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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

By Juliet Spurrier, MD ⋅ Mom-in-Chief
Friday February 13, 2015

Q: What is the purpose of BabyGearLab? Why did you start it?
A: The BabyGearLab mission is to create clarity around the entire decision-making process for baby products. A core element in that mission is to publish the world's best reviews of the products needed in the first year of a baby's life. Equally important though, is our goal to provide reliable and objective information on how to choose the right products for you and your baby, health and safety issues, and to provide educational support to new parents. Learn more in our About BabyGearLab page.

Q: Do companies pay you to review their gear?
A: Never.

Q: So how do you make money?
A: Two ways. The first is from advertising. The second is from affiliate links. When you decide to buy a product that we've reviewed, click on the links which will take you directly to the retailer. The retailer will then direct a small portion of their proceeds to us. Doing this will help BabyGearLab continue in its mission to make the lives of parents and their babies easier in their first year of life.

Q: How do you get the gear you review?
A: We buy gear ourselves, directly from retailers, just as you do. We are often approached by companies who want us to review their products, but as a general policy we refuse. We prefer to make our own careful selection of which products qualify as finalists for our hands-on reviews, and then go through the same shopping process you do to buy them.

Q: How do you choose what to review?
A: We do extensive research in each category as well as speak directly with parents.

Q: How many products do you compare in a side-by-side review?
A: We typically test 10-20 products side-by-side in each review category.

Q: What is your review process?
A: First, we do extensive research to determine which products in each category will be the finalists. We then buy those products, typically 10-20 in each category, and begin the testing process. We do everything ourselves from taking the products out of their boxes, to set up, to determining key testing metrics for each category, to testing and review. We look at each category individually to determine what the best testing strategies are. While the specific tests we perform vary by category, we attempt to document the specific tests we used in the "How We Test" section of each review category. Our review editors use the products themselves with their own babies, and may also solicit detailed feedback from our volunteer testers, typically moms and their infants, who agree to try out multiple products side-by-side and give us additional comparison feedback.

Q: What is your motivation to give an objective review?
A: Our motivation lies in our belief that babies benefit when parents make more informed decisions on baby products. We find there are substantial differences between products, but knowing which is best takes a focused testing, research, and comparison effort that most new parents simply don't have time for. Sometimes those differences relate to health and safety concerns, which are a key focus for us, and sometimes it's just finding the best product to fit your budget. To assure objectivity and accuracy in our reviews and ratings, we test all the finalist products in each category at the same time, side-by-side. Because we buy the gear ourselves, we do not have any incentive for bias towards one manufacturer's gear over another.

Q: Who tests the gear and where?
A: We perform initial tests on most of the gear hands-on here at our BabyGearLab Headquarters first, and then hand off to a BabyGearLab Review Editor who has been assigned responsibility for the relevant category. Our Review Editors then perform a series of tests on each product side-by-side as part of the rating and comparison process. Our Review Editors will test with their own babies, and also often utilize multiple volunteer testers, typically Moms and their babies who agree to try multiple products and provide feedback from their use experience (we reward such volunteer testers by letting them keep their favorite). All of this testing is used to inform our ratings and commentary on each product. Prior to final approval of our reviews, the products are returned to BabyGearLab Headquarters and, using a quality control process described and led by Dr. Spurrier, we perform final tests to audit and confirm the feedback and ratings from our testers.

Q: How long does each review take to complete?
A: It varies somewhat by category, but as a general rule of thumb it takes about 2-6 months to complete the kind of detailed reviews we do.

Q. What other websites are you involved with?
You might also enjoy visiting our sister site, OutdoorGearLab, which reviews outdoor activity gear using a similar side-by-side comparison review process and technology (written by our same web developer) that you find here.

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