hire a decent proofreader? There were countless spelling and grammatical errors, from simple things like its/it's, your/you're, and then more ridiculous ones like "this baby monitor gives parents piece of mind", and "the buckles fasten around your waste". Seriously? Errors like that just erode my confidence in the authors' expertise.

2) More importantly, the authors didn't seem to have deep enough knowledge of certain areas considering the "expert" opinion they were giving on it. For example, they seemed to write off cloth diapering as an inconvenient and expensive option because using a cloth diapering SERVICE cost more than disposable diapering. And they seemed to lump all cloth diapers into one category when they said that even after buying the cloth diapers, you also have to buy expensive diaper COVERS, an additional expense. Clearly the authors have never cloth diapered their child! Many of today's cloth diapers are all-in-one, so you don't have to buy extra covers, and if you launder them yourself you can save thousands of dollars. These diapers were skimmed over briefly, leading the reader to believe cloth diapering isn't worth considering.

Having done my own research online by reading extensive product reviews, I didn't find that the book was all that useful. Perhaps if I had received it earlier, before having bought most of the big-ticket items, it would have been a good place to start my research.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sloppy, inconsistent, and largely based on publicly available reviews by others, March 6, 2012
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This review is from: Baby Bargains: Secrets to Saving 20% to 50% on baby furniture, gear, clothes, toys, maternity wear and much, much more! (Paperback)
At first I was really glad to have this book. I believed that others had done careful work for me and collected it for my review. I thought this would save me a great deal of time in coming up with my registries, etc. Once I started more carefully combing through the book, however, I quickly realized the authors were inconsistent with their recommendations.

For example, they insist that crib sheets have elastic all the way around and not just on the ends. They offer a partial list of manufacturers who make sheets with all around elastic. Then, they proceed to offer brand recommendations. Brands on the list of those who offer this essential feature often get low reviews and brands not on the list earn a solid "A." It is up to the reader to notice this discrepancy and to work through the lists and figure out which brands get both an "A" or "A-" and offer this "essential" safety feature. At this point you are left with just a few choices. THEN, when you go to find the sheets in the real world, you find that 2 of the manufacturers who earned both an A and a place on the list, don't even make crib sheets anymore. (Keep in mind this book was published less than a year ago as of this review.) Another only sells their sheets from its own website and another only offers flannel, a less than ideal choice for a summer baby in GA.

This oversight is a pain and wasted a lot of my time, but the authors' judgment seems to be a more serious worry. For example, after each list of ratings of various brands for different products, they offer recommendations of good, better, and best for each main category of item. For infant car seats they list the Graco Snugride 35 as the "Best" (p. 428), but in their review of this seat on pages 399-401 they admit that Consumer Reports rated this seat "DEAD LAST" because of it's fit in vehicles and "average crash protection." They explain that it lacks "extra side protection" and an anti-rebound bar. What in the world??? As other reviewers have noted they insist you not get used cribs, play pens, car seats, or certain other types of items because you'd have to research recalls and safety features, but they DO suggest you get an inferior car seat because it is cheaper? Of all the items you would want to not skimp on, it seems like the car seat should be at the top of the list.

This book can serve as an introduction to the issues you need to be thinking about and the research you need to do, but now I can see that you can't trust the authors' judgment. You also cannot rely on them to offer the most reliable information or to be consistent.

Finally, so much of their recommendations rests on the feedback their readers offer about various products. This is feedback anyone can read for themselves for free on the authors' own website, Amazon, or other outlets like Target. The authors' website even reproduces Amazon reviews of products.

