Great children’s products reel in the playground set, but it also pays to market to Mom and Dad

The old song about love and marriage could easily become one about children and parents, because when it comes to promotional marketing, you definitely “can’t have one without the other.” A successful campaign means appealing to grown-up sensibilities as well as the youthful pursuit of trends.

Clients who want to reach out to families of school-aged children and babies are competing with television and the internet for the attention of their target audiences. Those same influences—or at least the content delivered—can serve as inspiration when selecting products for your client’s campaign.

Ken Laffer, MAS, president of Westbury, New York distributor Motivators Inc. (UPIC: MOTIVATORS), says prospective clients with a target audience of young children, or parents of young children, will find trendy items more appealing. “I think the industry leans heavily on classics; trendy items are generally licensed products.”

Of course, licensed products do add to the bottom line, and, says Laffer, “we can’t imprint something that’s licensed. But we can do a value-add such as packaging or a custom tag or label.”

Regardless of a product’s status as a trendsetter or perennial favorite, Laffer says product safety should always be part of the discussion. “It should be age-appropriate, something of value, and compliant,” he says. “We have a program where we send a kit to new mothers who work at our client’s company. The kit contains an [infant bodysuit] and a silver, engraved spoon.”

To ensure a successful campaign or program, Laffer says the focus should be a balance between appealing to parents of young children and to the children themselves. Additionally, he suggests tying a theme into a product, rather than the other way around. “Back in to the theme, and try to find something that’s fun and speaks to the theme,” he says.


The Consumer Product Safety Commission sets forth regulations regarding children’s products. Manufacturers and importers of children’s products must certify, in a written Children’s Product Certificate (CPC) based on test results from a CPSC-accepted laboratory, that their children’s products comply with applicable children’s product safety rules.

The CPC and supporting test reports must be in English. The CPSC provides a lengthy and detailed list of children’s toys, jewelry, clothing and general-use items that require third-party testing. Visit and click on the Business & Manufacturing Tab, then click on Testing & Certification.cardummy

Learn more about children’s products and safety regulations through PPAI’s online education. On-demand webinars that cover ink testing protocols, jewelry compliance and how to determine what defines a children’s product are available at



Grow A Kid-Focused Promotion With These Products

Win or lose, the Paragon youth performance mesh polo scores points with coaches and parents. The lightweight shirt, crafted from 100-percent performance polyester, features moisture management, odor control and UPF 30+ sun protection, and it’s anti-microbial. The polo is finished with a matching fashion collar, oyster pearl-black buttons, double-needle hemmed sleeves and side vents on the bottom. It’s also wrinkle-resistant and snag-resistant. Sizes: S-XL in black, heather gray, navy, red, royal and white.

Heritage Sportswear/Virginia T’s UPIC: HERI0002

heritage sportswear polo web

This children’s training sippy cup features a spillproof screw-top lid with easy-to-grip handles on each side. The cup holds up to five ounces and includes embossed measurement markings in ounces and milliliters. It’s BPA-free, CPSIA certified and FDA approved.

Essef Distributors UPIC: 7414140

Essef sippy cup web

Keep kids hydrated on the go with an eight-ounce Wee Sport drink bottle. It’s BPA-free and CPSIA compliant, and comes in white with a choice of lid colors: black, reflex blue, green, orange, purple, red and white.

Beacon Promotions UPIC: BEACONP

Beacon water bottle web

Kids ages four and older will appreciate the cool portability of a Camelback® eddy™ Kids bottle. A write-on surface in white, beige, yellow or blue-grey lets others know who it belongs to. The one-piece bite valve is child safe, easy to clean and made from BPA-free Tritan™. Top-rack dishwasher safe.

The Allen Company UPIC:  ALLEN

Allen camelback web

Make success a clear choice with a zippered clear backpack featuring a front zippered pocket and two mesh side pockets. Decorate it with a single-color imprint on the front pocket.


Norwood backpack web

Keep insects at bay during ballgames with Herbal Armor® DEET-free insect repellent, either in wipes or a pump spray. This natural repellent uses six natural oils and is allergy tested and safe for sensitive skin. It’s also sweat- and water-resistant, and won’t damage clothing or equipment.

Natural Trends, LLC UPIC: NTRENDS

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAnatural trends insect spray web

Be cool and stay warm with a Team 365™ Leader soft-shell jacket. Its water-resistant finish keeps young athletes dry and comfortable in wet conditions, while the Windsmart® technology provides a wind barrier fabrication for maximum wind resistance. Other features include a chin guard for comfort and protection, as well as zippered front welt pockets for added convenience and functionality. Choose from eight crossover colors in sizes S-XL.

alphabroder (UPIC: BRODER)

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⇒The Price of Procreation

Everything costs more these days, including the necessities of child-rearing. From birth to age 18, analysts estimate it costs more than $250,000 to bring up a child. Child care is the single largest component of this figure, according to MoneySense magazine.

Food $1,799.94

Increased household costs $2,834.88

Child care $4,141.84

Clothing $874.44

Increased transportation costs $2,152.22

Health care $255.35

Personal care $260.56

Recreation/school supplies $1,046.40

Average annual cost $13,365.63

TOTAL COST TO AGE 18 $253,946.97


On The Baby Product Bandwagon

Exhibitors at the ABC Kids Expo in December 2014 rolled out hundreds of nifty new gadgets, toys and tools for parents of little ones. Here are a few of the most eye-catching products that hit the shelves this year, and the likely buyers.

Animal-themed bath storage

Suction cups secure these creature-inspired storage pouches to bathtub walls.

Maker: 3 Sprouts

Taker: Parents with annual zoo memberships

3sprouts polar bear web3sprouts shark web3sprouts walrus web

Retro style cribs

The Winston style crib comes in washed white or vintage iron, and was inspired by old-fashioned American metal cribs.

Maker: Franklin & Ben

Taker: Parents with the entire “Mad Men” series on Blu-Ray

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Customizable strollers

The Priam stroller allows parents to assemble it in the style that suits their child’s needs.

Maker: Cybex

Taker: The dad who built a teardrop camper trailer from scratch

cybex priam web

Mod snack cups

Dual handles, a weighted base and an easy-open lid on this cutely-styled cup make snacking less messy.

Maker: Ubbi Tweat

Taker: The mom who believes even Cheerios deserve to be treated well

ubbi tweat

Stay-put drinkware

An adhesive hook and a closed loop make this hanging cup perfect for little sippers who are forever leaving cups all over the house

Maker: PujTaker: The grandparents who take group sleepovers seriously

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