Baby shows are my absolute favorite trade shows to attend! They are everything baby. I am in Toronto, Ontario, and have attended over 10 shows in the past five years. If you have not been to any baby show, it is a one-stop destination for all things pregnancy, maternity, baby, and toddlers!! The organizers bring together a range of vendors from small businesses to big brand retailers and wholesalers who sell baby products and a curated selection of service providers for baby-related services including but not limited to lactation and sleep consultants, RESP (education savings plan) consultants, and advisors, child care organizations, etc.
It is best to be well prepared to get the best and most out of a baby show. Here are tips I have put together to help you enjoy your next baby show!
- PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE – with the pandemic, most show organizers are only selling online tickets. Most tickets are timed entry tickets to keep the crowd in check. Some shows offer discounts and promotions, be sure to check their websites to get the bonus offers.
- ARRIVE EARLY – most shows run from early morning to late evening with some running for multiple days over the weekend. Plan to arrive early to beat the crowd. These places get really busy. Also, some shows offer free swag bags to the first few visitors (why miss a freebie?!).
- DRESS COMFORTABLY – check the weather and dress accordingly. If you are a pregnant mom, I suggest dressing in layers. Some venues are either too hot or cold, so better to dress in layers!
- WEAR COMFY SHOES – expect to walk through at least for about two to three hours at these shows. It would not be fun to wear high-heels to these shows especially if you are pregnant or a new mom!
- BRING SNACKS & WATER – most shows are held at trade show venues or banquet halls. They do not always have on-site food or drinks vendors. Bring your own snacks or finger food and water or juice. If you are coming with little ones, keep extra. This is my favorite water bottle.
- PRINT ADDRESS LABELS – if you want to enter the contests at the show, it is a great idea to pre-print the address labels. Include your name, phone number, and email address to be reached in case you win. Sticker Canada is my go-to place for labels.
- KEEP PHONES CHARGED – pre-pandemic contest entries or information requests were managed in hard copies. You would end up filling out forms (that’s why the address labels). However, now a lot of vendors are turning to the virtual ways and most offer sign-up, etc. by simply asking you to scan the QR Code through your mobile device. So keep your phones charged and if you want, bring a portable battery bank along.
- CARRY FOLDING TOTES OR DUFFLE BAGS – there are tons of freebies offered by vendors. There are also amazing products to purchase at great prices at these shows. It is a good idea to carry a folding duffle to put all your purchases in one bag instead of carrying multiple bags.
- BRING FRIENDS & FAMILY – the show is a great place to bring partners, grandparents, or even other friends who are expecting or have recently birthed. There is something for everyone to learn, explore and enjoy. It could be a family day out!
- GRAB FREEBIEs – this is a great benefit of these shows. Vendors give out tons of freebies to promote their products and services. Be sure to grab these; don’t be shy. The small samples help you try different products before finally purchasing a full size, so get your hands on these freebies.
- VISIT EACH BOOTH – to get the most out of the show, be sure to visit each and every booth. There is something to learn and know from each vendor. Even if you know about a certain product, always a good idea to check out to see if any products will be discontinued or new models coming soon, etc.
- KEEP KIDS BUSY – if you bring your young child along with you try to keep them busy. I throw some coloring books and crayons for my son. My favorites are mess-free ones like this Crayola Stow & Go and Melissa & Doug on the Go Water Wow! My son also likes to carry his toy or two along. This way we can all enjoy our time at the show.
- ATTEND SEMINARS – there are speaker sessions/seminars scheduled throughout the day. These include lactation consultants, car seat installation tips, baby-proofing tips, sleep consultations, etc. Be sure to check out the schedule and attend the seminars of interest.
- FOLLOW HEALTH & SAFETY PROTOCOLS – with the pandemic that has changed our lives in the past two years, it is best to follow all safety protocols. Ensure to sanitize or wash your hands frequently. Avoid touching items, booths, or tables unless necessary. Go cash-less while making payments for purchases.
Baby Shows in & around GTA
If you are in Toronto or Greater Toronto Area, here are some baby shows to look out for!