I was invited to meet Sir Alan Sugar and one of his Apprentice winners – Tom Pellereau – a few weeks ago and preview a new baby grooming product. Baby grooming? Sounded intriguing. Sadly, I was working in the morning during the Sir Alan launch but I managed to pop along to Covent Garden during my lunchtime and get the lowdown first hand from Inventor Tom – who was very charming and passionate about his new product.
The Nipper Clipper is designed to help frazzled parents cut their little ones’ toe and finger nails without any fuss. There are hundreds of baby inventions claiming to revolutionise those tricky day-to-day baby tasks – but being the parent of a particularly wriggly little girl, this one did actually sound like something I could use, if it delivered. As well as specially designed, accurate nail clippers that hold the clippings in place rather than pinging them around the room (adapted from Tom’s Style File adult range) there’s a free distraction app to use on your iPad or iPhone to keep your child’s attention while you quickly clip.
It sounded brilliant – and the demos were impressive. Tom has recently had a baby himself but he also tested the product on a comprehensive toddler and child panel. ‘Were there any children it didn’t work for?’, I asked. He thought for a moment and replied, ‘No, there really weren’t’. I really hoped that would extend to Scrip.
I first tried it on holiday, but with the added distraction of a new house full of floors to run along, sofas to scramble over and chairs and tables to bump into, Scrip was a little too wriggly. So I tried it again this morning at home. And it worked! I find that Scrip’s nails grow about five times faster than mine and are prone to snag and get grubby very quickly, so cutting them really should be done at least once a week. But it’s a chore. She cries and fusses as soon as I start – I’ve tried when she’s drinking, eating or even sleeping, but nothing has made it an easy experience so far.
This distraction app has been thoughtfully designed as a gentle activity that is more mesmerising than rousing – so children sit still and don’t wave their little hands around. It has an octopus character called Timmy Tickle (there seem to be a disproportionate amount of octopuses in the world of a child) who transforms into different shapes or characters which the children are meant to watch, gurgle at or say out loud. They’re then rewarded with bananas or strawberries gently raining down on Timmy Tickle. There are three levels, depending how vocal your child is.
Today I sat Scrip on my lap on the sofa, put the app on the iPad nearby and encouraged her to say ‘strawberry’ as fruit gently filled the screen. She sat, engaged, hardly noticing me quickly cutting those little nails. She gently bounced along to the music but that was all. It made it into a fun but calm activity. I did have to remind her not to touch the screen – as iPad apps are usually designed to be hands-on – and I put it a bit further away than usual. I also had to be quick – she wouldn’t be engaged for more than a few minutes, but I managed to do all fingers and most toes.
There’s also a little shaped emery board that I haven’t tried – but while the clippers are working so well, I probably don’t need it. All in all, for a tenner, I would say this is one baby gadget that’s helpful and definitely worth the money. Happy clipping!