SkyMall For Babies

The One Step Ahead catalog came in the mail. I’d never heard of it. But apparently having a baby triggers a major demographic shift in the eyes of bulk mailers. I used to find my mailbox inundated with The Sharper Image and Victoria’s Secret catalogs. Now it’s freakin fliers from Buy Buy Baby and cord blood registration. You know you’ve entered a new tier of lameness when you long for different junk mail to recycle.

One Step Ahead is fascinating for its ability to simultaneously inspire ridicule and curiosity. Each page is a PhotoShopped masterpiece promising either limitless fun or an ingenious solution. Here’s a rundown of some standouts.

Totally Craptastic Merchandise Whose Very
Existence Is Proof Of Our Imminent Demise

No-Shock Head Protection Shield, $49.95
“Fits kids 8-20 months.” This is for parents who take the concept of “baby-proofing” a little too literally. If your kid is such a kamikaze that he needs a padded helmut – how do you know when it’s safe to remove?



ThumbGuard $74.95 Didn’t Kobe wear one of these during the playoffs two years ago? I hope that’s not the same hand this kid just learned to wipe with. I might get one for my son just to see how far he can hitchhike.


Water Baby Carrier, $79.95 This could be my favorite, for the creep-factor alone. But also for the model’s rack. It’s a mystery why she doesn’t just hold her baby. And of course, if she wades in above her boobs, that baby’s gonna need a snorkel.


Deluxe Secure Surround Play Yard $99.95 plus delivery 1. Insert baby. 2. Add toys. 3. Throw away the key and go enjoy the afternoon. Don’t think of it as a cage. Think of it as… okay it’s a cage. When I organize my MMA baby bouts, this will be their octagon. Only one baby gets out alive.


Palm Mitts $15.95 “Get A Grip On Slippery Babies.” Wow. Nothing else so effectively advertises your failure as a parent. If you’ve somehow managed to drop your slippery baby, the damage is already done. Just resolve to be really careful going forward. Starting… now. Whoops. Okay now.


Puddle Jumpers, $22.95 Here’s a swim floaty so humiliating, most women will recoil in horrid recognition of the poofy-arm bridesmaid/prom dress they thought died with the ‘80s. That kid’s not even swimming – he’s just playing pretend… “I get to be Judy Garland!”


Go-Pod Portable Activity Center, $49.95 How much mischief could a baby get into if released in that empty grassy field? That poor kid has less mobility than Sunny von Bülow. Hey lady, Free Mumia.


Bug Bam Insect Repelling Wristband and Grid, $6.96 & $7.95 Stop presses! They’ve finally developed magic amulets that ward off mosquitos. The 5”x5” grid promises to “work up to 300 feet away… reusable up to 100 hours.” Why has the lame-stream media not reported this? And how do you pause the Bug Bam’s effectiveness, so as not to use up your 100 hours?


I Secretly Kind Of Want These


Sippin’ Spouts 3-Pack $8.95 Hmm, they probably cost 11¢ to produce. But damn if I don’t want to go buy me a case of Poland Spring and convert each bottle into a sippy-cup. Just sayin.



Trampoline Pool, $99.95 Wait, now it’s a pool?… and now it’s a bouncer? Just try and stop me from buying this. I might get two, so my son can bounce his ass into the pool.


All of this consumerist crap kind of makes me miss SkyMall. In its own way, SkyMall was a precursor to the internet. Tucked away in your airplane seat-back, SkyMall brought novelty and invention to the confines of your seat. And if memory serves, it also allowed free phone calls.

While I was mesmerized by much of its contents, I could never pull the trigger on a purchase. So indulge me and use the comments section to confess any of your SkyMall purchases (or longings). And if you bought the Slippery Baby Mitts, I don’t want to know.

All images from the One Step Ahead catalog.
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6 Responses to SkyMall For Babies

  1. Amy B. April 4, 2012 at 9:12 am #

    I have to admit…bought the Puddle Jumpers…although not from One Step Ahead. It looks like a crazy device but it definitely works to keep the kids upright in the water. We bought a different life vest and my son was constantly being forced to work on his dead man’s float or talking about how his penis hurt (seriously, who puts a thin “hold-in-place” crotch strap on a life vest?). The Puddle Jumper is truly an ideal purchase….Fox would probably love it….unless he is one of those “advanced” swimmers.

  2. Michele April 4, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    I have the ‘Deluxe Secure Surround Play Yard’ but it wasnt $100. It was $50. We have 4 of them, which I use as 2 straight ‘fences’ outside to block off a large section of the backyard where we play. I didnt want to pay the fees to have a temp fence (our Borough is NUTS on that!) nor did I want to buy a real fence I was just going to toss in a few years. These work great.

    But I LMAO when I saw this and then, with horror, thought, “OH NO! I HAVE THAT!!!”

  3. Venus April 4, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

    BUAHAHAHAH! Free Mumia….

    I have to admit that I want way more from One Step Ahead than I should. There is one of their catalogs next to me at my desk as I type this. And, I just got a shipment from them of stuff last week. My sins for your delight:

    1. Puzzle Mat and Puzzle Mat edges and corners. We’re rockin’ the alphabet look all over the house, including on the cherry wood coffee table that has glass inserts (in hindsight a dumb, albeit blessedly inexpensive, purchase made before we were preggers, from an estate sale). The alphabet mat that now sits atop it a) spells G’s name (not like he can read it yet…); b) lessens the BLANG BLANG BLANG of toys on the glass to a muffled THUD THUD THUD. All hail the puzzle mat!

    2. Retractable baby gate. If this thing works as I hope it will, then we can effectively trap G in his room without a) always having to use a gate to get in and out of it; b) closing the door to his room so that he can’t see or hear us.

    3. Crib rail to use when we convert G’s crib to a toddler bed. Also just damn useful.


    From SkyMall I once bought a stuffed bear in aviator get-up (real leather coat, goggles, dashing white scarf). I blame the not-as-yet-fully-formed-executive-function brain I had as a young adult. I still have that bear, it was too damn expensive to get rid of so now it sits in a bag in my attic. As if that made any sense… I should dig it out and let G play with it.

  4. Amanda April 6, 2012 at 9:36 am #

    I’m happy to see they’ve upgraded the helmet. It used to look like someone pieced together a couple diapers and called it a day.

    We also had the Surround Gate, but it wasn’t $100, it was also $50. We used it to close off the corner the Christmas tree was in each year.

    (I had to look to see if we have anything else they carry)

    We have the juice box holders. The 99 cent Walmart version. There’s nothing worse than a juice box squirted all over. I know, *gasp* I let my kids have juice. The horror!

    I’m seriously considering those caps for bottles. They would be so handy when we travel for the little one who can’t drink out of a bottle and has allergies so we have to take our own stuff everywhere.

  5. Laura April 25, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    I work with the special needs population, ages 12 months to 6 years old. There are many items in this catalogue that are hepful to parents who are trying to keep thier children safe and comfortable. You may find it humorous that a child needs a crash helmet, but I assure you that parents of young children with seizure disorder do not. The thumb guard can keep a child who, due to thier disability, bites their thumb until it bleeds and gets infected from further injury. If you are lucky enough to not need these items, throw the catalogue away. Not every one is as fortunate.

    • Daddy Confidential April 25, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

      How wonderful that you work with special needs kids – it’s a demanding job. Not sure how long you’ve been at it, but having a sense of humor is a major prerequisite. This is even more true for parents of special needs kids, who don’t punch out at the end of the day. Such parents (and educators) are a diverse group. But in my experience, they all have a sharp sense of humor and an appreciation for laughter. They can also discern between insensitivity and parody.

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