When Sara Kranson’s son outgrew his infant tub, she upgraded him to a full-size bathtub, which was so big that he often slipped and hit his head. When the 2002 graduate couldn’t find a suitable alternative, she and her husband devised their own solution: They taped together inflatable bath pillows and attached them to the sides of the tub with suction cups.
Thinking that other parents might like the idea as well, the couple talked to a local inventors group and a patent attorney to see if the idea had merit. Finally, the couple sent a picture of an updated prototype to baby catalog One Step Ahead. “That was Tuesday night, and they called us Wednesday morning, like, ‘We love your idea,’ ” Kranson says. “And they connected us to a company that strictly did inflatables. That’s when we got the real product, and we were able to start selling it.”
Now Kranson regularly receives orders for Tub-Time Bumpers through the catalog, her own online site and from independent retailers across the country. “We put letters and shapes and colors on it, because we figure they should be learning while they’re in that tub,” Kranson says. “It’s really neat, because my kids will point to letters, and it has become an interactive tool for parents.”
The Kransons have since come out with three new product lines, two with different patterns and a deluxe version that includes a flap for the lip of the tub that provides an armrest for parents.
“We’re having a ball, but it’s definitely a lot of work,” says Kranson. “But I believe in it and that’s why we keep pursuing it.”