The best aspect of this book is their advice on items you do not need. They offer reasonable arguments for this. But I cannot rate them higher because of their carelessness in recommending products.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must-Have Book for All Parents, February 27, 2014
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This review is from: Baby Bargains: Secrets to Saving 20% to 50% on baby furniture, gear, clothes, toys, maternity wear and much, much more! (Paperback)
This book is incredible! When my wife and I were expecting our 1st child, some friends recommended we check out this book (the 2012 edition at the time). So I went on Amazon, found the book and decided to check it out. For the price, it was a no-brainer. When it arrived, I was blown away at all the information it had in it. i was expecting it to outline how to save money on various baby products, which it does, but it also has tons of information on the products as well. I really liked the individual product reviews as well as the comparisons to similar products and how the book rates each product. Overall this is a excellent book and I think that it helped us out tremendously and it would do the same for any parent, new or seasoned.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book for first-time parents, May 3, 2012
This review is from: Baby Bargains: Secrets to Saving 20% to 50% on baby furniture, gear, clothes, toys, maternity wear and much, much more! (Paperback)
As first time parents, we were completely overwhelmed with all the baby products on the market. This book has been a lifesaver with helping us figure out what we actually need, and then more specifically, what features and brands are best. I can't recommend it enough. My only point of criticism would be that I wish it paid a little more attention to issues relating to chemicals in baby products. It talks a lot about safety ratings and recalls, but not so much about potential toxins. I found myself going one step further with additional research on that issue, but I realize not all parents are concerned with this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ehh..., February 15, 2012
This review is from: Baby Bargains: Secrets to Saving 20% to 50% on baby furniture, gear, clothes, toys, maternity wear and much, much more! (Paperback)
When I was reading through the first few pages, I thought it was going to be a great book. Now that I've read through it more, I'm just taking some of the things I read with a grain of salt. First off, they are definitely biased toward certain brands more than others. This means that what they recommend is not always a bargain or anywhere near it. They can also make you feel bad if you aren't splurging for the nicer stuff they have given a better grade. They assign A to F to Not Yet and so on for the products. The $1000 dollar crib will get an A or a B while the bargain $200 or $300 dollar crib will get a C-. This book really didn't tell me how to save money. It was mainly review after review with tidbits thrown in, which is fine- but it's not necessarily baby bargains at all. I also found many typos. I didn't like how they would sometimes throw in all the brands together- like JCPenney would get a rating and cover many brands. I know they aren't getting paid to endorse particular brands, but it really seems like they do. Like, they are all for IKEA, but don't you dare go to JCPenney. I've also noticed that some products just have positive and glowing reviews online and then they don't like it based off of one thing someone told them? The authors will give a product a good grade because it is a good price, even if the materials aren't the best... then give another product a bad grade because the materials aren't the best? Too opinionated and not enough research in my opinion. And again... I don't understand the bargain part of the book at all! I'm already spending less than the 7,000+ they recommend. They also use some scare tactics that make you wonder how you're ever going to afford your child! I guess to make you want to "bargain" shop. The $200 dollar crib must meet the same standards as the $1000+ one. So, safety can be first at many price points. They don't recommend the lower price point if you truly want to keep your child's environment safe.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good start for research, September 18, 2011
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This book definitely was a good start for our research. There is a lot of text where the authors talk at length about the concepts, needs for products, reputation of manufacturers, etc. But I can't shake the nagging feeling that most of the text has not been rewritten since the first edition... Also, some technical issues affected the usefulness of this guide. Notably, that specific product reviews are not listed in a concise format, no navigation aids like chapter indication in a heading or the page edges (important for a 600-page book!), and that the table of contents does not allow for quick reference of most useful parts.

Also, some notes on the Kindle edition. I wish I could have given the Kindle version a specific review, because it had some major technical drawbacks:

(1) table of contents is too long, messy, and hard to navigate
(2) tables (such as the ratings tables) have small text and seem to be scanned, as they get fuzzy when zoomed in (esp. important when viewing on a smartphone or tablet while standing in a store)
(3) sidebar topics are shown in-line. this is hard to understand, but basically you'll be reading about Chicco's car seats, and there will be a line and a heading saying "How big is normal?", which will go on for 2 pages, then another line, and then all of a sudden a few more random sentences (about what? flipping back, you realize they were talking about Chicco in the previous section, so this must be about them) before going on to the next manufacturer. In the straight-down e-book format, sidebars should be changed into sections, where they do not interrupt other topics.

My rating reflects a 4-star rating about the contents of the book, and a 2-star rating about the usefulness of the book and also the Kindle book format. A writer of a book like this that is not meant to be "light reading", but rather a reference book, needs to pay attention to how the users will use the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Starting Place for Researching Parents, April 9, 2011
This review is from: Baby Bargains: Secrets to Saving 20% to 50% on baby furniture, gear, clothes, toys, maternity wear and much, much more! (Paperback)
My wife and I had our first child in June 2011. We first found out we were pregnant in Fall 2010. Preparing to be a father can be overwhelming, and part of that is making sure you get the baby gear your child needs that is safe and high quality - in a way that does not bust your budget.

I am the kind of person who likes to do background research on the things I buy - especially big ticket and safety-type items. After searching on Amazon and in a bookstore, I used this resource as one of my main starting points in trying to figure out the world of baby stuff. (We had the edition with the green cover.)

This is an exceptional book, and I highly recommend it to new parents as a resource. We often give it to newly-pregnant friends. It helps you get an overview of all the types of baby products out there and helps you figure out the things you need and do not need. An especially helpful use of the book for me was taking it into baby stores, which can be overwhelming, and using it to make notes and help narrow down choices.

I even emailed the authors about an item that was not in their book, and they took the time to respond back to me and help me think through the issue. That is wonderful service in additon to a wonderful book. I was so impressed that I bough the next couple of books in the series.
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