COMFORT FOR BABY, convenience for mom -- that is the concept behind a brand-new line of Fisher-Price Inc. children's products unveiled Thursday at a major Dallas trade show.
The East Aurora maker of toys and juvenile products is showing off its new "Home Away From Home" line at the annual Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association show.
The new products include the Perfect Fit Tandem Stroller, which is designed to meet the specific needs of infants and toddlers by providing a raised rear seat that converts to a bassinet for babies and a more traditional front seat for older children.
Also in the new line are: the Prop 'N Carry Infant Carrier, the first front carrier that converts to a free-standing infant seat, and the Sit 'n Soothe Portable Bassinet, the first basinet that converts from a full-size bassinet featuring calming vibrations to an upright infant seat with head support.
The innovative new group of products was born out of mothers' desires for baby gear that's extremely portable, yet comfortably functional, according to Ken Mitchell, Fisher-Price vice president of children's products.
"We sat down with moms and asked them to take us through their very hectic days and tell us what their needs were," Mitchell said.
"What they kept telling us was that they had a lot to carry with them as they went through days and were looking for multifunction items."
Mitchell said Fisher-Price's designers and engineers then "pushed the envelope" to create new products that complement the lifestyles of today's new parents.
"We think we've come up with several items that will take the hassle out of traveling cross country or just around town with babies and young children," he said.
The Home Away From Home group also includes the Pop-Up Play Seat, which converts from a playtime quilt with a toy bar to an infant seat, and the Flexible Fit Infant Support System -- a flexible cushion that can be used in a wedge configuration to support a child while sleeping, as well as a head-supporting car seat device.
The majority of the new products carry a suggested retail price of less than $50, with the tandem stroller priced at $130.
Fisher-Price's new category of travel/convenience products also includes its new line of Safe Embrace car seats, which hit the market last month. Those innovative safety seats feature a tether system to more securely anchor the seat in place.
Fisher-Price also has taken the wraps off several new use-at-home products, including the Remote Control Soother. The unique baby calmer attaches to the crib to provide a medley of 10 lullabies, an additional lullaby that is accompanied by soft lights, and three soothing nature sounds.
Unlike other cribside soothing devices, this one can be activated by remote control from outside the baby's room, so parents don't run the risk of disturbing the nearly sleeping infant to restart the device.
Also on display for retailers is a new nursery monitor with a scrambling device, the Direct Link Privacy Monitor.
The toymaker also has expanded its line of large plastic playthings with the Grow-With-Me Patio Table, an adjustable-height picnic table with a round table surface and three rounded benches surrounding it.
The bulk of the new products are scheduled to reach stores later this year or in early 1998.
The 28th annual JPMA show is the biggest ever for the organization, attracting nearly 400 manufacturers and about 3,000 domestic and international buyers.
The association is the national trade organization representing more than 250 companies in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The member companies specialize in juvenile products such as cribs, car seats, strollers, bedding and a wide range of accessories and decorative products.