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TIPS-tested cuddle towels - 2008

I am delighted to be able to bring you the final results of the first TIPS tests of cuddle towels. I have tried to source what I believe to be the best cuddle towels on the market today, but ultimately these are my own personal favourites. All towels in this trial are made from the highest quality fabrics and designed to make bath time easier and more enjoyable for you and your baby.
Some products will suit your needs better than others. Some will be better adapted to the size of your home or to your lifestyle, so check out the results and I hope you find the information useful.


The following four awards have been allocated (click on one of the links below to find out more):

Best of the best - Tots Bots Bamboo hooded cuddle towel
Best innovative - Cuddledry® baby apron towel
Highly commended - Clevamama and Coocoose® cuddle towels
TIPS to go- follow this link to download a summary of the awards


You can also find out more about the testing process in the following sections


Overview

I would like to thank each supplier for providing cuddle towels for this trial. Without their co-operation and confidence in the TIPS testing programme, this in-depth study of the best available products on the market today would not have been possible. We sent 24 towels to 23 Testers (one with twins) and asked 27 questions on the feedback form. We expect the information we have collated as a result of our detailed and independent market research to prove invaluable. The strengths and weaknesses of each product have been highlighted through the TIPS testing process. Companies will be able to use this information to improve their products in the future.
I would also like to thank the team of dedicated TIPS parent Testers whose comments and detailed feedback allow the TIPS testing programme to achieve a level of independence and impartiality that is second to none. I hope visitors to the TIPS website find our comprehensive review of the baby baths on offer today useful.
Please note that products tested by TIPS are not free or promotional products, but samples for the sole purpose of independent testing. All Testers must agree and sign a copy of the TIPS Award Scheme terms and conditions before taking part in a TIPS trial.
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Criteria

Allocating the awards was done by taking into account the final scores, analysing Testers’ comments and applying the following criteria:

Best of the best: this is allocated to products that score highly and are unanimously praised by Testers. The design, ease of use and care of the product are considered, as well as the quality of customer service provided by the supplier and the quality of information given to customers (both on the pack and online).

Best innovative
: products that shine out from the rest due to some innovative feature(s) that testers universally praised

Highly commended: this is given to products wrthy of an award, but not best in their category.

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Methodology

Testers received samples with: detailed guidelines explaining exactly what to look for in each product when carrying out the tests and detailed questionnaires with information about price, brand, distributor and any additional instructions.

The following text was included in the testers’ guidelines:

I would like you to use the towel for a few days so that you can comment fully on the product and give me your thoughts on what works and maybe what doesn’t. You can then complete the questionnaire

Please take time to read the following information before you start testing the cuddle towel.
Things to remember when testing your cuddle towel:
• Before and after carrying out any baby-care it is very important to wash your hands thoroughly – this remains the simplest and most effective way to prevent cross-infection.
• Wash your towel before you start testing – this will make sure your towel is as soft and absorbent as possible.
• Do not overload your washing machine. This will ensure your towel is rinsed well.
• Do not use fabric conditioner as this reduces the absorbency of towelling fabrics.
• Make sure your towel is fully aired between uses as bacteria can multiply if a towel is left folded while still damp.
• If possible warm the towel on a radiator before use. Many of these cuddle towels fit around the parent whose body heat will keep the towel a comfortable temperature.
• Follow any instructions for use provided with the towel.
• Skin-to-skin contact - a cuddle towel is known to be a wonderful way to provide your baby with extra security and promote a close attachment. This can lead to a happier and more contented baby (Anderson 2004).
• Sensory stimulation involving warmth, touch and smell (this includes baby massage, bathing and skin-to-skin contact) is an extremely powerful vagal stimulant. It causes oxytocic release, which in turn raises the skin temperature of the breast, decreases anxiety, increases calmness and enhances parental behaviours (Uvnas-Moberg 1998).
• Due to the increased surface area to body mass ratio, a baby is at risk from loosing heat due to convection, conduction, evaporation and radiation. This is why it is important to cover a baby’s head using a hooded towel during bath time.

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Completing the questionnaire
There are three sections in the questionnaire:
• The product: in this section, we ask about the packaging, design of the product and quality of information
• Use of product: this includes questions about ease of use, implications for bath time enjoyment, comparison with conventional towels, absorbency, laundering, whether it keeps parents dry at bath time and suggestions for other uses (for example, baby massage and swimming).
• Feedback: in this section, you will be asked to comment on your favourite features,, suggest improvements, and comment on the price
• Awards: in this section, you can suggest an award for the product you have tested
As you can see, there are many aspects of design to assess when testing this seemingly simple product. A well-designed cuddle towel will fulfil all the needs of parent and baby, and enhance the bath, massage or swimming experience. A cuddle towel must be easy to use. It must be designed to keep your baby safe and warm, and help you, the parent, feel confident. This can only be achieved when manufacturers use top quality fabrics and pay close attention to detail when designing their products.
I hope you will find these guidelines useful when assessing the cuddle towel.
Thank you again for all your hard work. You can be sure that your independent testing and comments will help to give parents the best and most unbiased advice available.
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Awards

Tots Bots bamboo hooded cuddle towel
RRP: £12.99
Supplied by www.totsbots.com
Award: Best of the best

The TIPS motto of ‘less is more’ rings true for this product. While this is the simplest cuddle towel they tested, there is no doubt it is also the TIPS Testers’ favourite towel. The Tots Bots bamboo hooded cuddle towel consistently scored far better than the other cuddle towels for warmth, softness and absorbency.
Testers unanimously agreed this towel would make a perfect present, saying they would be happy to buy it for themselves or recommend it to others. Parents praised the super soft absorbency, the choice of six bright colours (complete with travel bag) and the larger hood which ensures stress free bathing. Babies just loved to be cuddled close by the silky softness which turned bath time into bliss.

This is what some of the Testers said:

• Beautifully soft and cuddly no matter how many times it is washed
• Makes drying, which is always the nasty bit, a lot quicker
• Much better than my normal towel
• The extra absorbency provided by the bamboo fabric is an amazing property
• She loved cuddling up with it due to the softness
• He was warmer and dried quicker
• I like the carry case which comes in handy for travelling
Following these wonderful results, we are delighted to award the bamboo cuddle towel Best of the best!

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Cuddledry® baby apron towel
RRP: £24.99
Supplied by www.cuddledry.com
Award: Best innovative

The multi award winning Cuddledry® baby apron towel, as seen on Dragons’ Den, was well received by TIPS Testers who were full of praise for its innovative design. This quality product has been developed to be environmentally friendly: the packaging is made from a mix of recycled and virgin pulp from sustainable forests; the organic unbleached cotton and bamboo fabric is free from pesticides and certified by OCIA International and the Control Union.
With the Cuddledry® baby apron towel you can hold baby closely and securely and still stay dry thanks to this two layer towel. Not only did all Testers enjoy using this towel, but babies remained calmer for longer – and everyone could enjoy extra cuddles.
This towel is quite large and some Testers (the shorter ones) suggested they would like two lengths to be available: one for newborns and one for older children. There are also other styles in this range: the Cuddlebug, Cuddlemoo and Cuddle mitt.

This is what some of the Testers said:
• Soft, absorbent and lovely to touch
• My baby is calmer since we started using this towel, happier baby, happier me!
• Has made bath time a more enjoyable experience
• It is like being wrapped in two towels at once
• My favourite feature is the way it fastens around my neck
• She gets to cuddle or sit on me for longer as I don’t get wet
• It helps me to bond with my new baby
For all these reasons we have decided to award the Cuddledry® cuddle towel the Best innovative

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Clevamama cuddle towel
RRP:£15
Supplied by www.clevamama.com
Award: Highly commended

Clevamama is similar to a conventional hooded towel, but it is larger and has poppers so it can be fastened around your neck. Made from 100% cotton, this ultra soft cuddle towel was complimented by Testers and enjoyed by babies. The generous size of this cuddle towel allows you to wrap and cuddle baby close while you stay dry. When fastened around your neck the Clevamama towel will also keep you dry while baby is in the bath splashing away… definitely a winning design.

This is what some of the Testers said:
• The fabric was so absorbent there was no need to pat dry
• She seems so much happier when I pick her up and she’s close to me
• Less thought required handling the towel means more concentration on the baby
• We enjoyed the experience much more than with a conventional towel
• Much better than holding a towel between your chin and shoulder while reaching for a slippery wet baby!
• It dries instantly and keeps baby warm

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Coocoose® cuddle towel
RRP: £19.99
Supplied by www.coochico.com
Award: Highly commended

This thoughtful design is a modern twist on the classic apron-style towel. Manufactured from 100% luxuriously thick cotton it is presented in an eco-friendly cotton drawstring bag with cardboard instruction leaflet. They say necessity is the mother of invention and the two mothers who designed this would agree. They wanted a safe (quick release poppers) and cozy cuddle towel that would be easy to use and make bath time more enjoyable for parent and child. This is exactly what they have achieved with the Coocoose and their unique range now includes bath time ponchos, swim ponchos, bibs, burp cloths and a toweling change mat cover.

This is what some of the Testers said:
• Dad did agree it was much easier to use than a conventional towel
• I love the quality of the material and the absorbency was fantastic
• My favourite feature was the popper round the neck which was easy to remove
• It washes well, hangs up easily and keeps me dry!

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Please note that products tested by TIPS are not free or promotional products, but samples for the sole purpose of independent testing. All Testers must agree and sign a copy of the TIPS Award Scheme terms and conditions before taking part in a TIPS trial.


Disclaimer. TIPS Ltd is not responsible or liable for any failings of products that have been submitted for the testing programme. The responsibility remains with the individual manufacturer. Research is constantly changing and whilst every effort is made by TIPS Ltd to ensure the information contained in the guidelines is accurate and up-to-date, parent testers must still be encouraged to seek the advice of their midwife, health visitor, lactation consultant or GP if they have any concerns.

TIPS Ltd© 2008

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Tots Bots bamboo hooded cuddle towel
Best-of-the-best_towel
totsbots Toweltotsbots Logo

Cuddledry® baby apron towel
Best_innovative_towel
cuddledry Towelcuddledry Logo

Clevamama cuddle towel
Highly_commended_towel
smiling mum and babyClevamama Towel

Coocoose® cuddle towel
Highly_commended_towel
Coocoose TowelCoochi logo

This is a summary of the questions we put to Testers
  • What are your first impressions from the packaging?
  • What do you think of the overall design (please add your comments on size, colour, shape, fabric, ergonomics of design)
  • Did you know you should pre-wash baby towels before use?
  • Did you know that not using fabric conditioner boosts towel absorbency?
  • Please rate clarity of information on instructions on a scale of 1 to 10
  • Please rate clarity of information online on a scale of 1 to 10
  • Does this product make bath time easier for you?
  • Does this towel make it easier to bond with your baby at bath time?
  • Is it easier to hold your baby with this towel than with more conventional hooded towels?
  • Does this towel make you feel more confident about holding a wet baby?
  • Does this towel keep you dry even when your baby is wet?
  • Does this towel keep your baby warmer and cosier than more conventional hooded towels?
  • Does it maintain its softness and absorbency after washing and drying?
  • Is it more or less absorbent than your usual towel?
  • Did your baby enjoy the experience?
  • Did you enjoy using this new design?
  • Do you think this towel would be useful at the swimming pool?
  • What is your favourite feature?
  • What is your least favourite feature?
  • Would you buy this product?
  • Would you buy this product as a present for new parents?
  • Is the price reasonable?
  • Would you recommend this towel for sensitive or irritated skin?
  • Is this your baby's favourite towel
  • Is this your favourite towel?
  • Would you recommend this towel to your friends and family?
  • Are there any modifications/ accessories you would like to see added?
  • Would you like to recommend this product for one of the awards in this category?


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